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Advice Columnists

Phillips, Angela. 2008. Advice Columnists. In: Bob Franklin, ed. Pulling Newspapers Apart. Oxford: Routledge, pp. 97-105. ISBN 10-0415-42556-5 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

Advice columns have rarely been the subject of serious scrutiny by media scholars. They are more usually the butt of jokes. This chapter will argue that they are worthy of serious consideration because they are the part of a newspaper in which the relationship between reader and writer is at its most interactive. (Where the letters page is a response the problems page elicits a response). It is its porousness which makes the advice column such a fruitful area of study. The unique two-way relationship of the advice columnists with readers means that, rather than performing, as is usually argued (Beetham 1993:23), a narrowly normative role, newspaper agony aunts can be instrumental in challenging norms. Their ambivalent role in a private, or feminine, space within what has been a masculine institution, places them at the edge of discursive formation. Their position as non -experts arguably gives them a very special significance in the re-casting of discursive boundaries – they are the lightning conductors of social unease. They listen to what has been un-sayable, and in listening and then re-producing these forbidden discourses, they bring them into the realm of the ‘normal’ and sayable.

Item Type:

Book Section

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media and Communications
Media and Communications > Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre

Dates:

DateEvent
2008Published

Item ID:

5885

Date Deposited:

10 Oct 2011 12:47

Last Modified:

27 Feb 2019 12:14

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/5885

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