Media Worlds (Ginsburg, Abu-Lughod, Larkin)

Spitulnik, D. (2002). Mobile Machines and Fluid Audiences: Rethinking Reception through Zambian Radio Culture. In Media worlds: anthropology on new terrain. University of California Press: Berkeley.

  • Summary: radio is portable, a commodity, and has a presence and an ability to create social space. Radio is integrated in daily life and constrained by local economics.
  • people are active participants in ongoing communication process; in order to understand this we have to consider how the actual media technology itself enable or inhibit certain kinds of audience engagements. and social context of reception and use (338)
  • I argue that the social place of radio as a technology depends on the ways in which the technology itself embodies ideologies of state and modernity. I also show how the circulation of radios in communities rests on the ways on other cultural processes familiar tot he anthropologists: the construction of status and the reproduction of reciprocal social ties through exchange relations. (339)
  • 346- the actual portability of radios allows for this circulation in a way unachievable by most other mass media.
  • 349- individual and group mobilization (use, placement, circulation) of the radio machine is an essential part of radio culture. Radio users, sharers, carriers, and deniers play off the significance of the radio as a prestige commodity.
  • focusing on just “audience” and “reception” misses the study of other activities and experiences that structure media meaning and use (349)

Mankekar, P. (2002). Epic Contests: Television and Religious Identity in India. In Media worlds: anthropology on new terrain. University of California Press: Berkeley.

  • examines how the serial Ramayan helped reshape common-sense conceptions of Indian culture, community, and identity. Why does the text work as hegemonic?
  • the serial was popular with Hindus because of its religious content, narrative traditions, and representational/aesthetic/cultural strategies (137).
  • the serial conflated Hindu and Indian identity by othering non-Hindu identities, as well as revealing the co-implication of Hindu nationalism and discourses of sexuality. 139
  • 140- Renuka constructed the aline-ness of Muslims in discourses of sexuality, hygiene, and their alleged loyalty to the Pakistani cricket team.
  • 144- the serial shared some discursive features of Hindu nationalism. 1) demonized cultural of other, 2) nationalism draws on constructions of the ancient past, a unified and clearly defined Hindu community, 3) Hindu culture is the underlying influence of Islam/Buddhism/Christianity.

Mandel, R. (2002). A Marshall Plan of the Mind: The Political Economy of a Kazakh Soap Opera. In Media worlds: anthropology on new terrain. University of California Press: Berkeley.

  • summarizes the British soap opera consultants in Kazakhstan, the vision of the soap opera from British and Kazakh angles, and consequences of British influence post-British departure. All reflect the cultural politics of post-Soviet transition.
  • television was the medium to help further the logical and inevitable transition to a capitalist market and transforming the national imaginery (212)
  • British came in to train Kazakhstani people to develop television programs; but there was a clash in realism. 217- one realism was set on the everyday, the other on the artistic presentation
  • 222- consumption difference from production, producers and audiences create different meanings. Content, construction of story lines, and the nature of production differed between local and international producers.

Turner, T. (2002). Representation, Politics, and Cultural Imagination in Indigenous Video: General Point and Kayapo Examples. In Media worlds: anthropology on new terrain. University of California Press: Berkeley.

  • the appropriation and use of new technologies by indigenous peoples for their own ends. this essay discusses a series of general issues related to the politics of representation, cultural “authenticity”, and the reimagination of social identity by indigenous peoples in contexts of interaction with state and global systems, with particular attention to the role of indigenous uses of video
  • becoming a cameraman or video editor is a prestigious position in the community with a culturally and politically important forms of mediation of relational sowjt western society (79)
  • replication of originally natural forms through concerted social actin is the essence of the production of human society-83
  • notions of mimesis or representation of imitation on the one hand and replication as the essential form of social and cultural production on the other (84)
  • The point: the reflexive objectification of Kayapo consciousness of their own culture in the contemporary interethnic context has not been merely the effect of western media or cultural influences; it has drawn upon powerful native cultural traditions of representation and mimetic objectification and has at the same time extended and strengthened those traditional forms. (85-86)

Ginsburg, F. (2002). Screen Memories: Resignifying the Traditional in Indigenous Media. In Media worlds: anthropology on new terrain. University of California Press: Berkeley.

  • tensions between the past erasure and the current visibility of indigenous participation in film and video are central to the work of the aboriginal media-makers who are engaged in making what i call screen memories; freud’s term to describe how people protect themselves from their traumatic past through layers of obfuscating memory. inverted term; indigenous people are using screen media not to mask but to recuperate their own collective stories and histories- some of them traumatic- that have been erased in the national narratives of the dominant culture and are in danger of being forgotten within local worlds.  (40)
  • these technologies of representation have played a dynamic and even revitalizing role for Inuit and other first nations people, as a self-conscious means of cultural preservation and production and a form of political mobilization (41)
  • indigenous people have been using the inscription of their screen memories in media to “talk back” to structures of power and state that have denied their rights, subjectivity, and citizenship for over two hundred year (51)

Himpele, J. (2002). Arrival Scenes: Complicity and Media Ethnography in the Bolivian Public Sphere. In Media worlds: anthropology on new terrain. University of California Press: Berkeley.

  • this essay sorts through the images of my appearances on the Tribuanal and calls for further reflection on how anthropologists are frequently recognized and drawn into the projects of other cultural producers- 302
  • how Tribunal producers and I managed my arrival through a relationship of complicity that was constituted because our parallax positions on a continuum of practices of cultural representations -304
  • recognizing myself in the same moral sphere of social engagement with the people I was studying and who were watching me, I began to ask myself if my ethnographic solicitation of and editing of informants’ voices were different from Panelque’s elicitation and cutting off of participants’ voices while he praises their protagonism.-311
  • If complicity was the mode of production on the Open Tribunal, then the appearance of hegemony was its product. It became clearer from further research that Panelque’s social authority was not achieved by obtaining uncritical moral consent directly, but through cultural strategies involving cross-class alliances, deferential images and moral obligations that structured and were structured by social inequality- 312
  • how complicity occupies the space between parallel projects of cultural representation. It poses the challenge that there is no neat separation between media ethnographers and media producers on the terrain of cultural representation- 313

Ganti, T. (2002). “And Yet My Heart Is Still Indian”: The Bombay Film Industry and the (H)Indianization of Hollywood. In Media worlds: anthropology on new terrain. University of California Press: Berkeley.

  • how commercial films production is a practice imbued with a “difference-producing set of relations” between filmmakers and audiences.
  • process of “Indianization”; adaptations and remakes customarily include narrative, genre, and intertextuality, but “Indianization” of films are more about relationships between audience and filmmaker, rather than text (283)
  • 286- hollywood films are characterized as unpleasure and unsuitable for/to audiences, but are not for filmmakers.
  • 289- filmmakers’ assessment of audiences are continually revised or reinforced based on how films perform at the box office.
  • in Indianization the selection and encoding process of Hindi filmmaking is structured mainly through filmmakers’ assumptions about their audiences
  • Process to “Indianization”:
    • Emotion: adding emotion to a film involves placing a character in a web of social relations of which kin are the most significant and common in Hindi films- 291
    • Narrative: enhancing the narrative, adding subplots, parallel tracks, inclusion of emotions greater narrative complexity because close family relationships provide moving stories of their own. -293
    • Songs: are the primary vehicles for representing fantasy, desire, and passion so any form of sexual activity in a Hollywood film would most likely be transformed into song-294; Music is essential to marketing and finance- 295
  • Audiences are never stable in the eyes of filmmakers, filmmakers are ever different than their audiences (297)
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