Academic journal article American Studies

CONTEMPORARY LATINA/O MEDIA: Production, Circulation, Politics

Academic journal article American Studies

CONTEMPORARY LATINA/O MEDIA: Production, Circulation, Politics

Article excerpt

CONTEMPORARY LATINA/O MEDIA: Production, Circulation, Politics. Edited by Arlene Dávila and Yeidy M. Rivero. New York: New York University Press. 2014.

Until recently, scholarship on Latina/o media has focused on representations of Latinos in film, television, music, and the news. While these approaches have yielded useful analyses of how Latinos are depicted in various media, they have also downplayed the institutional contexts in which these representations are produced and consumed. Contemporary Latina/o Media addresses this imbalance by examining how media are produced for Latinos, how Latinos consume this work, and the implications of these patterns of consumption and production on Latinos' abilities to exercise their citizenship rights. By shifting our attention to the global political economy, this collection of seventeen essays offers an interdisciplinary social science intervention into a field that has been dominated by literary and cultural analyses.

Contemporary Latina/o Media is divided into three sections: production, circulation, and politics. The section on production establishes why this intervention is especially timely. In the past ten years, a pan-Latino market has emerged in the United States as the deregulation of communications industries has eroded the distinction between national and foreign media, a combination that exposes how "Latino media" is the product of transnational processes. As Arlene Dávila notes in her useful introduction to the collection, "addressing 'Latino media' means analyzing at least two industries: one with roots in Latin America and the other with roots in Hollywood" (2). The essays in this section demonstrate how the transnational nature of Latina/o media has shifted the ownership of media outlets away from Latinos and toward Latin American corporations. As a result, Latino media has been "Latin Americanized," obscuring the presence of English-dominant Latinos and forgoing local concerns in favor of blander themes that are adaptable to larger audiences.

While the essays in the production section focus on the global market factors that shape Latino media, those in the circulation section attend to the media policies that affect distribution. In this section, Latino radio, which enjoys a larger listenership than the mainstream radio market, receives special consideration. …

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