Monday, April 17, 2017

Core Post 4: Morley and Canclini

Both David Morley and Nestor Garcia Canclini examine reception analysis in globalisation - the notion that no text has a monolithic meaning - instead the audience decodes the text as they encounter it individually. In Chapter 7 of Canclini’s book “Consumer’s and Citizens: Globalisation and Multicultural Conflict”, he argues that “cultural practises and preferences are being restructured in relation to the transformations taking place in the television industry”, particularly in regards to the consumption habits of citizens -- and how culture is deterritorialised when transnational systems of communication and information destabilises local traditions. In Morley’s article “Where the Global Meets the Local: Notes from the Sitting Room” (1991), he lays out a desire to “effectively grasp the significance of the processes of globalisation and localisation which have been widely identified as central to contemporary culture” (1), through domestic or local studies. The work examines the conception of audiences through reception theory, reading the various ways they are codified, and the increasingly varied uses of television as a social and collective activity. Rather than conceiving of the audience as one with a singular identity, with a monolithic set of viewing practises and uniform habits, he looks at both fragmentation and homogenisation. That is, the microprocesses in the macro-issues, simultaneous methodologies of localisation and domestication -- examining “the way the televisual flow is incorporated into the “flows” of everyday domestic life” (Stuart Hall). Both Canclini and Morley examine conceptions of culture and identity, with what Morley terms “a properly postmodern geography of the relations between communications and power and the contemporary transformations of the public and private spheres” (9). In Canclini’s book “Consumers and Citizens: Globalisation and Multicultural Conflict”, he looks at popular culture in regional development, particularly in debates around media and identity. Canclini writes on the importance of “cultural hybridity”, examining the conditions of quotidian life in the production of meaning. He goes on to unpack “the shift from the citizen as a representative of public opinion to the consumer interested in enjoying quality of life.” (24) Canclini argues that this change is seen in the way “forms of participation cede their place to the pleasure taken in electronic media spectacles where narration or the simple accumulation of anecdotes prevails over reasoned solutions to problems” (24). Morley tries to articulate how the tension between the development of technologies and the control of media flow allow space for new identities, that global power relations are still largely operating under postcolonial/neocolonial power structures - meaning many groups live under the identities ascribed upon them. Ultimately, Canclini calls for policies to promote a Latin American audiovisual space, to deter the inevitable Americanisation of consumer practises. He advocates quotas, markets, and specialised funding -- which he sees as the favourable conditions for a democratic multicultural development.

1 comment:

  1. What do people make of this call for quotas and state funding as a way of countering the imperial effects of globalization and American hegemony? I would expect we critical thinkers versed in 20th century mass media to be dubious of expanding the state's role in media production. As a Canadian, however, I am consistently surprised (and impressed) by the quality of programming funded by institutions like the National Film Board of Canada, who also do a good job of prioritizing underrepresented voices. (As a Canadian, I am also impressed by your noble resistance to American hegemony via preservation of British spelling--I find myself acquiescing to AmericaniZations all the time.)