Discussing the storytelling power of media (self-) representations with soldiers and veterans
Research seminar featuring the paper below by Nancy Thumim and Katy Parry (University of Leeds)
The contemporary British soldier has become a regular focus of mainstream media attention, but also the producer or co-producer of digital materials disseminated via various media forms and museum displays. Our project invites those with direct experience – as serving personnel involved in media operations, military veterans and forces family members – to respond to a variety of media genres and discuss how such portrayals of military experience correspond with their own perceptions and their own representational practices. For example, we ask: How do our participants identify with the various media portrayals? How do forms of self-representation mirror or challenge traditional media treatments of contemporary soldiering? How might media better represent soldiers’ re-integration into society, including moments of most tension (injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide, and criminality)?
In this paper, we particularly focus on the dynamics between the soldiers’ representations of themselves and mainstream media portrayals, exploring key themes of identity, gender, masculinity and heroism.