Monday, April 17, 2017

Global Media: Core Post 4

Both Curten and Morley sought to expand and disprove the notion that global media creates a sense of hegemonic culture and I, at first, was inclined to disagree. As a  study abroad student in Europe, I was fascinated to find that each country I visited had one thing in common: televisions in public spaces were inclined to screen either Friends or How I Met Your Mother. To me, this suggested a sense of American imperialism, especially since I knew the countries I visited (England, France, Germany) to all theatrically have their own thriving entertainment industries (and were leaders in film before America). Coupled with my knowledge that my Pakistani friend (who I had met while abroad) was obsessed with The Daily Show, I wondered what it meant that American comedy in particular had so much universal appeal. Like Morley stressed, I needed more ethnographic research but had the sense that western (particularly American) culture was influencing people on a global level and hindering their engagement with the media content in their own culture.

With that said, I did come to understand Curten’s suggestion that while people may globally engage in American media, they may not engage with it in the same way. I can watch Friends and enjoy it for different reasons than a friend from another country, as cultural/personal experiences influence humor, taste, and social understanding. The appeal may be imperialistically enforced, but engagement yields to something more subjective. Moreover, this Culten quote in particular stuck out to me: “Globalization of media therefore should not be understood reductively as cultural homogenization of western hegemony. Instead it is part of a larger set of processes that operate translocally, interactively, and dynamically at a variety of levels: economic, institutional, technical, and ideological” (111). As did Morley’s point that class and access to global media are deeply intertwined and should be explored more in further ethnographic studies. Applying these schools of thought to my own experiences, I did come to see global engagement in media as a way to create a common entry point for discussion, where one can assert their own personal engagement and cultural identity while learning more from another’s point of view (whether it’s in person or through the inherently social media). Access more than anything is the key invitation into this discussion, as Curten also illustrates how the global expansion of capitalism influences which countries are able to not only engage, but also produce. In this light, media is not the true imperialistic force as much as Western business practices.


  1. Caitlin, I appreciated your post, and I think your personal research (even though it may not have been research at the time) is really interesting in light of the readings. It reminded me of this documentary I had seen in another TV class (at NYU), called Exporting Raymond. The documentary depicts Phil Rosenthal, producer and creator of Everybody Loves Raymond, traveling to Moscow and trying to sell the series abroad. Ultimately, if memory serves, they do sell the show but must tweak the humor to engage Russian themes, which seems to me to speak to the cultural hybridity that the readings refer to. But I wonder in this context if the cultural hybridity achieved actually upholds this hegemonic culture that you point to in your initial findings of US TV abroad.

  2. Caitlin, what I found most interesting in this post was your brief mention of America's "hindering engagement" with its own culture. It reminds me of a previous week in this class when we discussed the spaces in which this televised content takes place. For Americans, I feel like out content is so consumer based and its amplified by "reality" shows like Pawn Stars or new home makeover shows that exemplify the monetary value of an item. And these are the "crappy/addicting" shows that we don't talk about but seem to be always watching. I'm also curious as to how far these types of show travel.