Mediating the Neoliberal Nation: Television in Post-Apartheid South Africa
AbstractTelevision, with its depictions of the dramas of everyday life, provides a compelling medium for building a normative national consciousness. Since television first arrived in South Africa in the mid-1970s, it has influenced the countrywide belief system, first as an apparatus of apartheid and later as an intended voice of the New South Africa. Today, South African television provides an image of South Africa that serves the government’s attempts to construct a nation out of a divided past. In addition to entertaining, television programming aims to foster national unity through the redressing of historical wrongs and to encourage economic growth and foreign investment. Through an examination of the political economy of television in South Africa, I discuss how television produces, performs, and contests the post-apartheid South African nation. Using the theoretical framework of feminist, poststructural, and cultural geography, as well as work in cultural studies and anthropology, I will address Wendy Larner’s (2003) call for geographers to examine the multiplicity of neoliberalism’s production and performance across space.
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