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.


(505 words)




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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