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National Identity & Communication


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  • 1. Topic 5: National Identity & Communication JCM229/GMD127 N.B. Topic 4 has been devoted to “Introduction to Plagiarism & Citation”
  • 2. National identities JCM229|T5|Dr. Wong 2
  • 3. Key issues  How ruling/political groups construct national identities: ◦ Beijing Olympic Games 2008 ◦ Taiwan’s Presidential Election 2008  How? ◦ advertisements, posters, slogans, cartoons, animations, stories, speeches given by political leaders, etc.  Try to analyze the content and expression of such materials to explore how national identities are defined, (re-)constructed, and understood JCM229|T5|Dr. Wong 3
  • 4. Interaction  identity  People need to interact under the specific environment so as to construct their “identity” ◦ Being born into a family or clan: full-month banquet that a baby is introduced formally to be a family member ◦ Working together to achieve the same end-goal: team spirit and goal ◦ Worshipping the same god: same dream or fulfillment  Identity: a set of meanings emerging from how one constructs one’s relationships (associations) with others JCM229|T5|Dr. Wong 4
  • 5. Building political identity [1] Collective identity:  Build hegemonic dominance: a process in which individuals construct their own identity, but they do so in interaction with “others”, drawing upon and helping to construct identities that are collectively shared  Sense of belonging to a political community: a sense of groupness, and getting people to identify with this group  How: Stories, memories, mythologies , memoirs, myths and beliefs JCM229|T5|Dr. Wong 5
  • 6. Building political identity [2]  The growth of a political hype (publicity) industry is related to perceptions and perception management ◦ Building political collectivities through the sharing of discourses (e.g., story, myth, belief, dream)  politicians need the mass media to help circulate appropriate political discourse, preferably as entertaining myths/stories designed for mass consumption  journalists are implicated in constructing mass identities JCM229|T5|Dr. Wong 6
  • 7. Building hegemony [1]  Dominant (leading, like ruling/elite class) and dominated groups  The former one is able to set the over- arching intellectual agenda in society and steer discourses  Establishing and maintaining the ruling/elite group through (1) political alliance with the powerful, such as capitalists, the military, (2) reach legitimacy/ consensus with the public, and (3) coercive capacity (e.g., police, courts, prisons, military forces)  The ruling groups are required to learn, mobilize and organize 3 key skills: (1) the arts of coercion, (2) negotiation (to ‘politic’ alliance), and (3) mass communication (to build ‘mass’ consent) JCM229|T5|Dr. Wong 7
  • 8. Building hegemony [2]  Institutionalize/hype the art of mass political communication: form a set of complex symbiotic relationships between politicians, spin-doctors and journalists  Spin industry of PC consultants, PRs and impression managers link the political machine to the mass media machine (e.g., through news reporting, features)  Gramsci (1971) suggested the ways in which hegemonic groups can be dominant: 1. Discourses holding the ruling alliance together (e.g., we are patriotic front) 2. Maintain a leading position in society: they have leading group dominance (e.g., pro-Beijing/patriotic elites) 3. Generate consensus by ensuring that discourses, practices and authority of the ruling group are seen as legitimate (and ideally as “neutral”) by the ruled (e.g., social harmony, love the motherland, love Hong Kong) JCM229|T5|Dr. Wong 8
  • 9. Building hegemony [3] • For hegemonic groups, the more “naturalized” and “obfuscated” the discourses and practices become, the better, because naturalized hegemonic discourses/practices effectively people into “hidden” power relationships  discursive control JCM229|T5|Dr. Wong 9
  • 10. Building national identity  Forms: 1. Political phenomena 2. Relationships between political system, the mass media and legitimacy building 3. The evolution of political process: right to political participation, defined national territory (country)m and shared language and cultural characteristics of the people living in that ‘nation’  Growth of national identity and (print) mediai-zied communication ◦ Earliest national culture were constructed by print media circulating texts in local languages, forming the powerful relationship existing between communities and print languages JCM229|T5|Dr. Wong 10
  • 11. How NI is formed….. *1+ Case Study [心繫家國]: Official ver.:  xANCs (HKG)  kkl3Q (CHN) “Revised” version:  mSd-CM JCM229|T5|Dr. Wong 11
  • 12. How NI is formed….. *2+ 1. Literate elites construct the controlled, cultivated ‘garden cultures’ through standardized mass education. Intellectuals, journalists and teachers generate and circulate the discourses and practices necessary to create ‘publics’ (who share the representations and identities manufactured by the elite) 2. Elite build cultural infrastructures – media and schools – to disseminate identity-building representations through the construction of 3 interlocking phenomena: [a] a codified vernacular (‘national’ print language), *b+ mass literacy, and [c] a media industry (books, newspapers and magazines) JCM229|T5|Dr. Wong 12
  • 13. How NI is formed….. *3+ 3. Creating identity: *a+ manufacture ‘publics’ , *b+ create ‘in-groups’ and ‘out-groups’, a constructed boundary separating ‘us’ from ‘them’ *c+ build ‘bounded’ imagined ‘spaces’ with ‘special’ shared ‘meanings’ for the in-group: emotionally laden landscapes, time-scapes and cultural artifacts as ‘memories’ which position people inside shared symbolic communities  Narratives and constructed memories (books, TV programs, music, etcetera)  Symbolic constructions (Great Wall, the Olympic constructions in Beijing)  Symbolic landscapes (Huang He, Chang Jiang, Gobi dissert)  Symbolic rituals (rallies) JCM229|T5|Dr. Wong 13
  • 14. How NI is formed….. *4+  Apart from deliberate nationalistic constructions by ruling elites, journalists and teachers ‘unconsciously’ circulating representations which have become naturalized and taken for granted  Media representations and stereotypes: become the raw material people use to create their sense of ‘self’ and to construct their ‘imaginings’ of their relationships to ‘others’ JCM229|T5|Dr. Wong 14
  • 15. Example JCM229|T5|Dr. Wong 15
  • 16. Journalism & PI [1]  Provide the vehicles for: 1. Facilitating the hegemonically dominant communicating with the enfranchised masses 2. Creating identities for the masses through disseminating stories, myths and symbols 3. Marking and maintaining the boundaries of group identities: mass and/or niche [有利可圖] politics 4. Politicians promote themselves and their policies with mass electorates 5. Leading ‘public opinion’ by highlighting some issues and ignoring other (agenda-setting), demonizing some individuals, groups, and ideas (folk- devils/moral panics) while praising other individuals, groups and ideas JCM229|T5|Dr. Wong 16
  • 17. Journalism & PI [2] 6. Legitimating the specific ideology, the state and its political, legal and bureaucratic framework 7. Promote practice valuable to the specific ideology 8. Naturalizing those discourses and practices which underpin smooth functioning of the states  Creation and packaging process increasingly professionalized within a political myth-making and impression-management system involving the various players (see the table) JCM229|T5|Dr. Wong 17
  • 18. Journalism & PI [3] Intellectuals Politicians Spin-doctors Journalists Teachers • create myths • systematize myths and ideologies • select already- created myths and ideologies and sell them • package myths • struggle with other politicians over which myths become dominate • circulate myths • help politicians package and sell myths • report on politicians circulating myths • Package myths for media audiences • Circulate myths (in society) • packaging dominant myths for students • circulate myths (in schools) JCM229|T5|Dr. Wong 18
  • 19. Conclusion JCM229|T5|Dr. Wong 19 History, Literature, Symbols, Myths, Stories Discourse hegemony National identity Political identity -Ideology -System -Values -Perceptions