SSC Seminar Series: Laura Pinto, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Wednesday, January 28, 2015, 12:30-2pm, Mackintosh-Corry Hall D411

Laura Pinto (Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Ontario Institute of Technology)

“Dropping the Elf Bomb”: a frames analysis of media and public surveillance discourse in response to “Elf on the Shelf”

In December 2015, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives published a teaser for an article arguing that the popular Elf on a Shelf toy normalizes panoptic surveillance. In the following weeks, the story and accompanying video (titled Elf et Michelf) went viral online.

In this presentation, Laura Pinto explores and responds to overwhelming public reaction to surveillance within the viral phenomenon based on a corpus of three online stories (Washington Post, Huffington Post, and The Atlantic) and their corresponding reader comments. Mapping five discursive frames (economic, human impact, “us” and “them” divisions, control by powerful others, and moral values) within two evaluative schemas (appropriate/inappropriate surveillance) sheds light on how surveillance was represented and received by the public.

Everyone welcome!