News Media and the Emotional Public Sphere| Toward a Typology of Mediated Anger: Routine Coverage of Protest and Political Emotion

Karin Wahl-Jorgensen


This article establishes the importance of studying mediated anger. It first develops a typology of mediated anger, suggesting it is performative, discursively constructed, collective, and political. It applies this typology to routine coverage of anger in UK protest coverage during a two-month time period in 2015. The analysis demonstrates that anger serves as a cause of engagement and a barometer of public feeling. It sets out a spectrum of discursive constructions of mediated anger. At one end sits rational and legitimate anger, which forms the basis for social change. Along the spectrum sits aggressive and/or disruptive anger motivated by rational and legitimate concerns. At the other end of the spectrum lies illegitimate and irrational anger. The analysis shows that protesters can be simultaneously angry and rational, peaceful and legitimate. Discourses on protest construct a commonsense theory of political motivation, whereby anger explains the desire for political engagement, but only occasionally brings about other negative emotions or actions. As such, the article contributes a more nuanced understanding of anger as a political emotion.


affect, anger, demonstrations, emotion, journalism, protest

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