Transnationalism in the Mainstream: Re-thinking Media Studies at a Global Scale

Associate Professor Adrian Athique | Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities

  • Friday 20 May
  • Room 601, Michie Building (#9)
  • 1pm - 2pm

For scholars engaged in the study of media audiences, the analytical turn towards transnational modes of media analysis has required a broad reassessment of the nature of media reception. In recent years, the 'transnational shift' has been marked by two critical imperatives: First of all, by a belated recognition that transnationalism is a dynamic of mainstream culture, rather than a minority pursuit and, secondly, by the practical imperative to consider the social and cultural implications of a global interactive media apparatus. Given the predominance of cultural nationalism as an political principle, the shift to a transnational framework raises substantive issues for both the epistemology and methodology of audience research. One of the most fundamental challenges, and opportunities, arising from this paradigm shift is the imperative to account for the different scales at which transnational media exchanges impact upon the social imagination of ordinary people in everyday life.  As such, the transnational turn overall will really bear fruit when it becomes able to accommodate a full spectrum of positionings and mediations along which we can zoom in and out. Arguably, this is how contemporary audience encounters with the local, national and global (or indeed the familial, social or civilisational) are being constructed, contested and juxtaposed against each other. That is, in a world of global simultaneity, they are made comprehensible within a sliding scale of the familiar and the strange.

Adrian Athique is Associate Professor in Cultural Studies in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities. He is the author of a number of books, including: The Multiplex in India: A Cultural Economy of Urban Leisure (2010, with Douglas Hill), Indian Media: Global Approaches (2012), Digital Media and Society (2013) and, most recently, Transnational Audiences: Media Reception on a Global Scale (2016), from which this talk is derived. 

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Room 601, level 6, Michie Building (#9)