OUL Presents: Steve Macek on "Urban Nightmares"

Posted by Mitchell - February 13, 2007 (entry 524)


Factory of Fear: Steve Macek on the Media's `Urban Nightmares'

OUL is pleased to host Steve Macek, media studies professor at North Central College and author of the award-winning book, "Urban Nightmares: The Media, the Right, and the Moral Panic over the City" (University of Minnesota Press, 2006). Prof. Macek will discuss the political agenda behind the media's obsessive depiction of the inner city as a place of violence and moral decay. He argues that this demonizing strategy focuses public attention on the problems of the urban "underclass," rather than on the social and economic conditions of the post-industrial city. As a result, tough questions are sidestepped and reactionary and often racist ideas and policies are implicitly endorsed.

According to Prof. Macek, this anti-urban bias is ubiquitous in the mass media, from TV network news to Hollywood movies to advertising imagery. He will examine the effects of this chronic fear-mongering on our politics and culture ~V and on the city itself. Open discussion will follow.

Thursday, Feb. 15, 7 PM at In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee (2nd floor), Chicago, near the CTA Blue Line's Western-Armitage stop.

Steve Macek is an assistant professor of Speech Communication at North Central College in Naperville, teaching courses in media studies, urban studies, persuasion and gender/women studies. In recent years, his research and writing have focused on media representations of American cities and the urban poor. His book, "Urban Nightmares," won the Urban Communication Foundation's 2006 Jane Jacobs Publication Award. He is also co-editor of (with Lee Artz and Dana Cloud) and contributor to the book, "Marxism and Communication Studies: The Point is to Change It" (Peter Lang, 2006). He is a member of Chicago Media Action, working both as a researcher and organizer.

Call (847) 677-5474 if you have a question or would like to lead an OUL session. Please forward this announcement to anyone you think may be interested in attending the program. For more information about OUL, or to join the OUL Yahoo group, go to www.yahoo.com, click on "groups," type "oulchicago" and click the search button. Click on "oulchicago" to see recent news and announcements or to join the group.

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