Author Archive

12/08/2011

International Reporting: A commodity, not a moral obligation

The Hafez article, “International Reporting: No Further than Columbus”, was spot on in discussing the media’s impact on international conflict and foreign policy. Although this author delegates journalists the important role of “intermediaries in the process of globalization” and “the central pillar of the global public sphere”, the reality of who the media serves and how it influences audience members towards the opposite of a multicultural world, is quite distressing. According to Hafez, when all is said and done, “the mass media are not in the least oriented towards a world system, but in fact concentrate upon national markets, whose interests and stereotypes they largely reproduce”(25).

BINGO. This may not seem that novel to Americans who have traveled or lived abroad for an extended period of time and had the chance to consume news from foreign media sources. But for the majority of Americans who have not traveled outside of the U.S and have a limited lens to understand the complex cultures, societies and histories that weave that fabric of these nations, mass media in the U.S. does nothing but reaffirm all of the stereotypes and nationalistic notions that perpetuate our ethnocentric system. For example, I’ll always remember an American friend of mine who did little traveling outside the U.S and was very patriotic. She was convinced that she knew well the issues of the Middle East, particularly with regard to the treatment of Muslim women. Her sources? Fox News (international reporting, of course) and a personal experience with a conservative Muslim couple living in the U.S.

We watched a scene from the Sex and the City movie that was produced in very poor taste. It was shot in Morocco and then de-contextualized when producers sold the scenes off as Abu Dhabi, portraying this Hollywood creation of a nation as an ultra conservative country, where women are repressed and forced to where traditional garments under the rule of men. Despite this decontextualization, regional homogenization and obvious lack of cultural understanding of the movie producers, my friend was eating the movie up. When Samantha dropped a condom in front of a group of veiled Muslim women and pridefully displayed her inhibition-less sexuality, my friend laughed and cheered for the liberal, “American woman”. I myself, am a liberal woman, to say the least. But even so, I cringed at the cultural insensitivity of the movie.

The difference between my friend and I? I have lived and worked abroad for four years, both in Islamic and non-Islamic dominated nations. I have many friends who are Muslim and explain to me the factors that play into their choice to be of the Islamic faith. Moreover, having had spent time in the Middle East (3 months), I’ve been exposed to regional Arab cultures and have an idea of what is acceptable as a foreigner and behaviors that are just plain rude and disrespectful when traveling abroad. I’m not writing all of this to be arrogant and say I know everything about Islam, because I don’t–I’m just as ignorant as the rest. But I do have a cultural and social lens from which I can view these other nations, understanding the intricacies of their diverse cultures without buying into the stereotypes that are exhibited by the media.

I saw that the Sex and the City movie did relatively well, considering it’s poor taste. So I decided to research why on earth the movie was shot in Morocco and not Abu Dhabi itself? The bottom line? Shooting the movie in Morocco and selling it off for Abu Dhabi was less expensive (ie more lucrative) for movie producers. In the end, this serves Hafez’s point well that contextualizing international broadcasting is “insufficiently profitable”. It takes a whole lot of time, money and effort to truly contextualize and get to know the culture, language and society of a nation without incorporating ones’ own interpretations and biases into the framework broadcasted to viewers. Accordingly, it doesn’t seem morally right that Hollywood movie producers can make a profit by spreading their own skewed ethnocentric views and stereotypes of other nations. Who should regulate such behavior?

11/16/2011

More holistic approach to media influence

     Yesterday’s presentation on transnational media (like Univision and the telenovela) and gaming (like Fandom) as alternative “re-imagined” communities got me thinking. I found myself wincing while the spokeswoman described the virtual game, “Eva” and even wondered, what type of people live their real lives vicariously through these games? But then came the trailer viewing of the telenovela. It could be because I speak Spanish, or merely because the drama has a “universalist” appeal, as described by Emily. Either way, I can see how these types of programs have an “escapist” quality that Diaspora and non-Diaspora populations alike can enjoy.

     However, what determines which media affects us and how? Powers and Nawawy’s article did a fantastic job unpacking some of the multiple factors that determine what and to which degree the media impacts how we perceive the world and global issues. In their analysis of Al Jazeera and other global news networks like BBC and CNNI, the theorists found strong evidence that, “viewers choose global news media based on their pre-existing ideological and political orientations, and that their viewing of particular news media is likely to reinforce their opinions [rather than inform them]”(280). Moreover, media system dependency theory is introduced as another factor determining media influence based on the scarcity or exclusivity of an individual’s information resources (279).

      Besides underlining the natural biases that occur when choosing media sources and how environmental factors contribute to the quantity of (or lack thereof) media choices, Powers and Nawawy also account for the cognitive differences in how information is processed once media is consumed. For example, viewers are better able to process information that is contradicting to their existing beliefs if they have lower levels of dogmatism, or cognitive organization of beliefs and disbeliefs about reality (275). Ultimately, it is a holistic combination of environmental factors, natural biases and cognitive constitution that determine what types of media we consume and how much influence it will have on our perception of reality.

      In the case of the “reimagined communities” that my class-mates presented about yesterday, do these factors prove to be true, as well? What are some of the psychological factors that make an individual more likely to lose themselves in virtual games, living a more committed existence in a game than in reality? If I had the time, I’d like to research the gaming community and begin looking at some of these psychological factors that render individuals more or less likely to live an existence through games or reality.

11/10/2011

Language vs. The Nation-State (yet again)

Aday and Livingston’s piece on “Taking the State out of the State” and Meng’s work, “From Steamed Bun to Grass Mud Horse” were excellent compliments to one another’s arguments. Aday and Livingston contend that the media is a distribution system for two entities: the government and Transnational Advocacy Networks. Embedded in their argument is the idea that media does not just distribute information, but it is a source for knowledge production, as well.

Meng’s research analysis of online spoofs on the heavily regulated, Chinese internet serves as an example as to how knowledge can be produced on the internet. The Grass Mud Horse is an example of an, “innovative strategy for articulating social critique and fostering societal dialogue in a heavily controlled speech environment”. When China launched a “clean up” campaign to limit “vulgar” content on the web (as defined by the government), a mystical, foul-named creature came to be the symbol of Chinese netizens’ discontent with such censorship. Through the creature’s ascribed meaning, crude Chinese translation and subsequently, the birth of a new language in Chinese characters to foster dialogue among internet users that share common concern of government censorship, the internet serves as a venue for knowledge production and an, “alternative imagined community that defies the official order”.

Though I am intuitively aware of the notion that the internet can create “imagined communities” and even new languages (as seen in the case of the Grass Mud Horse), I was still impressed by the power behind the idea that civil society can circumvent nation-state authority using an alternative language. Going back to our readings on Inclusion and Exclusion, the Chinese netizens, in the face of a repressive regime, were able to use the internet as a power-gaining tool. They utilized it as a space for gathering and a tool for developing an alternative language through the sharing of ascribed meaning to symbols and characters. As a result, once repressed Chinese internet users, were at that point able to attain power through their alternative language community, excluding those who remained unable to translate it’s symbols and enter into the dialogue around taboo topics of heated public debate.

This article got me thinking about other scenarios, both past and future, in which “alternative language” was created and used to leverage power among oppressed groups. Can you think of other examples in history when oppressed groups circumvented nation-state authority through the use of alternative language communities?

11/03/2011

“Si entiendes el espanol, este articulo es para ti!”

“Tefhem il Arabieh?”…”Entiendes el espanol?”…”Verstehen Sie Deutch?”

Upon reading these three questions, did you feel included or excluded? In Paul Adam’s work about Inclusion and Exclusion in the context of global media, he discusses how language is more than just a means of communication. “Language lies at the heart of a nation’s education system, culture, and identity….[they] are associated with national identity [that] provides a sense of security, belongingness and common heritage”(Adams, 92). This statement embodies all that I have experienced living as a foreigner, having had to cultivate my own cultural and socio-political identity in Southern Spain (Andalusia).

When I first studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain, my Spanish skills were disastrous. So entertained was my host family by my ability to fabricate Spanish words during desperate attempts to communicate that they hung a list on the fridge, showcasing all the shameful vocabulary I had invented. And no. No one understood me during those painful first months of my experience as a foreigner in Andalusia. For example, instead of telling my host mother, “I’ll have a sandwich for my lunch”, I stated, “I’ll have a wine barrel and eat myself for lunch”.

Social, educational, political and cultural exclusion by means of language was evident everywhere—my University class notes remained largely blank pages, peppered with the occasional comprehended words scribbled in haste; given the Spaniards (in Andalusia, at least) had very little English and tight social circles, my ability to make friends in those first two months was limited to other English speaking foreigners. Politically, I longed to join in on the debates and exciting protests involving the US held almost daily outside of the city’s luminous cathedral, “La Giralda” and city hall; but alas, I lacked the ability to fully express my political views, both in the written and oral form. There were even some occasions when I ordered in a restaurant or grocery shopped in the open air markets and remained perplexed as to how I was just charged 20 euros on items that cost the Spaniard next to me 3 euros, at most. Culturally, I cannot even tell you how many rules of the Spanish “damas”, or “ladies”, I violated in that first month(apparently, a true lady never orders her own beer, sweats in public, goes out without heels, etc).

Without an ability to enter the Spanish community and feel socially, politically, culturally accepted, even by the education system, I experienced what one defines as “culture shock”. The adverse power of language couldn’t have been more obvious at that time as I struggled to build an identity for myself in a city where I knew no one and had no ties to the nation-state other than as a “visiting and outside” member of Spanish society. One could even go so far as to say that the Spanish system had a power advantage over me. Economically, it could reap the benefits of my inability to understand how to buy train and bus tickets correctly from the Spanish only web sites and vendors selling them at random prices on the streets. Politically, if I had a complaint about the system, or in my case, about a creepy man following me home at night, it was barely seen as legitimate, as I was not a legal citizen of the country. Culturally and socially, during the first month in Seville and until I learned the cultural norms of Andalusia, I’m pretty sure I was an embarrassment to the locals.

But little by little, as I gained Spanish fluency and a cultural identity inextricably linked to language acquisition, the power advantage of Spain and it’s people began to diminish. In it’s place,after 4 months, my University notebooks began to fill up. After 6 months, I was going to the marketplace, buying from different vendors who offered me a discount price on my produce because I could banter with them in Sevillano slang. When I returned to Malaga, Spain post-graduation from college and stayed there for the next 3.5 years of my life, I made plenty of Spanish friends, worked for the Spanish government and successfully participated in heated debates at the dinner table with my Spanish boyfriend. Visiting family and friends could see that I was no longer a foreigner living abroad, but rather, I had gained”inclusion” status in Spanish society by reaping the cultural, social, political and economic benefits afforded by the Spanish language.

10/28/2011

The US: Land of the Free? (as defined by the small print)

Grewal’s “network power”, or, the notion that, “people unite in a way that makes them capable of mutual recognition and exchange, whether it goods or ideas” to understand the dynamics underlining globalization very much resonates with my comprehension of globalization and the digital divide. In his work, “Network Power: Social Dynamics of Globalization”, Grewal explains how the social coordination among cooperative regimes at transnational levels and the use of standards developed and coordinated by these transnational players determine who has the primary power to dictate the rules of the globalization game.

Allegedly, entering the game is a “free for all”—anyone can gain network power in becoming the privilege point of access to forms of cooperation. However, as discussed in class while trying to create a meme, those super powers or super-empowered individuals who have certain network power attributes hold a large advantage in their ability to benefit from the networks that constitute our global world. As a class, we identified the following attributes as essential to defining network power: central locality in a network, effective delivery method, content relevance and often most importantly, credibility. These are the attributes that give certain nations a leg up over developing, not so well-networked nations that attempt to play in the globalization game.

After reading this article, I couldn’t help but feel hopeless about the great disjuncture (as Appadurai called it) of globalization effects. Grewal’s concluding modification of globalization as, “the systematic power leading to unfree choices” finally pushed me over the edge. The US, through it’s network power defined by it’s credibility, central locality, and complex and wide-spread distribution system, undoubtedly, has a monopoly on programing the rules of the globalization game.

How will developing nations ever have a fair chance at winning a game or two of globalization? Is Grewal’s suggestion for balancing network power even feasible? For the US to consider setting customized boundary properties for standards so that less affluent nations can reap the benefits of globalization, too, would mean that US policy would have to consider other players of the game in setting standards. Grewal’s idea to balance power would demand a US government that sits down with foreign country leaders and takes the time to know the socio-economic situation and positioning of the country; a US government that is ready to prescribe a standard that meets the needs of every individual player in the globalization game.

I, for one, think this is a completely unrealistic expectation of the US government. As long as we continue to be the primary beneficiaries of the current economic order, unfortunately, there is no expectation that the US will become “self-actualized” and begin looking beyond it’s own power. For this reason, it is no surprise to me that these same intricate networks that have emerged as power reinforcement for the US, are also networks that create wide-spread anger and resentment among external, disadvantaged players in globalization.

For example, we see this domestically in the case of many groups represented at the Occupy Wall Street protests. Former students that once consented to the dominant choice eliminating structure of taking out a large loan to cover high graduate school costs at the promise of high paying jobs that would pay off loans after graduation, are now finding that they have entered a vicious economic dependency cycle. These American students owe private banks and the US government thousands of dollars in loans and yet, there are not enough jobs available to give these young professionals the opportunity to be debt free. This is just one example of how the US lacks the “freedom to choose freely”, or as defined by Grewal, the “freedom of choice over viable alternatives”.

10/20/2011

Click here to be grabbed by your lapels……

Dear media consumer,

The fact that you clicked on this blog link and began to consume the content of this blog reinforces Kraidy’s point that sex sells. But do not have shame; for you were incapable of resisting such a provocative title, hinting scandal and lust, naturally human temptations. You are not alone, dear media consumer. You and your vacuous counterparts cannot help but be lured in by us, the omnipotent Global Media System.

Signed,

“The Holy Trinity” (As named by McChesney: Time Warner, Disney and News Corp)

Dear foreign media consumers,

Any chance you felt belittled or patronized upon reading Kraidy’s content analysis of the Washington Post?

According to this analysis, the Washington Post’s hypersexualization and latent paternalism of the United States as the Super-power of the world causes foreign audiences, like yourself,  to succumb to the seduction of US popular culture (442). Articles in the Post are saturated by diction rich in sexual connotation that make us, the Global Media System, irresistible as providers of cultural products. You can’t help but reach for us as we thrust words at you like, “penetrate”, “pleasure zone”, and “desire”. Never mind all those courses you took in High School and at University about media discernment and the mitigation of media effects. For you, foreign audience, are weak when it comes to that three letter word, S-E-X, that apparently is no where else to be found in the local media content near you.

Moreover, we assume that you are more than fluent in the literal and figurative English language to understand statements that make you quiver, like “fraught with turbulence” and “lure of the forbidden fruit”. And we, of course, trust that any dubbing or direct translating of our content to you, dear foreign audience, will be an exact translation of all the powerfully erotic content we dangle in front of your media hungry eyes.

Ostensibly, you are able to act as agents in creating a product in high demand, that only we, the all mighty Global Media System, have the distribution power to satiate;  but ultimately, you have no control or ability as to manage how you receive our notions of US popular culture, dripping with seductive and hidden messages pertaining to power hierarchies and social relationships in this country. For you, foreign audience, represent the aspiring Non-West, an unnamed region that only goes by such a title as you strive to become all that we represent politically and economically.

Stop the resistance to our predictable “hollywood endings”. Stop the questioning of why minority actors are not cast in US lead roles. Kneel down in submission as we give you what you truly want: transnational corporate multiculturalism.  We will show you who you really are.

Trust us, cooperate and we will show you the way,

GMS

10/06/2011

Beauty and the Boner?! How Disney Emotionally Messed With My Childhood

Just when I thought I had finally arrived at a stage of in life when I could mitigate media’s strong effects on my psyche, Dr. Hayden pulled all stops with a favorite childhood indulgence: Disney Movies. Watching the classic Disney movie montage in class reminded me of just how powerful the media is in “producing” us, as Siochru argues.

From the moment the magical, sparkling castle with the blue backdrop and the familiar music began to play, branding the video a Disney production, a gleeful smile spread across my face. I was immediately taken back to the days of my youth, repeatedly watching classic favorites like,  “The Little Mermaid”, “Beauty and the Beast” and the “Aladdin” with my three sisters and friends, for hours on end. We viewed those movies so frequently in my household, that my sisters and I had memorized almost all the lyrics to the movie soundtracks and could successfully do voice overs during a muted film.  In fact, often times we would play the movie and simultaneously act out scenes from it, dressing up as the characters and breaking out into musical as we followed along.
If you aren’t convinced yet or scared of the fact that “media produces us”, let me throw in another terrifying dynamic to this Disney brainwash; the effects of these movies didn’t stop at my childhood. During my adolescence, I became very distraught when I learned about the Disney scandals of the 90’s that suggested Disney had a darker side. Critics and film analysis battered Disney with a host of accusations, claiming that original VHS special effects exhibited provocative, hidden sexual messages that one could see if they watched certain scenes in slow motion.

I became obsessed with disproving mass media’s accusation of my favorite childhood buddy. As a burgeoning teen, I busted out the dusty VHS Disney films thought forever abandoned in a basement cupboard and horrified, I rewound the scenes again and again, shuddering as I confirmed that the priest performing the marriage of the Prince and Ursula did, in fact, get an erection, in the middle of the ceremony. In The Rescuers, a photo realistic image of a topless woman can be seen in the window of one of the buildings as the characters pass by. Maybe I’m being dramatic when I say a substantial piece of my childhood was shattered as Disney subsequently issued recalls of several of it’s films in the late 90’s.

Despite the trauma, let it be known that I can still reproduce certain Disney scenes and perfectly regurgitate almost all of the most popular soundtrack favorites: Aladdin’s, “A Whole New World”, we performed in a school concert for a Middle School class; and The Little Mermaid’s, “Under the Sea”, I will forever recall dancing and singing to on water skis during the summer with my adult cousin, the tune blasting from the boat radio pulling us across a Michigan lake. My point is not to make a freak show of myself. But rather, to emphasize Siochru’s argument that media influences how people interact with one another (for example, the performances of my sisters) and more importantly, media sets a moral code for our culture. Whether or not Disney is guilty of breaking that moral code is beside the point; the fact that I felt deceived and horrified as a teenager when Disney was accused of immoral behavior is evidence in itself that the media plays a significant role in defining our culture’s ethics.

09/29/2011

Gardening and the Global Economy

Sparks pointed out that over a quarter of the world’s population lives without electricity today. Thus, at least 1.25 billion people in the world are without internet. How can we account for these large disparities in the global economy?
Of all the theorists of globalization, Arjun Appadurai rocks my world. In his work explaining, “Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy”, he takes a more holistic approach in accounting for the wide fault lines that exist between nations and their experience of globalization’s effects.

This disjuncture is deeper understood in viewing the relationship between Appadurai’s, “five dimensions of global cultural flow: ethnoscapes, mediascapes, technoscapes, finanscapes, and ideoscapes. It is no surprise that he uses the suffix ‘scape’ to point to the fluid and ever-evolving qualities of these complex and diverse landscapes. The constitutional make up of these scapes and the way in which they function in relation to one another, determines the power and effect of globalization in a given nation.
I am a big fan of gardening. Reading Appadurai’s theory and all his scape talk made my mind drift to the field. What determines what can grow, where and how much of it? THE SOIL. If we understand each nation’s scape as a different type of soil–with diverse nutrient content, moisture content, surrounding land characteristics, etc– and consequently, it’s strengths and weaknesses for growing certain types of crops, we can better understand the disjunctive and differences in the global culture economy.
So, what is the “nutrient content” and “moisture make-up” of a country that determines what will grow and what will wither? Both local factors and global systems are taken into account in Appadurai’s scapes description as, “deeply perspectival constructs, inflected very much by the historical, linguistic and political situatedness of different sorts of actors: nation-states, multinationals, Diaspora communities, sub-national groupings and movements [religious, political and economic] and even face-to face groups, such as villages, neighborhoods and families.”
All of these factors need to be assessed as a horticulturist would measure his/her soil: scientifically, yet with a dirty hand in his/her specimen. That’s to say, in order to tackle these disparities, say, for example, bringing electricity (and the internet) to all corners of the earth, it takes a body that is approaching the nations’ scapes both scientifically and as a subjective participant; one who uses the scientific method to control for variables, yet is immersed in the culture to know it’s beliefs, values and ideas that are the life-force to the nation’s citizens.  Although this form of analysis demands more work, effort and time to understand each nation’s complex DNA, it seems the only way to promote growth from the root up.

Check out, ASHOKA: http://www.ashoka.org/about.
It is a social entrepreneurship organization doing just the work of a horticulturist described above: overcoming differences in global economy through proper diagnosis, innovation technology and sustained development of social changes by working directly with the individuals, groups and infrastructures that constitute the nation.

09/23/2011

Media: a nation’s most powerful weapon in the political battlefield?

Uncharacteristically, I’ve procrastinated my blog entry for this week on a topic that happens to be one of my favorite: nationalism and national identity. It isn’t just a busy academic and professional schedule that left me surfing around the IC blog page; but rather, nationalism and cultural identity are topics that can only be addressed by digging up the existential bones that constitute these matters. In this week’s readings, the author whose argument best reflects my own viewpoints on nationalism and national identity is Karim’s article, “Through the Lens of Diaspora”.

Karim provides a lens through which one can view the nation and find answers to the pressing existential question of national identity. How does a nation come to be? According to Karim, “Every nation is imaginary, willed into existence by belief and action and [maintained through a mobilization of the masses to believe in the authenticity of a nation’s symbols through educational and mass communication systems]”(394). Wow. Am I just a philosophical nerd or is anyone else impressed by this powerful idea? Could it be true that our concept of countries’ borders and citizenship are merely a product of marketing on the world stage?
In viewing current affairs through this lens, one cannot help but think of the greatest, present day battle for national identity and petition for legitimacy world-wide: the Israeli-Palestine conflict. Both nations’ struggle for state-hood prove Karim’s argument of the “imagined community” to be extremely potent and reaffirm the role that mass media plays in marketing the respective countries’ shared values, ideas, practices and norms to the rest of the world. Palestinians and Israelis alike, both believe in their nation and their cause with equal force. The nations’ citizens and Diaspora communities are equally sold on the authenticity of their state. Using Karim’s perspective, one can understand why the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been at a bloody stalemate after more than a decade, without comprehending the multiple layers of complexities that muddle and make up the region’s history.

So here’s the gnawing question: If both nations WILL their nation into existence with equal intensity, what is it that will determine whose petition for state-hood is recognized as globally legitimate?

If you ask Karim and Waisboard, I think they’d suggest that how these nations’ have utilized and continue to harness their educational and mass communication mediums determine not only their global legitimacy, but national authenticity as well. Personally, I am neutral to both the Palestinian and Israeli views and only wish to find a solution that will put this matter to rest peacefully and humanly. However, one cannot help but note  that Israel has had the upper-hand on the world stage, dictating the terms of negotiation and receiving constant American  and European support for their cause since the late 40’s, early 50’s. How?

Waisboard might argue that Israel’s communication network has been stronger both historically and presently, in promoting and reinforcing nationalism among it’s citizens. According to him, nations are “culturally coordinated communities” that[ are created, maintained and transformed by the media]. (377) Under this notion, Israel is extremely powerful on a national level due to it’s ability to harness media to institute historical, linguistic, cultural and religious symbols that are then broadcast to both the national and international audience, including diaspora communities living abroad. As a result of the nation’s expansive reach, using it’s communication network to create and reinforce nationalism within it’s own borders, while effectively rallying for solidarity among it’s Diaspora populations, Israel has enjoyed an advantageous position in the battle for legitimacy.

To me, it is clear: all is fair in love and war; and quality communication networks are a nation’s most advantageous weapon in both of those realms.

09/13/2011

Technical Networks: Stimulating or Inhibiting Development?

In both, The Information Revolution and World Politics, and,  The Emergence of Technical Networks, a similar, yet contradictory historical perspective is offered with regards to the birth of the first nationalized telecommunication mediums and their national and global impact. Mattelart suggests that the technical invention like that of the telegraph contributed to a more unified nation, such as in the case of France. According to him, the pre-electric telegraph that emerged from the Revolution of 1789, acted as a cohesive force in the country, as through this medium, “barriers between provinces were abolished; administrative divisions were stabilized; the tax system and legal code were unified; and French was imposed as the language of the nation-state”.

     We also view this unified model of technical networks described in Hanson’s work, Information Revolution and World Politics. She describes how the first mass medium, the printing press, helped not only politically consolidate and centralize power among European nations, but it contributed to the growth of nationalism among their citizens, as well. This was due to the “logic of print capitalism”, as Hanson calls it: “consolidating hundreds of vernacular languages that were used in Medieval Europe into a few standardized uniform languages.”(15).
     Upon analysis of both the pre-electric telegraph and the print press, we find that these communication mediums are viewed as a device that stimulates the development and cohesion of a nation. The medium establishes a centralized power that acts as the dominant controller of information and creates standardized systems that are easy to govern. Through this centralized, standardized medium, government is able to effectively communicate its ideas, values and opinions to a community that lacks the same feedback strength and infrastructure to respond with the same powerful means. At the same time, the information controllers use their technical networks to build  a psychological connection among community members through its use of a consolidated, national language. In this model, the power of the State is preserved by its centrality, expansive reach to community and it’s ability to promote group identity.
     However, in Thussu’s Historical Context of International Communication, the printing press of the 16th century is viewed as a communication medium that decentralized and segregated a community, thus, inhibiting the development and creating fault lines among certain, once authoritative populations. According to Thussu’s analysis, when in the first time in history, the Christian Holy Scriptures were translated in several vernacular languages, rather than in merely the original Latin version, the medium, “undermined the authority of priests, scribes and political and cultural elites [and consequentially, the unified Latin culture of Europe was finally dissolved].” As these new languages became more important communication tools for European colonial powers in their efforts  to maintain unity and political power, another group’s political power was threatened and eventually delegitimized: the Catholic, religious heirarchy.
      Currently, we are witnessing first hand,  the decentralizing, delegitimizing effects of a technical network that influences and shapes my generation around the globe and across socio-economic borders: the internet. This type of “informational capitalism”, according to Spanish theorist, Manuel Castells in his work, The Information Age,” bypasses the power of the state and creates regional and supranational units of power.” A potent example that brings life to the theory of the technical network as a de-nationalizing force can be found in the so-called, “Arab Spring”spreading throughout the Middle East. With social media technology as tools for self-expression, ideological transference and community building, the Egyptian people were able to organize around a common cause and fight to remove Ex-President Mubarak from office.
     With ideologies of Westerns’ notion of democracy at their fingertips, global feedback and positive reinforcement arriving by electronic mail, facebook and twitter accounts, Egyptians were able to overcome their own fears and reservations in the face of an oppressive force. This “global village”concept, created by the internet, instead, caused the Egyptians to view themselves as leaders of an important liberation movement in the Arab World. In this instance, the internet, delegitimized one governing power and through information and ideological sharing (no matter how valid or invalid), this technical network stimulated on the ground cohesion that shifted the power into the hands of the nation’s people.
      Upon analysing this movement in its context of the Information Age in which we are living, I am left with a haunting question regarding the fate of the Egyptian people and their counterparts in the coming years. Will Egyptians be able to maintain power with the romanticized notion of democracy they’ve borrowed from the West, without a centralized body to pump nutrient rich values through the veins the new nation? As suggested by Adam’s, Communication Flows and Flowmations, without a communication infrastructure in an under-developed nation such as Egypt, not only does poverty inhibit the ability to establish an infrastructure, but the lack of access becomes, in turn, an obstacle to economic development”. (67) Who will establish this infrastructure for the people? And who will define and control the communicating body that will be Egypt’s life line?