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New media and cultural change, 1980-2010

January 26, 2010

Still musing and reading in my spare time about new media and cultural change from 1980 to 2010. Of possible interest:

* New book out on the barriers to the free flow of media contents across international borders: Cultural Barriers to the Success of Foreign Media Content: Western Media in China, India, and Japan, by Ulrike Rohn. The argument would seem to cohere nicely with media anthropological evidence on the cultural selectivity of foreign media contents. Perhaps what’s really interesting is not so much those rare products such as Avatar or the Olympics that enjoy planetary appeal but to look at the country-specific patterns of cultural appropriation – these are likely to vary greatly and tell us about a country’s unresolved issues at a given historical moment.

* John Downing’s mid-1990s book about the need to internationalise (and politicise) media and communication theory in which he studies the post-socialist transitions in three Eastern European countries. Politico-institutional stability of UK-US (the heartland of media theory) is the exception, not the norm around the world, says Downing.

* Daya Thussu’s recent paper on the challenges posed to media and communication studies by rise of China and India (or ‘Chindia’) to global power, given the long-standing UK-US ‘duopoly’ in such studies.

* Jenkins’ Media Convergence – intriguing ideas about the clash of old and new media in the early 21st century, albeit firmly within a tacit US context. How would such ideas travel to Ghana, Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea?

* Nation-states as media and cultural change ‘laboratories’ ripe for comparative analysis? e.g. Malaysia example of state-led process of mediated cultural engineering (‘nation-building’)  in a postcolonial state; Papua New Guinea far less successful case, it would appear (but see Foster’s Materializing the Nation); Zambia somewhere in between?

* Regions also interesting for comparative analysis, e.g. EU, African Union, Asean.

* Epstein found in 1950s Copperbelt region of Northern Rhodesia (today Zambia) that processes of change within a social field – in that case the field of residential affairs – unfold unevenly, with some regions of the field enjoying better insulation from the winds of change than others. Is the same happening on a planetary scale? Are some regions of the planet more sheltered from media-related changes than others?

* Historical processes are finite – eventually they all run their course. “The Second World War released many currents and some of them have yet to run their full course” (J. M. Roberts, The Penguin History of the World, 1995: 954).

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 30, 2010 9:29 am

    Too much theory, John, give us the history!!

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