Call for Chapters - Power, politics and identity in post-apartheid South African media
Call for Papers Date:
Call for book chapter proposals
At the end of the rainbow: power, politics and identity in post-apartheid South African media (working title)
Adrian Hadland (Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa)
Herman Wasserman (Stellenbosch University, South Africa)
Eric Louw (University of Queensland, Australia)
Simphiwe Sasanti (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa)
To be published by HSRC Press, South Africa
Contributions are sought on the role that the media has played in constructing identity since the democratisation of South Africa. In the years since the democratisation began in the early 1990s, the country’s media has emerged as an important role-player in the political processes and ideological shifts that have taken place during this period. The media has also set the stage for post-apartheid identities to emerge, by sponsoring some discourses and de-legitimating others. Amongst the key discourses receiving media sponsorship have been ‘rainbow nation’, ‘ubuntu’ and ‘African renaissance’. The process of identity-building also involved contestation, and cannot be separated from the media's position within larger power struggles. This book aims to bring together a variety of perspectives on the way that the media’s deconstructing and reconstructing of identities since the demise of apartheid forms part of the broader post-apartheid landscape.
The media has been involved in two (intermeshed) processes – on the one hand deconstructing or challenging the old identities created under apartheid, and on the other hand a process in which the media contributed to the construction of new identities. This resulted in the media becoming involved in a complex struggle over identity. But while scholarly debates have focused attention on the role of the media on a structural (e.g. its place in the political economy of the transition; ownership and editorial changes; its relationship with civil society), functional (e.g. its role as watchdog of government; its function as protector of the public interest; its professional ethics) or a symbolic level (its creation of a forum where new myths and identities about South Africanness could be formed), these different aspects have until now seldom been connected. Studies have often fallen prey to either taking a deterministic view of the media industry on a structural level, or, erring on the side of individual agency, fetishised cultural mixing and hybridisation.
This book intends to explore the intersections of different levels of media power. Its central focus will be on the way that the South African media has constructed new identities and imagined new forms of the nation. It wants to bring together perspectives on the media’s role in the transition that will interrogate the relationships between identity discourses and political power structures, between the representation of new subjectivities and pre-existing economic relations, between the celebration of the new nation and the privatisation of the public sphere. While this exploration will be set in the local specificity of South Africa, it will also take cognisance of the position of these media discourses within accelerated processes of globalisation; while the focus will fall on the era after apartheid, it will strive towards understanding the current dispensation against a wider historical backdrop. In doing so, the book will aim to investigate how the media’s construction of identity in post-apartheid South Africa is inextricably linked with the politics of the transition in all its multifarious dimensions.
Possible topics (contributors are encourage to formulate their own approaches to the overall theme of the book):
• The political economy of mediated identities (media market segmentation and its correlation with racial, ethnic and gendered identities; the media’s privatisation and commodification of cultural identities; the reconfiguration of media ownership and edtiorial make-up since democratisation)
• Media, politics and identity struggles (the contestation of identities in the media; the politics of inclusion and exclusion; media agendasetting of language and ethnicity)
• Media representations (stereotyping; normative constructions of identity; essentialisms; hybridity; the construction of new “in-groups” and “out-groups”)
• The media and new identity discourses (‘African Renaissance’; ‘ubuntu’; ‘Rainbow Nation’; ‘nation building’; ‘South Africanness’)
• The intersection of class, culture, language, ethnicity and race in the media (media markets and identity construction; group identity vs. liberal individualism; identity formation through conspicuous consumption)
• Mediated identities within the global-local nexus (the influence of new media technologies on identity construction; local and global interplay in media representation; “Americanization”)
Deadline for abstracts: 31 January 2006
Authors will be notified of the acceptance of their abstracts by the end of February 2006. Accepted chapters should be completed by 01 May 2006.
Send abstracts to: Herman Wasserman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Department of Journalism
University of Stellenbosch
Private Bag X1
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