South African Youth and their Experience of Global Media
Within the context of debates concerning the impact of global media on local audiences, this study explores how a sample of South African youth responds to texts which were produced internationally, but distributed locally. Recognising the profound rootedness of media consumption in everyday life, the study examines the way these youth, differentially embedded in the South African economic and ideological formation, use these texts as part of their ongoing attempts to make sense of their lives. The paper rejects the 'either/or' formulations that often accompany competing structuralist and culturalist approaches to text/audience relationships. Instead, using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, it seeks to highlight the interplay between agency and structure, between individual choices and the structuring of experience by wider social and historical factors. The paper points to the complex individual and social reasons that lie behind consumption choices, and the diverse (and socially patterned) reasons why local audiences are either attracted to, or reject, global media. The paper thus points to the deficiencies of the media imperialism thesis with its definitive claims for cultural homogenisation, seen as the primary effect of the globalisation of media.
Keywords: Globalism and Localism
Prof. Larry Nathan Strelitz
Deputy-HOD; Deputy-Dean, Faculty of Humanities, From 2005 I will be Deputy-Dean in the Faculty of Humanities. I am currently the Deputy-Head in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa., Department of Journalism and Media Studies, Rhodes University