Monday, May 26, 2008

Notes from ICA conference 25 May

Notes below from today's ICA conference sessions. The anticipated fireworks from the Popular Communication session failed to materialise, as Toby Miller had to apologise and could not present his paper titled "Why the Creative Industries Must Die".

The IAMCR report for UNESCO will be available on the IAMCR Web site shortly.

Reassessing NAFTA and the Cultural Industries
Sunday 25 May 2008

Emile McAnany, “Television and Cultural Integrity: Historical Perspectives on Technology”

1. TV/video remains central;
2. Media industries are in transition – need for a historical perspective;
3. Technological change is more rapid than cultural change – implications for policy.

• What has/has not changed since 1994?
o Shift from broadcasting to the Web (Hulu – started by NBC and FOX – free TV series and movies) – content becoming freely available on the Web – universally available content in digital format downloaded either to the Web or (soon) to the TV
o Hollywood still the primary producer of content – major media companies adapting quickly to the Web.

• Conclusions
1. National policy remain central as values statements;
2. Difference between cultural policy and cultural resistance – the latter can only come from people, not governments;
3. Cultural production policies are very important – example of Korea.

Roger de la Guarde, “Television Flows rather than Trades”

• Shape of Quebec/Canadian TV has not been significantly changed by NAFTA. Major changes have come from:
o Technology and industry convergence
o Lack of assertiveness of regulators of national perspective
o Regulators permitting media concentration and convergence.

• Specialist channels now account for about 25-30% of audience share – was 5% when samples were being done of content of 10 channels in Quebec.

Jose Carlos Lozano, “Flows of Audiovisual Content in the NAFTA Era”

• 2006 – 100% of US content from US; Canada 58% local/42% US; Mexico 29% US/66% Mexico; 4% other
• Prime time : dominated by US in Canada – non-news in Canada dominated by US; Mexico – strong in telenovelas, news and other genres – films and sitcoms dominated by US.
• Cultural proximity and cultural discount are central to why figures differ for Canada and Mexico – Mexico did not seek cultural exemption in NAFTA.

Communication and Information: Critical Perspectives on IAMCR’s Research Agenda for UNESCO

Report on rethinking sustainable development in the context of knowledge societies:

Organising themes
o Cultural diversity
o Governance
o Media/info-structure/education
• Human rights, communication and information
• Access and literacies
• Participatory communication
• Representation
• Strategic communication and information policies and action plans
• Indicators of knowledge societies

• Repertoire of research methodologies and methods

Cees Hamelink

• UNESCO/IAMCR link formed around context of 1970s NWICO campaigns for ‘right to communicate’ – MacBride Commission (1980) – fell apart in 1980s for political reasons (withdrawal if US, UK and Singapore 1985)
• 1990s – cultural diversity report – not promoted – late 1990s – missed boat on WSIS – given to ITU
• 2000s – Convention on Cultural Diversity – not supported by US – needed to become an instrument aligned to WTO language

Annabelle Sreberny

• Danger of repetition of 1970s debates which were focused on film and television, but now around ICT and knowledge societies – still a technologistic drive
• IAMCR can challenge some of the ‘normalising’ rhetorics that come from UNESCO – internationalizing still takes US and Europe as the baseline – developed versus developing/emergent/transitional/crisis-ridden etc.
• Media & communications research needs to dialogue with other disciplines more e.g. economics, political science, law.
• How do we nurture creative and cultural industries to promote cultural diversity and new businesses (petty bourgeoisie) in developing countries
• Rhetoric is too abstract and universalising and not grounded in time and place – wanting more grounded projects and empirical, bottom-up studies (e.g. media anthropology)
• Afghanistan – has plethora of development communications after war – now has 14 TV channels, each run by competing warlord interests – is this what was wanted? - contrast to Iran where slow process of democratization is happening, but is ignored for political reasons

Marc Raboy

• IAMCR report acknowledges difficulties of researching the global, but there may be a need to step back from current pragmatics to question of how to integrate recognition of greater diversity into a research perspective – lack of consensus about diversity, democracy etc.
• Moving beyond reports on what is currently being done to need to consider relationship between methodological nationalism/methodological cosmopolitanism (Ulrich Beck)
• Issues being defined at the global level need to be addressed at the local and national levels e.g. democracy and human rights
• Emergence of new institutional players in the debate – not only national governments and multilateral institutions but specific organizations of global civil society e.g. AMART has a 25 year history as a global community media organisation

Indrajit Banerjee

• Three core reasons/rationales behind this exercise:
1. Fundamental transformation of global media and communications landscape – mass communication systems in crisis
2. Deepening development crisis – focus needs to be on UNESCO framework of sustainable development
3. Inadequacies in communications research in relation to sustainable development.

Divina Frau-Miegs

• IAMCR presenting to UNESCO as an NGO and not just as a research organization – added value of transnational perspective – intermediations, transnationalisation (Sonia Livingstone)
• Civil society agencies taking global agendas back home since WSIS – how to localize global issues
• Reporting, assessment, tools, methodologies
• An alternative to normative concept of ‘development’?
• Different cultural diversity agendas – they should be complementary
o Western – employment
o African – identity
o Latin American & Asian – sustainability

Need to enable rather than dictate different local adaptation of these agendas.
Need to be prepared to ‘dirty our hands’ to contribute to social justice.

New Concepts, New Methods: The Challenges of Popular Communication Research in the 21st Century

John Hartley

• Rethinking representation to productivity – DIY/DIWO citizenship/identity (NB: never found out what DIWO identity was)
• Entrepreneurial consumers – audiences not just active but productive
• Revisiting active audience but not as product of industrial organization
• Culture, media and the popular at leading edge of innovation – cultural science

Henry Jenkins

“How I Learned to Love Moby Dick, or when Fan Studies meets High Culture”

• Too much policing of boundary of popular culture – validating popular culture forgot to study high culture, and left it to literary criticism
• Modes of cultural participation set it off from fan studies that are devoted to high culture – Shakespeare, Jane Austen, book clubs etc.
• How to bring participatory culture into the study of literary classics (work for MacArthur Foundation on new media literacies and young people)


Tama said...

DIWO is probably "Do It With Others"

Axel Bruns said...

I'm assuming DIWO means "Do It With Others"? See e.g.

Terry Flew said...

Thanks Tama and Axel.

BTW, Axel, I bought your new book yesterday. I'll read it on the flights back on Indianapolis.

jean said...

DIWO = Do It With Others [collective, rather than individualistic creativity]....oh, wait, tama and axel beat me to it. Welcome to blogging, BTW - that's 'by the way' ;)