Hybridity, or the Cultural Logic of Globalization

By Marwan M. Kraidy | Go to book overview

5 The Cultural and Political Economies
of Hybrid Media Texts

The visibility of mimicry is always produced at the site of interdiction.

—Homi Bhabha

THE HISTORY of broadcasting before the satellite era is one of national systems in which different political outlooks and cultural policies engendered alternate functions for electronic mass communication: broadcasting was a tool of development in much of the non-Western world, a public service in Western Europe, an instrument of direct propaganda under authoritarian regimes, or a commercial enterprise in the United States and elsewhere. National considerations shaped the broadcasting operations inspired by these various media philosophies. Considered an important national asset, broadcasting was harnessed to promote social stability, foster economic development, and consolidate national unity. In addition to national political and socioeconomic factors, the limitations of available technology restricted the expansion of media activities to the confines of the nation-state. National considerations were therefore paramount in determining the agenda, policies, and content of electronic media.

A closer examination, however, suggests that broadcasting’s presumed national scope is in effect an ideal type, not a technically accurate description of actual media operations. Since most broadcast signals travel in concentric circles and most countries are not circular in shape, signal spillover has been historically pervasive. Southern Norwegians can watch Swedish television over the air, and denizens of the eastern Mediterranean receive terrestrial signals of varying quality from Egyptian and Greek television stations during hot and humid summer nights. Some countries’ public broadcasters, such as Japan’s NHK, have committed extraordinary technical and financial assets to achieve universal national coverage of an insular territory that presents enormous physical challenges. It is also evident that many countries have used their national media for transnational influence: in the United States,

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Hybridity, or the Cultural Logic of Globalization
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vi
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • 1- Cultural Hybridity and International Communication 1
  • 2- Scenarios of Global Culture 15
  • 3- The Trails and Tales of Hybridity 45
  • 4- Corporate Transculturalism 72
  • 5- The Cultural and Political Economies of Hybrid Media Texts 97
  • 6- Structure, Reception, and Identity on Arab-Western Dialogism 116
  • 7- Hybridity without Guarantees toward Critical Transculturalism 148
  • Notes 163
  • Bibliography 177
  • Index 211
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