Misrecognition, Media And… Discrimination?


This paper makes a most important contribution to our developing understanding of the ways in which the media underpins and assists in the reproduction of what the author calls the “causes and driving forces of discrimination”. At a time of economic crisis in western capitalism where the likelihood that “majority” groups increasingly wish to seek out and “blame” “minority” and oppressed groups for lack of jobs, lowering “our standards” and much more besides, clear analyses of the role of the media and the function of the law (as well as equality commissions and regulatory bodies) are critical for a civilized and civilizing society. The exploration of the original and carefully assembled concept, “DEM” goes a long way towards setting out the sort of theoretical framework that has the potential to help not only law makers (equality commissions and regulatory bodies) but those working practically in the field of education and training in anti-discrimination work.

Hey, there are three areas in this paper I think could benefit from some constructive commentary. The idea of stereotypes has been negatively stereotyped. They serve functions, i.e. to help people operate in the world, to help define the world, so, perhaps clear distinctions between different kinds of stereotypes that form, inform, maintain and change discrimination of groups is needed. Furthermore, what a stereotypical imagine ‘is’ differs for different groups. Each group is invested, motivated and positioned differently and as a result and will certainly view an advertisement as horribly stereotypical, inoffensive or somewhere in between. Secondly, I am unsure whether it is best to conceptualize ‘the media’ as you do in this article. To assume there is a linear relationship between what ‘the media’ advertise and how people think is to neglect the possibility that people form their thoughts on the stereotyped groups by rejecting, resisting, and engaging in part with advertised stereotypes. Furthermore to refer to ‘the media’ is to over simplify the variance of people and opinions within it. Consider, for example, the different ways in which stereotypes of beauty are represented, re-represented, challenged, maintained and changed by photographers, PR people, designers, models, who are the people who construct ‘the media’. Finally, I did very much enjoy the linking of psychological concepts to sociological and philosophical areas, and your interest in applying psychological findings to law reformation. I think this is an area in psychology that has a lot of potential. Cheers, Seamus.