How Narrow is Narrowcasting? Are regional dialects standardised for national TV?

SAYERS, Dave (2007). How Narrow is Narrowcasting? Are regional dialects standardised for national TV? Essex Graduate Journal of Sociology, 7 (1), 56-70.

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This paper is about the representation of minorities in mass media, and the tension between fully representing the diversity of that group and remaining accessible to the widest possible audience. The case study is the Welsh-language soap opera Pobol Y Cwm, and whether the regional dialects of Welsh are ‘toned down’ to ensure comprehensibility for all Welsh speakers. The first aim of the article is to bring language into the discussion of how minorities are represented in Public Service Broadcasting (PSB). A second and more general aim is to open up a frame for further research into the tensions that arise in representing local diversity and harnessing national/group identity. As a contribution to the sociology of globalisation, this article will be looking for a middle ground between the totalising ‘McDonaldisation’ thesis – where all cultural diversity is eradicated – and equally strong counterclaims about the vigorous reassertion of diversity (e.g. Katz and Liebes, 1990). I argue that neither is correct, and that we are facing a much more gradual and incipient erosion of cultural diversity as local minority cultures are packaged in global media forms; and that this must be understood as a constant ongoing process with a historical trajectory, not an end point that is ever ‘reached’ – either by total homogenisation or by persistent diversity. The case of local dialects in PSB therefore serves as an exemplar of the limitations in showcasing diversity within minorities in mass media.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Humanities Research Centre
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Dave Sayers
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2015 11:50
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2015 18:05

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