Arrested war: the third phase of mediatization

Andrew Hoskins, Ben O'Loughlin

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After Broadcast War and Diffused War comes Arrested War, the latest paradigm of war and media. Each paradigm coincides with a discrete phase of mediatization. This article explains how war and media operated during each phase, describing the key characteristics of war, the form and nature of the prevailing media ecology, and how power was exercised by and distributed within government, military, and media elites. Following the sense of flux and uncertainty during the second phase of mediatization, when digital content and non-linear communication dynamics generated Diffused War, Arrested War is characterized by the appropriation and control of previously chaotic dynamics by mainstream media and, at a slower pace, government and military policy-makers. We use the ongoing Ukraine crisis to examine Arrested War in operation. In setting out a new paradigm of war and media, we also reflect on the difficulties of periodizing and historicizing these themes and ask what theoretical and conceptual tools are likely to be needed to understand and explain Arrested War.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1320-1338
Number of pages19
JournalInformation, Communication and Society
Issue number11
Early online date10 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • War
  • Conflict
  • Media
  • Communication
  • Power
  • Mediatization
  • Russia
  • Ukraine
  • NATO

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