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

By Walter Armbrust | Go to book overview

ONE
Introduction
Anxieties of Scale
Walter Armbrust

Mass Mediations examines the role of mass-mediated popular culture in defining the scale and character of social interaction in the Middle East. Mass media are now as ubiquitous in Karachi and Cairo as they are in Dearborn and Los Angeles. Few question their importance in the contemporary process of constructing the boundaries of social identity. Although mass media potentially raise as many questions as sociological ingenuity can devise, in this volume we address primarily the larger, more inclusive issues that lend themselves to questions of scale: modernity, nationalism, and globalization. Our goal is to examine these issues of general relevance in ethnographic and historical detail. By examining a broad set of analytic issues in fine-grained regionally oriented perspective, we hope to shed light on the complex phenomenon of mass media without inevitably forcing the analysis into a common scale—specifically, the global—or reducing the analysis of modernity to a tension between global and local cultural forms. In particular, constructing the local so as to preclude consideration of the nation-state as a viable framework for modern social action risks analytic distortion. Together the chapters herein suggest that modernity need not be associated definitively with either nationalism (as it often has been) or globalization (which is increasingly taken to signal the irrelevance of the nation-state).


THE MIDDLE EAST

Our regional focus is the Middle East, which for the past two decades has been a lightning rod for anxieties about the reality of conceptual boundaries. In the wake of Edward Said's Orientalism (1978) the very idea of a Middle East has come under suspicion. For some the Middle East as a cul-

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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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