Re: Media and Ethnic Groups

Nils Zurawski (zurawsk@UNI-MUENSTER.DE)
Fri, 8 Mar 1996 21:05:27 +0100

> I'm a student at Universite de Monctonn, New-Brunswick (Canada)
>in Sociology and I have a great intress for studies in the field of
>anthropology. Aside from this, I have a question that might be
>intresting for the members of the list.
> The world of the media for example television and the Internet
>has an impact on ethnic groups. Could one say that the media has a
>goal to reduce the differentiation of ethnic groups by standerdizing
>the society? In other words, amogn other caracteristics the media
>whants to reduce the differentiation between individuals by imposing
>commun standers for everyone and that could also diminish the
>differenciation betwen all ethnic groups in genaral.
>Please send some comments...
> Etienne Paulin

I hope it is not too late for a I go...

I don't think the intention of the media is to reduce the differences, but
it is a lot easier to make one product and sell it all over the place, than
do 100 different ones in small numbers and sell them to 'single' people.

The interesting thing is how that is done. Standardisation of products and
just adding a local flavour to it is one way. That is selling concepts
rather than ready made products, as you can see in TV series.

But the coin ghas a flip side too. How do ethnic groups react to that or
make even use of that, in order to get their voices and interests heard all
over the world. The world seems to become more and more the place for
lobbying for the own group. Therefore al lot of different groups (ethnic
here) have to speak a common language. The wuestion then is, do these
plitics afect the 'ethnicity' of these groups, or do they act on two
I do not believe in the argument of all becomes one, one world, one global
society etc. . Our identities were formed under certain cirmunstances,
which will affect our lives and our way of dealing with influences brought
about from the outside. If we will or will not adopt and therefor
manipulate alie sthings and our own ethnicity has to do with this history
among other things as well, social situation, power structures, etc.

A strrengthend ethnicity can also be answer to these influences, i.e.
ethnicity as a ressource of self-organisation, regarding the cirmunstances
a given group is living in.
Despite the narrative of 'one global society' our living environment is
still pretty narrow compared to the planet earth, what makes my fellows
closer than the stranger. There are exceptions, variations and all kinds of
inbetweens, but as a model help to understand fundamentalism for instance,
although working on a global level (Islam), it very much focused a region
and a small (mental) horizon.

That all for now.