Authored by: Karen Cross

The Routledge Encyclopedia of Citizen Media

Print publication date:  October  2020
Online publication date:  October  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138665569
eBook ISBN: 9781315619811
Adobe ISBN:


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Ranging from the ‘unqualified’ producer of content to the ‘citizen witness’ who challenges professional forms of reporting, the amateur has been conceived of in both negative and positive terms. This entry will begin by exploring such perspectives and the way in which the amateur has been thought to form a disturbing, yet authentic presence within the field of media production. The reporting and commemoration of key historical events, including the London Bombings, will be explored in order to locate the historical emergence of a critical discourse of the amateur. More recent examples involving the remediation of the role of the professional will also be discussed. These will range from the curatorial approaches of news reporters and art curators to the adoption of amateur modalities and materialties by professional reporters (for instance, Damon Winter and Erin Trieb’s use of the snapshot aesthetic in the reporting of the war in Afghanistan). Through such examples, the entry will show how the concept of the ‘amateur’ is entangled within the mediality of ‘the connective turn’ and how its use confers a broader cultural desire to ensure social presence.

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