Saturday, December 04, 2010

The politics of reading disasters: Raising the spectre of culpability at Pike River


As an expat New Zealander, born within a hundred miles of so of Pike River, I found the time away from New Zealand and the distance between here and there did little to ease the pain as we followed the harrowing narrative of the Pike River mining tragedy.

All the while, like many others, we had reservations about the central media narrative that was unfolding, and the roles leading politicians were taking in "managing" matters at the highest levels.

It is always difficult to ask the hard questions publicly at such times, but they nonetheless need to be asked.  These include questions about how ideologies play out in such contexts; the sorts of questions literacy educators have often associated with "critical media literacy", and put faith in critical literacy education to encourage.

History tells us, of course, that very often it takes a particular kind of social class experience and political formation to have both the disposition and the perspective to pose the nitty gritty questions. Today's New Zealand Herald Story by Matt McCarten is a gritty case in point.

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