In "Les périphéries qui parlent: minority radio and post/colonial discourses of identity from the Algerian Revolution to the Beur movement," I examine the role of minority broadcasting in postcolonial identity formation via two case studies: radio broadcasting from the National Liberation Front (FLN) during its war for Algerian independence from France, and radio broadcasting from Radio Beur, a station run by French of North African heritage in 1980s France. That comparison offers two specific examples of moments when the mediascapes of these nations (at times "nation") operated as one interconnected system dominated by French hegemony. In 1950s Algeria and in 1980s France, the limitations of the French nationalist broadcasting system led to innovation and appeal to affiliations beyond France's borders in order to fill an ignored need for self-representation. This thesis is an attempt to map discourses of ethnic identity, power, and media (specifically radio) in marginalized social spaces through a strand of cultural studies concerned with interrogating Western discourses of industrialized modernity.
The central multi-part research question for this study is: What are the major similarities and differences in the early development periods of FLN and Beur broadcasting, what seems to account for them, and what do those experiences demonstrate about the role of minority radio in resisting mainstream media representations and discourses of identity? In order to examine these discourses I conduct close readings of texts as historical cultural artifacts and attempt to both situate them in their historical and social contexts, and deconstruct them according to postcolonial critiques. My primary sources are drawn from transcripts, videos and memoirs about FLN and Beur broadcasting, as well as media accounts and documentaries about the social movements in which both were involved, published journals and accounts from the pioneers and leaders of each, the wealth of Algerian and Beur literature and film, and information from broadcast monitoring services such as the Foreign Broadcasting Information Service and BBC Monitoring Service.
In looking at the early development periods of FLN and Beur broadcasting several similarities stand out, namely that both precipitated a shift in cultural geography and centers of power, both attempted to rectify the historical record as they saw it and connect audiences with a common heritage, and both aimed to become a representative and symbolic voice for a diverse community. However, obvious differences existed between the two types of broadcasting, such as the scope of the projects, the level of resistance experienced, and the future trajectories of each. These similarities and differences indicate that the ability of minority radio to resist mainstream media representations and discourses of identity lies in its ability to transcend space and appeal to historical affinities of dispersed and marginalized populations.
University of Minnesota M.A. dissertation. june 2010. Major: Mass Communication. Advisor: Donald R. Browne. ! computer file (PDF); ix, 110 pages, appendices P. 106-110. (map)
Les périphéries qui parlent: minority radio & post/colonial identity discourses from the Algerian Revolution to the Beur Movement..
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