BCM310: BCM310: Emerging Issues in Media and Communication chapter 12 Towards Intersectional Approaches

BCM310: BCM310: Emerging Issues in Media and Communication chapter 12 Towards Intersectional Approaches.

Date: 8 June 2014

In the tenth week of BCM 310, we discussed the role of media in intersectional approaches and women’s rights.

To my understanding, intersectionality is the interaction of various biological, social and cultural categories such as race, class and gender, sexual orientation and other axes of identity (Rigoni 2012, pp834-849; Durham 2004, pp140–161). It comes about when diasporic or transnational identities crosscut with national, local and metropolitan cultural identities (Rigoni 2012, pp834-849). Cabramatta is a good example of intersectionality at play. Such interaction can result in systematic injustice and social inequality, sometimes leading to oppression within society. “The idea of intersectionality is rooted in several traditions including postmodern feminist theory, post-colonial theory, black feminism and queer theory” (Rigoni 2012, pp834-849). Dreher’s work on Cabramatta exposes the uneven distribution of cultural media resources, with some people having access to a wide range of cultural products and definitions, while others compete for a limited range of representations (Dreher 2012, pp67-80). Dreher (2012, pp67-80) opines that the lack of representations in the media is a “great loss for the metropolitan and national centers as much as for the people of Cabramatta”. It represents an opportunity for media to play a bigger role in a society increasingly aware of differences.


The media especially become major actors when dealing with women’s rights as they provide the primary systems for disseminating information and organizing knowledge about women and people around them. Feminist groups often cite the hijab and burqa as oppression towards women, symbolizing the inferior social status of women (Rowe, 2010). Many would interpret that the Muslim woman is being forced by her religion, her husband or her family into wearing a hijab or burqa. They are unaware that the hijab is often a personal choice because the Muslim woman feels it is part of her identity. Media representation of “veiled” women is responsible for public perception of Islam and the Muslim women. The Times cover title “Lifting the Veil” exemplifies American media’s portrayal of women being oppressed “behind the veil”. There is much media focus on women as victims in “honor killings”; female genital mutilation; and stoning to death for female adulterers (Assultany 2013, pp161-169). This helps reinforce women’s rights and the feminist movement. The Ukrainian women’s protest group, Femen, adopt a simple, outrageous formula: “scantily clad topless women staging highly theatrical demonstrations to draw the attention of the media to various facets of gender inequality in Ukraine” (Zychowicz 2011, pp215-227). The media, in turn, have capitalized on their protests, declaring it a new kind of feminism. The NPR, BBC, and The New York Times, have all highlighted their cause (Zychowicz 2011, pp215-227).


The western media possess a powerful clout in selecting information that they wish to disseminate. The ability of western media to reach out to a global audience makes the western media a force to be reckoned with. For those on the other side of the fence, like the Muslim community, it can be a discrimination against them. Thus, media like Aljazeera can play an effective role in representing Muslim concerns and helping others to understand the Muslim culture and practices.

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Asultany, E 2013, Arabs and Muslims in the Media after 9/11: Representational Strategies for a “Postrace” Era, American Quarterly, vol.55, no.1, pp161-169, accessed 7/6/2014, http://muse.jhu.edu.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/journals/american_quarterly/v065/65.1.alsultany.html.


Durham, M, G, 2004, ‘Constructing the “new ethnicities”: media, sexuality and diaspora identity in the lives of South Asian immigrant girls’, Critical Studies in Media Communication, vol.21, no.2, pp140–161, http://www.tandfonline.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/doi/pdf/10.1080/07393180410001688047.


Dreher, T 2012, ‘Intersections: a transdisciplinary approach to media, identity, and place’, Australian journal of Communication, vol.29, no.1, pp67-80, http://ro.uow.edu.au/artspapers/511/.


Rigoni, I 2012, ‘Intersectionality and mediated cultural production in a globalized post-colonial world’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, vol.35, no.5, pp834-849, http://www.tandfonline.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/doi/pdf/10.1080/01419870.2011.628035.


Rowe, T 2010, ‘To Ban or Not to Ban? The Burqa, Religious Identity, and Politics’, weblog post, Butterflies and Wheels, 31 Aug, accessed 3/6/14, http://www.butterfliesandwheels.org/2010/to-ban-or-not-to-ban-the-burqa-religious-identity-and-politics/


Zychowicz, J 2011, ‘Two Bad Words: FEMEN & Feminism in Independent Ukraine’, Anthropology of East Europe Review, vol.29, no.2, pp215-227, http://www.ualberta.ca/~feminism/assets/femen-and-feminism.pdf.


BCM 310: BCM 310, Emerging issues in Media and Communication, Chapter 11 Diasporic Media

BCM310: BCM310: Emerging Issues in Media and Communication chapter 11 Diasporic Media.

Date: 1 June 2014

In the eleventh week of BCM310 we studied diasporic media. Ben-Rafael (2013, pp842 – 861) states that the word ‘diaspora’ stems from the Greek language, and means the widespread dispersal of people from the same territory. In simple parlance, diaspora refers to those communities dispersed to more than one country. The concept of diaspora has since the 1990s being taken to mean complex transnational flows.

Despite their widespread dispersal, some thousands of miles away, diasporic groups have stayed connected via a variety of media such as mail, telephone, film and the internet (Karim, 2003 pp1-18). A classic example of the dispersion of people from their original homeland is the Chinese diaspora (Sun 2005, pp65-86). They comprised a significant migratory population in the United States, constituting some 1.3million immigrants and refugees in 2004, originating from mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong (Shi 2005, pp55-72; Sun 2005, pp65-86).

An example of a diasporic media is a movie; “Bend it like Beckham” directed by Indo-British filmmaker Gurinder Chadha (Chacko 2010, pp81-86). It concerns Jasminder “Jess” Bhamra, an 18 year-old Punjabi whose obsession with football compels her to challenge patriarchal stereotyping at home and racism on the field (Chacko 2010, pp81-86). To attain her goal, she has to bend the rules prescribed by her cultural backgrounds much to the chagrin of her family (Chacko 2010, pp81-86). This is because in Indian’s diaspora, girls that play football are courting the impending invasion of “foreign” cultural practices into their domestic space. As highlighted by Ram (2005, pp121-137), diaspora goes beyond the representation of one’s culture to an alien but it has to bestow to one’s own offspring as well; hence, the parents’ objection to Jess’ passion for the British sport.

The contents of diasporic media are relevant to diasporic communities like the Bhamra’s and is representative of them. Their role in developing intercultural dialogue and promoting cultural understanding is critical for the migrant communities and the host country to familiarize and understand the differences of their cultures (Georgiou, 2003, pp1-80). It is even more significant as “cultural difference, particularly third-world cultures, continues to be portrayed as being patriarchal, traditional, homogenous, and as deliberately choosing ghettoization over assimilation in multicultural societies” (Chacko 2010, pp81-86). In Australia, refugees were depicted as villains or victims by the media without a concrete examination of the cultural complexity of refugee experience (Salazar 2012, pp65-84).

In my opinion, diasporic media is central to the construction of migrant identities, simply because media are essential sources for society to learn about other culture. Diaspora media also function as linkages between the country of origin and diasporic communities throughout the world (Georgiou, 2003, pp1-80). Telephone and Internet centres and diasporic video clubs flourish in multiethnic neighborhoods (Dijck 2009, pp41–58). They both reproduce and sustain mediated minority communication, as well as direct and face-to-face communication (Dijck 2009, pp41–58; Pavlik 2013, pp181-193). Such public spaces not only offer communication technologies but also act as meeting places for social interaction, bringing a sense of belonging (Georgiou, 2003, pp1-80; Pavlik 2013, pp181-193). Diasporic media also pave the way for dialogue and facilitate minority participation in setting agendas in local, national and transnational spaces and forums, bringing a sense of emancipation within diasporic groups. The Internet enables users to create, evaluate, and distribute Internet content and applications (Hermida & Thurman 2008, pp343-356). This further empowers diaporic communities in their host countries.


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Ben-Rafael, E 2013, ‘Diaspora’, Current Sociology, vol.61, no.5-6, pp842 – 861, accessed 30/5/2014, http://www.sagepub.net/isa/resources/pdf/Diaspora.pdf.


Chacko, M, A 2010, ‘Bend It Like Beckham: Dribbling the Self Through a Cross-Cultural Space’, Multicultural Perspectives, vol.12, no.2, pp81-86, accessed 31/5/2014, https://www.academia.edu/887368/Bend_It_Like_Beckham_Dribbling_the_Self_through_a_Cross-Cultural_Space.


Dijck, V, J 2009, ‘Users like you? Theorizing agency in user-generated content’, Media, Culture & Society, vol.31, no.1, pp41–58, accessed 10/4/2014, http://jclass.umd.edu/classes/jour698m/vandijk.pdf.


Georgiou, M 2003, ‘Mapping Diasporic Media across the EU: Addressing Cultural Exclusion’, accessed 31/5/2014, http://www.lse.ac.uk/media@lse/research/EMTEL/reports/georgiou_2003_emtel.pdf.


Hermida, A & Thurman, N 2008, ‘A CLASH OF CULTURES: The integration of user-generated content within professional journalistic frameworks at British newspaper websites’, Journalism Practice, vol.2, no.3, pp343-356, accessed 10/4/2014, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17512780802054538#.U0of6PmSySp.


Karim, K, H 2003, ‘Mapping diasporic mediascapes’,The media of diaspora, London & New York, Routledege.


Pavlik, V, J 2013, ‘Innovation and the future of journalism’, Digital Journalism, vol.1, no.2, pp181-193, accessed 10/4/2014, http://www.tandfonline.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/doi/full/10.1080/21670811.2012.756666#.U0og_vmSySo.


Ram, K 2005, ‘Phantom limbs: South Indian dance and immigrant reifications of the female body’, Journal of Intercultural Studies, vol.26, no.1-2, pp121-137, accessed 10/4/2014, http://www.tandfonline.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/doi/pdf/10.1080/07256860500074342.


Salazar, J 2012, ‘Digital stories and emerging citizens’ media practices by migrant youth in Western Sydney’, 3CMedia: Journal of Community, Citizen’s & Third Sector Media & Communication, vol.1, no.7, pp65-84, accessed 31/5/2014, http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/ehost/detail?sid=17e59b3d-f573-4c99-9bbe-d67dddac74e2%40sessionmgr110&vid=1&hid=127&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=ufh&AN=79551905.


Shi, Y 2005, ‘Identity Construction of the Chinese Diaspora, Ethnic Media Use, Community Formation, and the Possibility of Social Activism’, Journal of Media & Culture Studies, vol.19, no.1, pp55-72, accessed 30/5/2014, http://www.nabilechchaibi.com/resources/identity%20construction.pdf.


Sun, W 2005, ‘Media and the Chinese Diaspora: Community, Consumption, and Transnational Imagination’. Journal of Chinese Overseas, vol.1, no.1, pp65-86, accessed 30/5/2014, http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/jco/summary/v001/1.1sun.html.

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