Hegemony and Discourse : Negotiating Cultural Relationships Through Media Production

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Hegemony and discourse : Negotiating cultural relationships through media production Michael Robert Evans Journalism 2002 3: 309 DOI: 10.1177/146488490200300302 The online version of this article can be found at: http://jou.sagepub.com/content/3/3/309

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Journalism
Copyright © 2002 SAGE Publications (London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi) Vol. 3(3): 309–329 [1464-8849(200212)3:3;309–329;028479]

ARTICLE

Hegemony and discourse
Negotiating cultural relationships through media production
Michael Robert Evans
Indiana University, USA
ABSTRACT

As part of large, complex social structures, media organizations exist in constantly shifting relationships with each other, with the societies within which they work and with the internal and external audiences with which they communicate. The role of indigenous media groups in hegemonic processes, then, cannot be seen as monolithic or monologic, as some scholars have suggested. An examination of Inuit videography groups reveals that media organizations support or resist hegemonic pressures differentially; some work ‘within the system’ to further worthwhile aims, while others struggle against hegemonic coercion in an effort to expose that coercion and foster alternative power structures. Any models relating to the role of media in hegemony must reflect the heterogeneous stances and discursive relationships adopted by and among various media organizations. KEY WORDS

media

Inuit

Canada colonialism videography

discourse

hegemony

indigenous

The relatively recent advent of inexpensive video equipment has been heralded as ushering in a new era of cultural presentation, representation and negotiation through indigenous videography. And in some respects, this fanfare has proven accurate. In El Alto, Bolivia, for example, an organization called the Gregoria Apaza Center for the Advancement of Women launched a project that brought together video production, radio broadcasting and broadcast-journalism training for Aymara women in a large suburb of La Paz (Ru´z, ı 1994: 161). This project ‘supports grassroots organization and the community, contributing to a democratization of the mass media and the development of popular expression’ (Ru´z, 1994: 176). ı Similarly, women at Banchte Shekha, a women’s organization in Bangladesh, use video to assist in legal-defense efforts, largely involving cases of domestic abuse (Stuart and Bery, 1996: 197–8). These efforts, assisted by an

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Journalism 3(3)

organization called Communication for Change, focus on allowing people to speak for themselves, rather than funneling information through experts or journalists. In so doing, the participants gain a sense of empowerment that enables them to ‘give a stronger collective voice for change at many levels of society’ (Stuart and Bery, 1996: 199). Such small-scale efforts are often successful, and they persist because they meet strong and important needs for their participants. They galvanize groups of people into energized, vocal and active organizations that seek social change, cultural preservation or enhanced self-esteem. And these efforts proliferate because of the low cost of video equipment and the immediacy of video as an experiential organizing tool. In addition to these projects, which developed with minimal...
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