Skip to main content

Blame and the Messengers: Journalism as a Puritan Prism for Cultural Policies in Britain.

MacGregor, P., 2011. Blame and the Messengers: Journalism as a Puritan Prism for Cultural Policies in Britain. International Journal of Cultural Policy, 15 (2), 231-244.

Full text available as:

Blame_and_the_messengers2011.pdf - Published Version


DOI: 1080/10286632.2010.549561


This study proposes that legacies of Puritanism are reflected in the way journalists cover a range of events and processes. The consequences are ambiguous: sometimes they may be harmful, other times they are laudable. Media coverage of the death of Peter Connelly (Baby P) in 2007 is chosen as an example of the social production of cultures of guilt and blame. In particular, journalists’ productive efforts perform significant and active roles in colouring public responses to events. Thereby journalists may reflect in their secularised ethics the hidden influences of nineteenth-century Evangelical traditions and earlier Calvinist ones. Following the analysis of Weber, the paper argues that media approaches to rationality also reflect an impress of lingering Puritan structures of thought. The argument contrasts journalism with the Bohemian writing traditions, which were perhaps suffocated by more urgent Calvinistic approaches alongside the development of industrial capitalism. The paper concludes that newsroom practices and values amount to implicit or covert cultural policies of their own.

Item Type:Article
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:19347
Deposited By: Philip MacGregor LEFT
Deposited On:28 Feb 2012 12:07
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 13:42


Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...
Repository Staff Only -