Communicating Terror at PSA 2010

The Political Studies Association annual conference for 2010 will be held in Edinburgh on 29 March - 1 April. Ben O'Loughlin will take part on a panel 'communicating terror' organised by Piers Robinson at the University of Manchester. Combining arguments from the forthcoming book on Diffused War (with Andrew Hoskins) and the NPCU's work on strategic narratives, the paper will examine how different actors are getting to grips with communication nearly five years on from the 7/7 London bombings.

At the time, digitization was creating dynamics of emergence; a residual contingency due to the potential for images and other media content to emerge at unforeseen times to disrupt settled narratives. The BBC invited a deluge of mobile phone images on the day of 7/7, but also faced the prospect of 'counter'-images or evidence later emerging that would contradict the narrative emerging on the day of the attacks (creating problems that BBC World's Nik Gowing has explored). Recently, political leaders’ strategies have switched from directing information flows to harnessing the ‘flux’ of user-generating content around terrorism. But will control of the diffuse simply generate another set of dynamics?