Reframing the Nation
Workaround: In current version of Panels 3.8, it seems this body field needs to be populated in order for title above to appear. This note is hidden by custom CSS style. Jack Latimer.
What do we study?
Our enquiries involve the study of the social practices, institutional processes, and ‘critical events’ that frame and underpin national and transnational dynamics in relation to migration, the organisation of the media and cultural industries, conceptions of identity, belonging and citizenship, national security and social insecurity, public life, participation and democratization.
What concepts do we use?
Transnationalism offers an analytical vantage point to further our comparative and historical research on constructions of the multicultural nation, avoiding the essentialising pitfalls of studies of ‘race relations’ and ‘ethnic communities’. It assists our historical enquiries by enabling us to study imperialism, post-colonialism and cosmopolitanism ‘in reverse’, contesting simplistic conceptions of cultural power as plain domination, or cultural change as reducible to technological innovation. Such critical perspectives will produce a nuanced picture of transnational cultural exchange in and around national institutions (e.g. the British Army, the BBC), at different historical moments and in relation to policy challenges associated with multiculturalism, migration, citizenship and securitisation.
Cosmopolitanism is increasingly important in debates about nations, human rights, and global citizenship. Critiques of methodological nationalism call for a cosmopolitan sociology. We bring together biographical and qualitative methods, with forms of quantitative and institutional analysis to investigate the politics, aesthetics and ethics of invisible and emergent cosmopolitanisms. We mobilise multiple, multimodal points of entry into understanding the complexity of national, diasporic and transnational identities and cultures as they evolve over time, place and space.
Convergence provides a lens through which we analyse the rapidly eroding distinctions between national and transnational media platforms, devices, forms of content and information, and the bodies, identities and social practices that help constitute and frame them. We argue that while convergence is radically changing the character of the social, it is not without precedent, and must be theorized in its social and historical contexts. Using a range of methods rooted in biographical, narrative, quantitative, psychological, documentary and historical analysis we analyse how converged digital media, culture and communication networks, regulative regimes and forms of cultural and expressive work, play crucial roles in the production, circulation and consumption of the (trans)national.
How do media make the transnational?
The concept of transnationalism provides a frame for analysing how flows of people, ideas, symbols, commodities and objects constitute the shifting territories and (re)configurations of the social. In particular, the role of the media in creating, transforming and representing the contours and patterns of transnationality is central to our enquiries. Through a range of research projects we are concerned with fundamental questions of meaning, belonging and participation in - and through - media, and in the possibilities and limits of the national in the face of emergent and destabilising social dynamics. The media provide the context through which we seek to understand the reframing of the nation in relation to migration, global communications networks, changing identities and conceptions of cultural work, mutable conceptualisations of citizenship and transformations in political culture and community. Amongst the questions we ask in our projects are: How does the BBC World Service present and provide for different national publics and communities? How are different religions mediatised? In what ways is it possible to talk of media ‘cultures of diplomacy’? How do broadcasters and media institutions function as diasporic ‘contact zones’ and/or agents of cultural brokerage? More broadly, how are we to understand the role of the media in conflicts and debates over cultural, ethnic, religious and political identities
How are cosmopolitanism, community and citizenship being reframed?
The apparent supercession of the national by a transnational, global or cosmopolitan cultural outlook has prompted much discussion and controversy in social science. In order to propel the debate we have formulated a set of projects that examine more precisely how, and in what terms, the ‘cosmopolitan’ might be usefully employed as an explanatory concept in accounting for social change. Further, the utopian idea of a post or supra-national citizenship based on a benign global sensibility is being challenged by empirical work that examines the diverse conflicts underpinning citizenship in an age of accelerated (but patterned) migration, residual and emergent military conflict, and heightened concerns over (apparent) threats to national security. Debates on the cultural and creative boundaries of race and nation have particular salience here also. The questions we ask in our projects include: What is role of the armed forces in mediating questions of national identity and citizenship? What are the issues associated with the roots/routes, history and cultural ownership of Black British Jazz? How do ethnic and religious jokes, humour and comedy travel, translate and mutate in national and transnational social networks, contexts and genres? How are different cultural forms implicated in the imagining and re-imagining of diasporas and national belonging and what are the patterns of ‘racialization’ that shape identity and a sense of community?
How does media and cultural convergence make or unmake the national?
Convergence can be understood as the integration of different media technologies and platforms, the formation of networks for the production and transfer of media content and communications, cross-sector or institutional mergers amongst media providers and attempts to create and manage regulatory and legislative regimes. It may also refer to the individual who is positioned by, or able to manipulate, various digital/media affordances and contexts in acts of cultural and economic production. While much recent work by social scientists takes an overly optimistic view of the potential of convergence to solve traditional problems associated with informational drag, social and economic exclusion, mundane and alienating work or even volatile nationalisms and oppressive regimes – such claims are examined in the context of a set of projects that seek to qualify empirically, and expand theoretically, sociological understandings of media convergence in the digital age. Questions we address include: What forms of broadcasting regulation are appropriate for national and transnational media? What are the impacts of convergence for professional practices and organizations in the cultural and creative industries? To what extent is convergence implicated in the remaking and transformation of the nation-state and in the formation of transnational communities, contact zones and regimes of regulation and governance?
Below is a list of the projects run by this research theme. Click on the title of the project for more information.
Media, Nation and Transnationalism
Media, Nation and Transnationalism
‘Imperial Designs’ examines the institutions that built and operated the post-1945 Commonwealth’s international communications infrastructure.
This project reflects on the organisation and practices of work in the cultural and creative industries. In line with CRESC thinking it asks; what patterns of continuity and change...
Tuning In is a CRESC affiliated AHRC-funded project analysing diasporic contact zones at the BBC World Service. Since 1932, the World Service has provided a mediated home from home for...
Below is a list of the publications produced by this research theme.
Vron Ware (2012), 'Can you have Muslim soldiers? Diversity as a martial value', CRESC Working Paper 112.
Vron Ware (2012), 'Thin Ice: postcoloniality and sexuality in the politics of citizenship and military service', CRESC Working Paper 113.
Richard Collins (2011), 'The End of Public Media? The UK: canary in the coal mine?', CRESC Working Paper 089.
Refereed Journal Papers
Special Edited Journal Issue
Below is a list of CRESC staff working on this research theme.
Below is a list of the events organised by this research theme.
- Here Comes the Gurkhas! Studying Ex-Army Immigrants in Aldershot : Wed, Jun 5th 2013
- Book Launch: Military Migrants by Vron Ware : Wed, Nov 14th 2012
- Evaluating the Global Conversation 3: Understanding Website and Social Media Use : Wed, May 30th 2012
- Evaluating the Global Conversation: 2 BBC Arabic and Social Media : Thu, May 17th 2012
- Music, Methods and the Social: A Research Workshop : Thu, May 17th 2012 - Fri, May 18th 2012
- Evaluating the Global Conversation: 1 Measuring Impact : Fri, May 11th 2012
- Soldiers, Minorities, Migrants, Citizens : Fri, Mar 9th 2012
- Art, Work and Urban Regeneration : Wed, Nov 16th 2011
- Framing the City: the CRESC annual conference 2011 : Tue, Sep 6th 2011 - Fri, Sep 9th 2011
- 'Drama For Development': Book Launch : Thu, Jul 28th 2011
- BBC South Asian Language Service - what future? : Tue, May 3rd 2011
- CRESC Visualisation Workshop - Digital Visualisation & Power : Mon, Jul 5th 2010
- Theme Conference - The Future of Cultural Work : Mon, Jun 7th 2010
Below is a list of the news items associated with this research item.
CRESC is working with the BBC World Service on 'Generation 2012', an exciting initiative with a group of young citizen journalists between 15 and 21 who live close to the Olympic Park in London. These young Londoners will be questioning the five Olympic promises. For more details visit the BBC London News web site, the BBC World Service web site or get in touch with CRESC's Marie Gillespie or Alban Webb (contact details below)
Conference at the Institute of Communications Studies, Leeds 7-8 July
CRESC in conjunction with ICS held a two-day international conference exploring aspects of ethics, moral economy and cultural value in the contexts of creative and cultural industries work. Over 80 delegates convened to hear panels on a diverse range of topics including media production ethics, visual moralities, virtues, goods and cultural practices, immaterial labour and networked moralities. As reports on the closure of the News of the World filtered around the assembly, the value of exploring the extent to which moral and ethical considerations interact with cultural economic concerns was further underscored. Keynote speakers included Russell Keat (Edinburgh), who reprised a critique of MacIntyre’s After Virtue in order to reflect the internal goods of cultural work, Susan Christopherson (Cornell) who examined industry responses to financialization and the fragile politics of labour organizing in US film, and Andrew Sayer (Lancaster) who challenged the assembly to consider whether the existence and organization of professional creative work was defensible in terms of contributive justice. Further contributors examined the politics of internships, free and gifted labour, child exploitation in television production, the labour process in new media, and moral economies of publishing, pornography and film production. As well as the contributions from precarious labour groups, activists and commentators, delegates were also offered the premiere of Philip Schlesinger’s and Charlotte Waelde’s short film Living on Performance, an examination of the working lives of dancers and musicians inspired by their recent AHRC project Music and Dance – Beyond Copyright Text.
Alban Webb, a CRESC OU Research Fellow, was among speakers at a Commonwealth Journalists' Association meeting on 'BBC World Service: Death by a Thousand Cuts?
Alban explored the new funding arrangements for the BBC World Service. For nearly 80 years this has been broadcasting across the globe, representing Britain, facilitating global conversations, mediating cultures, building bridges and providing lifeline news and information services. Since the Second World War this has been done at the British tax-payer's expense through a Parliamentary Grant-in-Aid administered by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The current arrangement is about to change. In the government's Comprehensive Spending Review in October it was announced that the cost of overseas broadcasting – currently £272m per annum – would be transferred to to the BBC Licence Fee. So what does this mean? What are its implications? And has due consideration been given to the implications and consequences of this revolution for broadcaster, government and audiences?
For more details of Alban Webb's contribution, please visit http://www.open.ac.uk/platform/blogs/academic.