Otherness in the context of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in Les Actualités Françaises of 1968
The concept of alterity is always related to identity, and based on one s self-perception: the Self influences what we perceive as the Other. Following this idea, the present article explores the hidden Self of French cultural identity in French newsreels, Les Actualités Françaises, from 1968. It examines the construction and representation of ... alterity in the news coverage of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. s assassination, and, consequently, what that reveals about French national self-perception. This event is notable for two reasons: first, Dr. King s death is an event of extraordinary international importance; second, the news coverage not only presents alterity, but also the handling of alterity by another culture. Therefore, in this example, the concept of alterity operates on multiple levels.The objective of this article is to analyze the interaction of image, music, text, and voice-over in this newsreel; the newsreel s effect on the French viewers; and the French national self-perception that is mirrored in the newsreel s representation. The argument will show that deep-rooted French values, existing since the French Revolution, have a strong influence on the perception and evaluation of the events in the US, and therefore on the handling of otherness.
Original publication in
On_culture: the open journal for the study of culture 4 (2017)