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Global Currents

Global Currents: Media and Technology Now

Copyright Date: 2004
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    Global Currents
    Book Description:

    Rhetoric about media technology tends to fall into two extreme categories: unequivocal celebration or blanket condemnation. This is particularly true in debate over the clash of values when first world media infiltrate third world audiences. Bringing together the best new work on contemporary media practices, technologies, and policies, the essayists inGlobal Currentsargue that neither of these extreme views accurately represents the role of media technology today. New ways of thinking about film, television, music, and the internet demonstrate that it is not only media technologies that affect the cultures into which they are introduced-it is just as likely that the receiving culture will change the media. Topics covered in the volume include copyright law and surveillance technology, cyber activism in the African Diaspora, transnational monopolies and local television industries, the marketing and consumption of "global music," "click politics" and the war on Afghanistan, the techno-politics of distance education, artificial intelligence and global legal institutions, and traveling and "squatting" in digital space. Balanced between major theoretical positions and original field research, the selections address the political and cultural meanings that surround and configure new technologies.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-4249-2
    Subjects: Film Studies, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    This volume sets out to explore the complex relationships among media, technology, and globalization. Our title,Global Currents, also serves as our conceptual framework to suggest new and contemporary ways of thinking about mobile media forms and technologies—notably film, television, music, and the Internet—within the complex dynamics of global circuits and the multivalent processes of globalization. Rather than a set of binaries or confrontations, this collection conceives of these relationships through the guiding metaphors of currents, flows, journeys, passageways, and transmissions.

    The inspiration and impulse for this volume was a conference we organized at the University of Wisconsin...

  5. I Institutions: Nationalism, Transnationalism, Globalization

    • Crypto Regs Fear, Greed, and the Destruction of the Digital Commons
      (pp. 13-41)

      The increasing globalization and integration of the world’s information systems promises a host of benefits, but there are significant perils to these promises. This essay examines the tradeoffs involved, summarizes the current state of the world, and makes suggestions for what we can do to maximize the likelihood of outcomes that enhance global freedom, creativity, and civil liberties.

      While dependent upon technology, the main issues in our current worldwide information systems are political, not technical. Thus, pursuing a purely technical solution to these problems is unlikely to succeed. My analysis therefore focuses on evaluating current and potential political interactions with...

    • What We Should Do and What We Should Forget in Media Studies Or, My TV A–Z
      (pp. 42-64)

      The audiovisual media are everywhere, spreading their reach even as they undergo unprecedented textual, technological, and political transformations. Meanwhile, thestudyof the media is an evolving, contested domain that crosses the humanities and social sciences. Consider television. The field of television studies encompasses production and audience ethnography, affects research, policy advocacy, political economy, cultural history, and textual analysis. It borrows from and contributes to media studies, mass communication, critical race theory, communication studies, journalism, public policy, media sociology, critical legal studies, queer theory, science and technology studies, psychology, film studies, economics, cultural studies, feminist theory, and Marxism. The intersections...

    • Hybridity
      (pp. 65-80)

      While distance education promises—or threatens—to eradicate the geospacial gulf between higher-education sites and potential students around the world, it does not appear to be connecting the first world with the rest in terms that match the hyperbole of its cheerleaders. At the same time, “hybridity” is fast becoming a key concept in emerging approaches to technology-enhanced higher education, as faculty and administrators approach a middle ground between the completely on-line delivery of modular, numbers-driven distance education and the completely on-campus delivery of faculty-driven traditional courses.

      Contemporary uses of “hybrid” in educational settings refer to a kind of course...

      (pp. 81-92)

      Henry Parkes Motel. Google turns up 434 matches to those words. At the top of the list,, the Web site of Ennew Allsopp, “not just Property Valuers but Property Experts.” The company’s origins go “as far back as 1979.” In “Internet years” one might say that is a lifetime, but in regard to the real estate industry one must wonder whether that is at all a long time. One of the company’s founders, Owen Allsopp, its director, “has specialised almost exclusively in Compulsory Land Acquisition work.” What has happened to this hotel that Ennew Allsopp is touting it?


    • Is Television a Global Medium? A Historical View
      (pp. 93-112)

      In recent years, much writing on television has suggested that television is the global medium par excellence, having imposed the same culture of images, the same news, the same media events, or even the same “ Western culture” on huge populations worldwide.¹ Historians striving to write “global history” have noted that television and communication technologies at large seem central to explaining “why ours is a global age.”² Those who claim that television is predominantly a global medium have focused on direct global diffusion as a major factor in the history of television: This is one of the bases of the...

    • The Land Grab for Bandwidth Digital Conversion in an Era of Consolidation
      (pp. 113-135)

      A key feature of the history of television technology has been the simultaneous global development of the medium in various countries throughout the world. In the 1920s and 1930s, experiments in transmitting images over long distances occurred in France, Germany, Japan, the Soviet Union, England, and the United States, using both mechanical and electronic means, and relying on financing from either corporate or government sources. Both the material bases of the medium and the way these experiments were financed reflected the industrial and governmental structures that shaped broadcasting in each country.¹

      Nearly one hundred years later, at the beginning of...

    • Posthuman Law Information Policy and the Machinic World
      (pp. 136-156)

      It is an unspoken assumption that the law is made by humans for humans. That assumption no longer holds: The information, communication, and culture that are the subject of information law and policy increasingly flow between machines, or between machines and humans. Machinic rather than social values play ever-more-important roles in the decision-making calculus. Information policy making for human society is being supplemented, supplanted, and superceded by machinic decision making. With the implantation of technologies in the human body—it is now possible to connect computer chips directly to the neural cells of the brain—the legal distinction between the...

  6. II Circulation: Cultures, Strategies, Appropriations

    • Piracy, Infrastructure, and the Rise of a Nigerian Video Industry
      (pp. 159-170)

      My discussion of piracy will be based on the pirate culture that exists in Nigeria. By pirate culture I do not mean “the culture of media pirates” in the anthropological sense of studying a subgroup. Piracy is better seen as part of a wider infrastructure of reproduction that creates the material channels through which media flow. In northern Nigeria, along with many other developing nations, piracy is perhaps the dominant infrastructural means whereby media are distributed and consumed. There is an aesthetic to this, as pirate reproduction is the material screen that filters audiences’ engagement with media and the new...

    • Unsuitable Coverage The Media, the Veil, and Regimes of Representation
      (pp. 171-185)

      Almost every day I get stuck in the traffic occasioned by a crowd of heavily veiled women bringing their kerchiefed daughters to school. In the center of Leicester, a multicultural city that is set to become Britain’s first majority nonwhite city, these families are patronizing an Islamic school and their veiling is done voluntarily through the mediations of familial patriarchy.

      More than twenty-five years ago I was required to live under the veil, during the Islamization of the popular resistance movement in Iran in 1977 and then under the enforcedhijabof the Islamic Republic, the patriarchy of a theocratic...

    • Muscle, Market Value, Telegenesis, Cyberpresence The New Asian Movie Star in the Global Economy of Masculine Images
      (pp. 186-199)

      Though the category called “Asian cinema” may well be a product of the Western imagination’s penchant for “othering,” it also has the power to disrupt the perception of Hollywood’s global supremacy. As Indian filmmaker Shekhar Kapur has recently and provocatively argued, “[T]here is in fact,” from a philosophical standpoint, “a commonality in Asia.” Based on his predictions regarding combined Asian demographics, the increase of Asian film financing, the growth of Asian movie studios, and the rise of Asian news media outlets, he anticipates that Western domination of the cinema will soon be reaching its final days. He cites Bollywood as...

    • The African Diaspora Speaks in Digital Tongues
      (pp. 200-218)

      African diasporic consciousness originated below the decks of European ships during the infamous middle passage of the transatlantic slave trade. Severed from the familiar terrain of their homelands and dispatched to the overcrowded bowels of slave vessels, the abducted Africans forged out of necessity a virtual community of intercultural kinship structures and new languages with which to express them. During the first half of the twentieth century, African scholar-activists W.E B. Du Bois and C.L.R. James argued that these historical events made Africans in the New World among the first people to experience modernity. In 1969 James asserted:

      The vast...

    • Some Versions of Difference Discourses of Hybridity in Transnational Musics
      (pp. 219-244)

      Few terms are bandied about more in discussions of contemporary musics than “hybridity,” a term believed to capture the kinds of mixtures of musics prevalent in this era of globalization or transnationalism. But the term has so many uses in and out of considerations of music that it has come to represent a variety of musics and other cultural forms, discourses, political strategies, and identity conceptions. These usages are frequently intertwined in complex ways that can complicate investigation into a particular facet of the term, and into the musics and peoples it is supposed to characterize.

      The popularity of the...

      (pp. 245-246)
    (pp. 247-250)
  8. INDEX
    (pp. 251-262)