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Contemporary ceremonial media events – time and temporalities of liveness

   | 07 may 2022
Nordic Journal of Media Studies's Cover Image
Nordic Journal of Media Studies
Media Events in the Age of Global, Digital Media


This article discusses media events and liveness as ways live is performed in and by the media. Understanding the workings of contemporary media events entails understanding how they are embedded in complex patterns of temporalities; hence, the article deploys the notion of temporality of liveness to contemplate different ways in which time is entangled and made salient as particular forms of temporality in the unfolding of media events. Analysing the Danish queen's 2020 New Year's speech, the Danish prime minister's Covid-19 speech of 11 March 2020, and the broadcasting of the inauguration of Joe Biden on 20 January 2021, the article shows that liveness can be approached analytically. The analysis unfolds the diversity and changeability of temporalities of liveness, and argues that contemporary ceremonial events may be local or global, small or large, but still reach a substantial portion of a population. Thus, a point in the article is to call attention to the enduring importance of broadcast media and television for the creation of media events that gather and “enthrall” large audiences, to quote Daniel Dayan and Elihu Katz, even in a time of global digital network communication.