Mass Mediations: New Approaches to Popular Culture in the Middle East and Beyond

By Walter Armbrust | Go to book overview

PREFACE

Mass Mediations examines popular culture broadly, in terms of economics, politics, conventions of taste and aesthetics, and performance. The “popular” is an integral part of a wide cultural spectrum, not a set of practices to be opposed to “elite” culture. High/low distinctions such as those commonly made in the West are sometimes part of cultural discourse in Middle Eastern societies, but they rarely operate in a strictly analogous fashion. Our focus, therefore, is less on what popular culture is than on what it does in its mass-mediated forms, namely, to create new scales of communication and, consequently, new dimensions of modern identity.

A wide variety of media are considered, including recorded music (as well as live performance), television, cinema, and print media ranging from mass-circulation weeklies to postmodern novels. All the material examined here is underrepresented in scholarship on the Middle East. This volume therefore helps to fill gaps in the regional literature. Growing excitement over new communications technologies makes it easy to overlook the historical depth of mass media in the Middle East. Consequently, we include several chapters that analyze historical dimensions of mass-mediated culture. Of course, the very idea of a Middle East is itself a political issue. We respond to this concern by addressing transnational dimensions of Middle Eastern identities that challenge conventional assumptions about the region and its relation to Western societies.

Relations between metropolitan societies and the colonized are an important part of contemporary history. However, on many levels the unfolding of modernity in colonial and postcolonial societies has scarcely been described or analyzed. The literature on Middle Eastern popular culture is so impoverished partly because concerns about Western power and Western representational practices have overwhelmed analyses of non-Western

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Mass Mediations: New Approaches to Popular Culture in the Middle East and Beyond
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Preface ix
  • Note on Transliteration xi
  • One - Anxieties of Scale 1
  • Notes *
  • Two - Creating Arab/american Identities in a Transnational Domain 32
  • Notes *
  • Three - Persian Popular Music from Bazm-E Qajariyyeh to Beverly Hills Garden Parties 61
  • Notes *
  • Four - Transgender Pop and the Polysemiotics of Sex, Nation, and Ethnicity on the Israeli-Egyptian Border 88
  • Notes *
  • Five - Local Egyptian Performers Between Regional Identity and International Markets 120
  • Notes *
  • Six - Moroccan Music and Euro-American Imagination 146
  • Notes *
  • Seven - Reimaging Egypt's Lost Community 161
  • Notes 179
  • Eight - Public Culture and the Construction of Social Identity 182
  • Notes *
  • Nine - Mediating Modernity in Lahore 203
  • Notes *
  • Ten - Realism and the Transnational Imaginary in Turkish Popular Culture 224
  • Notes *
  • Eleven - The Egyptian Print Media's Carnival of National Identity 243
  • Notes *
  • Twelve - Hollywood and Revolution on the Nile 269
  • Notes *
  • Thirteen - Commercial Egyptian Cinema Before the 1960s 292
  • Notes *
  • References 329
  • Contributors 355
  • Index 359
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