The journalistic field vs. the academic field
The relationship between journalism and the academy is historically fraught. Any mention of the word ‘theory’ is only likely to exacerbate these tensions, since it perhaps signifies, most clearly, the division between both identities. Drawing on the social theory of Pierre Bourdieu, this paper considers, with particular empirical reference to the New Zealand context, the often antagonistic relationship between the ‘journalistic field’ and the ‘academic field’. I examine how academic identities are sometimes represented ‘fantasmatically’ (Glynos and Howarth, 2007) in journalistic discourse and explore the contradictions between journalism’s official commitment to democratic values and the desire of at least some journalists to silence or lampoon academic voices, or insist that theoretical reflection is somehow incompatible with good journalism. The articulation of particular journalistic identities is contextualised with reference to the more ‘objective’ logic of the New Zealand journalistic field and, in particular, the structuring of its concrete relationship with the academic field through journalism education programmes. Although the culturally sedimented practices precluding the possibility of a different inter-field dynamic are considerable, I conclude by ‘visualising’ an alternative relationship, one constituted, on all sides, by what Williams Connolly (2005) characterises as a properly democratic ethos of ‘agonistic respect’ across difference.