Transnational Media Events

The Mohammed Cartoons and the Imagined Clash of Civilizations
Editor(s): Angela Phillips, Risto Kunelius, Elisabeth Eide

In September 2005, a newspaper in Denmark published 12 cartoons depicting Mohammed, the holy Prophet of Islam. Soon after publication, these pictures became part of various events, political projects and diplomatic action. All over the world, the cartoons – or interpretations of them – were connected to discursive struggles that pre-existed their drawing and publication. The cartoon event thus extended well beyond its immediate dramatic phase of spring 2006, both into the past and the future, and became at least a small landmark case of post-9/11 global media history.

In this book, a community of international media researchers collects some of the lessons learned and questions provoked and offered by media coverage of the Mohammed cartoons in 16 countries, ranging from Denmark, Egypt and Argentina to Pakistan and Canada. The book looks at the coverage of the cartoons and related incidents through a number of conceptual lenses: political spin, free speech theory, communication rights, the role of visuals and images in global communication, Orientalism and its counter-discourses, media’s relations to immigration policy, and issues of integration. Through this approach, the book aims at a nuanced understanding of the cartoon controversy itself as well as at more general insights into the role of the media in contemporary transnational and transcultural relations.





Contrapuntal Readings. Transnational Media Research and the Cartoon Controversy as a Global News Event
Elisabeth Eide, Risto Kunelius, Angela Phillips

A Long and Messy Event
Peter Hervik, Elisabeth Eide, Risto Kunelius

The Twelve Cartoons. A Discursive Inquiry
Amin Alhassan


Original Spin and Its Side Effects. Freedom of Speech as Danish News Management
Peter Hervik

Complexities of an Ideology in Action. Liberalism and the Cartoon Affair
Risto Kunelius, Amin Alhassan

Who Spoke and Who was Heard in the Cartoons Debate?
Angela Phillips

The Power of Pictures in Journalistic Discourse. As News, as Commentary, as Art
Karin Becker

When Foreign News Remains Foreign. Cartoon Controversies in the US and Argentine Press
Stephanie Craft, Silvio Waisbord


The Loop of Labelling. Orientalism, Occidentalism and the Cartoon Crisis
Elisabeth Eide

The Bubble World of Polarization. Failing to Realize the Blind Spots in the Cartoon Controversy
Ibrahim Saleh

Pictures Travel, Discourses Do Not. Decontextualisation and Fragmentation in Global Media Communication
Oliver Hahn

Integration through Insult?
Carolina Boe, Peter Hervik

Ourselves and Our Others. Minority Protest and National Frames in Press Coverage
Angela Phillips, Hillel Nossek

Between the Ritual and the Rational. From Media Events to Moments of Global Public Spheres?
Risto Kunelius, Hillel Nossek

Afterword. In Quest of Ever Better Heresies
John Durham Peters

Notes on Contributors