Mass media, lifestyle and young adults’ (un)reflexive negotiation of social and individual identities in Windhoek

Fox, Thomas Arthur (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2012-03-12)

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The rapidly growing presence of old and new media in postcolonial Namibia, particularly from the decade after the turn of the Millennium, has significance for cultural and identity transformations in the country. Formerly entrenched social identities, shaped by restrictive colonialism and indigenous traditions, appear to be under pressure as shifts become apparent in the face of globalisation. This thesis examines the characteristics of change from the perspective of young adults’ mediated experiences in the city of Windhoek. The research constitutes a cultural study that addresses the current knowledge gap regarding how growing local and global media presences are increasingly situated in youth identity and cultural lifestyle spaces. Degrees of reflexive response to mediated information and entertainment are examined in an attempt to understand awareness of and reaction to local and global power narratives situated in actors’ relationships with media. It was found that participants responded positively to the novelty and opportunities that global media offered for identity and lifestyle negotiations, while also revealing ontological anxieties about erosion of ‘traditional’ culture, and concern about absence of recognition and representation of the ‘local’ in global media productions. This led to the research conceptually establishing three participant orientations to media: cultural expropriationist, cultural traditionalist and cultural representationalist. The study concluded that while media seemed to be instrumental in identity and cultural change, social tension over matters of culture appeared to be emerging.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die snelgroeiende teeenwoordigheid van ou en nuwe media in postkoloniale Namibië, veral sedert die dekade ná die millenniumwending, is beduidend vir kulturele en identiteitsverskuiwings in dié land. Voorheen verskanste sosiale identiteite, gevorm deur die beperkinge van kolonialisme en inheemse tradisies, skyn onder druk te wees soos verskuiwings duidelik begin te word in die lig van globalisering. Hierdie proefskrif ondersoek die eienskappe van hierdie veranderinge vanuit die perspektief van jong volwassenes se gemedieerde ondervindinge in die stad Windhoek. Hierdie navorsing behels ’n kulturele studie wat bydra tot die begrip van plaaslike en globale media-teenwoordigheid as toenemend gesitueer op die terrein van jeugidentiteit en kulturele lewenstyle. Daar word ondersoek ingestel na verskillende grade van refleksiewe reaksies op gemedieerde inligting en vermaak, in ’n poging om te verstaan hoe bewustheid van en reaksie op plaaslike en globale magsnarratiewe gesitueer is in rolspelers se verhoudings met media. Daar is bevind dat respondente positief gereageer het op die nuwighede en geleenthede wat globale media bied vir identiteits- en leefstylonderhandelinge, terwyl ontologiese onsekerhede oor die ondermyning van ‘tradisionele’ kultuur, en kommer oor die afwesigheid van erkenning en representasie van die ‘plaaslike’ in globale mediaproduksies, ook aan die lig gekom het. Hierdie bevinding het gelei daartoe dat die navorsing drie oriëntasies onder deelnemers vasgestel het: kultureel-onteienend, kultureel-tradisioneel, en kultureel-verteenwoordigend. Die studie het tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat, terwyl die media instrumenteel in identiteits- en kultuurverandering blyk te wees, dit tegelykertyd sosiale spanning oor kulturele aangeleenthede aanwakker.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/20087
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