Karaoke Culture and the Evolution of Personality Politics
Chapter 3: The Southeast Asian Context
The conglomeration of media ownership into the hands of transnational corporations which lack distinctive national identities and neither neither ‘reﬂect nor respect nationhood as an organizing or a regulative principle’ (Barber 1995, p. 13), oﬀers a major challenge for national governments. This encroachment is an issue which has been consistently raised by the states of Southeast Asia, particularly vulnerable to external pressure given that their economies are so dependent on foreign trade and investment. This chapter, then, examines the issues that the globalization of the media, and the ongoing technological developments that have made that globalization possible, raise for the political elites of Southeast Asia. It considers the question of whether Southeast Asia is subject to the encroachment of the global media, what eﬀect that has had on the local media industry and how any developments have impacted the perception of the challenges to regime survival. Despite the erosion of national sovereignty by the growth of global markets, the media is not simply an avenue down which march the imperial legions of cultural change (Blumler and Gurevitch 1996, pp. 132–3). While the media has a role in cultural transformation, the process is both complicated and unpredictable (Thompson 1995, p. 190). Being able to watch the ‘silicone-enhanced imperial master race’ cavort, bikini-clad, on America’s Bay Watch beaches probably does stimulate the capacity of its audience around the world to imagine alternative ways of life, but they absorb these messages in culturally particular ways. A UNESCO-sponsored study of...
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