Posts tagged ‘Media’


Still Conflicted about Nationalism/Patriotism

Our discussion this week about what nationalism is was very interesting!   It made me think about where patriotism ends and nationalism begins…or maybe patriotism is just a symptom/expression of nationalism?  The discussion made me also think about how nationalistic/patriotic I am (it’s complicated…).  Finally, this week’s readings and discussion made me realize that nationalism is a political, social, and cultural force has a symbiotic relation with media and communications.

To a lay person (which I would have considered myself before I too this class) I think nationalism and communication are probably interchangeable terms.  From our discussion today, I gather that patriotism is a related sort of feeling without some of the negative connotations that nationalism might have.  I’m still a little bit unclear….hopefully I am not the only one.   Even Waisbord says that “nationalism means different things to different people.  One nation’s intolerant chauvinism is the flip-side of another nation’s patriotic sense of difference and community.”

In terms of how nationalistic/patriotic I feel…it depends on the circumstances.  Like Michelle Obama, I was really proud of American after how well Barack Obama did throughout the 2008 election especially when it was clear that he would be the end up winning the presidency.  I wouldn’t have phrased my feelings the way Michelle did (poor thing got in so much trouble!) since I can thinks of moments where I’ve been proud of America before I ever heard of a Barack Obama.  Nevertheless, I identify with her general sentiment of feeling a kind of pride that was new.  It is extraordinary that the U.S. is the first (maybe?) Western countries that has selected someone a minority to be the chief executive.  As cheesy as it sounds, it’s a wonderful reminder that the U.S. is a upwardly mobile society whre some luck, a good education, and a whole bunch of other stuff you can change your circumstance.

Finally, this week was a great lesson about how integral a role the  media plays in how nationalism is perceived.  I think the relationship between media and nationalism is manifested in the concepts of “imagined communities” and the “public sphere.”  Once again, these are things I’ve thought about before this class but our discussion and the readings made things more clear.


The Decline of the Nation State? What’s Next?

British International Development Minister visits Liberia

Human constructs may be manufactured but can carry very real power and influence. The evolution of the nation state gradually redefines borders and areas of governance. From philosopher and writer Ernest Renan’s description of this “daily plebiscite” in 1882 to what we recognize as nation states today, these constructs require a certain importance and buy-in by the greater people or it well ceases to exist.

In class, we raised several challenging questions: Does a nation state cease to exist simply when those enforcing its existence cease to recognize it any longer? As the rise of globalization presents challenges at the international level, has the nation state lost the support and confidence of the people?

Castells attributed media in part for de-linking people and the nation state in the current crisis of legitimacy that exists. As media originally communicated the design and implementation of the nation state, it also aided the vast global expansion in communication between nations. As our society becomes more global in nature, the problems become more complex.

With greater communication and interconnectedness, we also face issues that often involve several nation states, or that one nation cannot control. For example, the economic turmoil that currently affects the U.S. is equally present in Europe and many other parts of the world. After September 11, the U.S. buckled down on its security measures and implemented the Patriot Act in an effort to control any attempted acts of terror. And the demand for cyber-related professionals continues to grow as cyber security threatens network availability and sensitive data. None of these issues exist in a vacuum. None of them affect only the U.S.

So if the nation state can’t possibly address many of our national security issues alone, what kind of a construct can? And further, for the growing number of citizens that don’t think the nation state represents them anymore, does this mean a new, more representative construct is needed?

Academically or idealistically, we might entertain an argument for global governance or even global citizenship. But the reality of tribalism, religious conflict, and other traditions that naturally separate out different tribal groups pose a real difficulty in terms of governance and power struggle. Perhaps a greater consideration is how we can come to live in a society that benefits from greater cooperation and harmony without reliance on the nation state governing body, but the implications may be unrealistic at this point in time.


Media Defining and Reflecting Culture

Waisbord’s “Media and the Reinvention of the Nation” drew the interesting parallel of media as a set of institutions involved in “the creation, maintenance, and transformation of cultural membership.” Whether nations were formed form centralized political power or a series of decentralized factors at certain historical junctures, media has had a distinct role to play in both reflecting and defining nationalism through culture.

I wanted to share some of my favorite American culture-shaping media, hoping it will instill a bit of nostalgia as much as inform those who were not a part of my generation.

Media Marking/Informing my Child and Teen Year Culture, Semblance of Nationalism:

  1. Nintendo
  2. Barbie
  3. Disney
  4. Walter Kronkite? Andy Rooney?
  5. Presidencies: George Bush Sr, Bill Clinton
  6. MTV: TRL, ABC (TGI Fridays!)
  7. Quality Films: Life is Beautiful; Shawshank Redemption; 10 Things I Hate About You
  8. Terrible, but cultural: Dude, Where’s my Car? Clerks
  9. Country, Pop, Rap Music
  10. Church of God
  11. Seinfeld, Boy Meets World
  12. Guess

Media Marking/Informing my Adult Years:

  1. Angry Birds, Wii
  2. Canon Rebel T2i
  3. Pixar, Foxlight Pictures
  4. Internet News: Daily Show, Colbert Report, Drudge, CNN, NYT, Etc
  5. Presidents: George W Bush, Barack Obama
  6. Bravo, Fox, NBC: SNL
  7. Quality Films: King’s Speech, Lord of the Rings, Anchorman
  8. Terrible, but Cultural: Superbad
  9. Pop, Indie, Country Music
  10. Emerging Church
  11. Glee, Law & Order SVU, Community
  12. Anthropologie