Media and Power in International Contexts: Perspectives on Agency and Identity: Volume 16

Cover of Media and Power in International Contexts: Perspectives on Agency and Identity

Table of contents

(10 chapters)


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Section I Media, Power, and Agency


This study uses the concept of standing, or legitimacy, to bridge the disciplinary divide between social movement and communication scholarship on activism. Here, the authors examine whether activist standing in 269 broadcast news stories sampled between 1970 and 2012 across five social movements – Women’s Rights, Gay Rights, Immigrant Rights, Occupy Wall Street, and Tea Party – is undermined by (1) the mix of visuals included in media coverage and (2) activists’ social statuses at the intersection of gender, race, and age. The authors find that broadcast media undercut the standing of activists in some social movements more than others. Occupy activists faced the most challenges to their standing because they were more likely to be shown as angry, young protestors wearing anti-government costumes and engaged in nonnormative protest behavior than activists associated with other movements. In contrast, Tea Party movement activists, who also made anti-government claims during the same relative time frame, were not cast in a similarly negative light. The authors also find that activist standing is diminished and enhanced at the intersection of gender, race, and age. For example, the social movements with the most racial diversity – the immigrant rights and Occupy movements – were also shown as the most deviant and deserving violent repression in coverage. The authors conclude the study with a discussion of the importance of interdisciplinary research and a call for additional research on the movement–media relationship.


Racism in the United States is complex given the cultural logics that uphold notions of “post-race” or “colorblindness” as a means for understanding racialized events. The various forces at play within media institutions create paradoxes in the power that the media wields in society. Utilizing the concept of “media spectacle” and putting it into dialogue with colorblind racism, the author looks at local coverage of the 2009 arrest of Henry Louis Gates. The author’s primary concern is to identify not only the narratives that uphold or challenge colorblind racism during racialized events, but also the dynamic in which racialized events are mediated in contemporary society. Through a critical discourse analysis of two Boston newspapers, the author demonstrates the way colorblind racism adapts during a racialized event. This study demonstrates the contested nature of the media and nuance to the ways we understand colorblind racism in an increasingly mediated society.


Guided by Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological System’s model, this study documented acculturation and parental involvement in low-income Chinese immigrant homes that serve as predictors of parental mediation. By surveying 165 parents of 3–13-year-old immigrant children, this study found that low-income Chinese parents enacted restrictive mediation the most and exhibited a slow acculturation process even after an average of seven years of emigration. Higher parental acculturation was related to a higher use of active and restrictive mediation. Additionally, different aspects of parental involvement also served as predictors of the three mediation strategies. Chinese cultural emphasis on academic excellence and success was used to help interpret the findings. Future research should consider implementing research-based adult media literacy programs for immigrant parents to help them practice their parental mediation skills in the host culture.


The present study provides an overview of the historical as well as the global expansion of Facebook from developed countries to the developing countries. The chapter also provides an elaboration over the features and the architectural design of this Online Social Networking service. In order to understand the worldwide usage and acceptance of Facebook, and the gradual spread of Facebook from the United States to the European countries and then to the developing world, we need to pay close attention to the evolution of Facebook in these cultures. In comparison to the developed world, Facebook was slow to spread throughout developing countries. This chapter argues that certain conditions contributed to the expansion of Facebook in these countries. The growth of mobile technology and the usage of Facebook in multiple languages accelerated the increase in its membership. Although majority of the developing countries started using Facebook later than developed countries, within a few years they soon became the nations with the highest growth of Facebook users.

Section II Media, Power, and Identity


This study reports on a four-month ethnographic project conducted among young Catholic women in Mumbai, India. Here, the author examines how the media consumption of participants is implicated in reconstituting Indian national identity. Because Hinduism is closely tied to conceptualizations of Indianness and because women continue to be marginalized in Indian society, Catholic women in India are viewed as second-class citizens or “not Indian enough” or “appropriately Indian” by virtue of their gender and religious affiliation. However, through media consumption that emphasizes hybridity, participants destabilize narrow definitions of Indian identity. Specifically, participants cultivate hybridity as central to an Indian identity that is viable in an increasingly global society. Within this formulation of hybridity, markers of their marginalization are reframed as markers of distinction. By centering hybridity in their media consumption, young, middle-class Catholic women (re)imagine their national identity in translocal cosmopolitan terms that subverts marginalization experienced by virtue of their religion and leverages privileges they enjoy by virtue of their middle-class status. Importantly, this version of Indian identity remains elitist in that it remains inaccessible to poor women, including poor women of minority groups.


Gloria Pritchett – the fiery and caring Latina mother in Modern Family – is believed to recreate cultural and gender stereotypes. This audience study was interested in situating her as an intersectional representation to recognize that numerous social categories coproduce her characterization not just one. Textual analyses of open-ended questions reveal that participants tend to explicitly and exclusively discuss her stereotypes in ethnic and gender terms, with an emphasis on the former. However, a semantic analysis of the words/adjectives used to describe Gloria Pritchett suggested these share meaning across multiple social categories. Some aspects of her representation, like those based on ethnicity and gender (her Latina wisdom) or ethnicity and social class (her social mobility from Colombia to the United States), were found commendable, respectable, and likable. Eventually, the social identities encompassing Gloria Pritchett are taken apart and compounded, which in turn, suggest that her intersectionality was malleable for viewers.


This chapter reports from a qualitative study on how identity categories, including gender and ethnicity, are experienced and constructed through video gaming among immigrant youth in Norway. The aim here is to explore the manifestations and contestations of gendered power and hegemonic practices among the young immigrant girls and boys. This chapter builds on research about everyday media use especially video games, and our analysis is based on theories of hegemony, power, gender, and ethnicity. Three key findings are observed from the study: (a) video games acting as a bridge between ethnic minority boys (not so much with the girls) and ethnic Norwegians, (b) hegemonic gendered practices, emphasizing the “otherness,” in particular for girls adhering to the category of gamer, and finally, to a lesser degree, (c) marginalization within video games on the basis of being a non-Western youth in a Western context. As such the study simultaneously not only confirms but also challenges dominant discourses on video games by suggesting that, although some positive strides have been made, the claims of a post-gender neutral online world, or celebrations of an inclusive and democratic online media culture, especially video gaming, are still premature.


Pages 171-175
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Cover of Media and Power in International Contexts: Perspectives on Agency and Identity
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Studies in Media and Communications
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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