Reading Log I: Residential mobility and transnational culture

As a working researcher, some of my time is spent reading scientific papers. In this series I want to present noteworthy papers that have crossed my way. The summaries are taken more or lesse directly from my personal notes and might be a little rough around the edges.

P. Balogh: Sleeping Abroad but Working at Home: Cross-Border Residential Mobility between Transnationalism and (Re)Bordering

The paper sets out to show why transnationalism might not be the appropriate way to analyze cross-border residential mobiliy and suggests using the concepts of bordering, ordering and othering from border studies instead. Its main argument is summarized in the following quote:

“transnationalism is not just about experiencing national borders but transcending them” (p. 201)

The survey shows that the cross-border residential poles in Germany often do not transcend the border but keep up a lifestyle that is strongly oriented towards Poland, not at all integrating into the local German communities. In contrast, the settling of Poles in Vorpommern even leads to a defensive reaction in part of the German population of the area.

Balogh, P. (2013). Sleeping Abroad but Working at Home: Cross-Border Residential Mobility between Transnationalism and (Re)Bordering. Geografiska Annaler, Series B: Human Geography, 95(2), 189–204. DOI:10.1111/geob.12016

R. Meuleman & M. Savage: A Field Analysis of Cosmopolitan Taste: Lessons from the Netherlands

The authors perform a Multiple Correspondence Analysis on Durch survey data about cultural consumption and its geographical horizon and identifiy three different axes:

  • disengagement (only TV and radio) vs. high cultural participation
  • pop-culture vs. highbrow culture
  • consumption of Dutch culture vs. consumption of only international culture

By looking at those axes from the perspective of standard demographic variables, they, again, distinguish three groups with regard to their cultural horizon:

  • Disengaged: Lower education, strong focus on Dutch culture
  • Young: Well educated, pop-culture from the Netherlands and the United States
  • Cultural elite: older, well educated, highbrow culture from the Netherlands and Europe

The work shows markedly how in high-culture we can observe some kind of European closure, while pop-culture is firmly rooted withing American cultural products. Furthermore, it again makes a case for the existence of a group that is culturally disenganged and has little relations to other, foreign, cultures.

Meuleman, R., & Savage, M. (2013). A Field Analysis of Cosmopolitan Taste: Lessons from the Netherlands. Cultural Sociology, 7(2), 230–256. DOI:10.1177/1749975512473991

G. Kuipers: Cultural Globalization as the Emergence of a Transnational Cultural Field: Transnational Television and National Media Landscapes in Four European Countries

The author starts from the observation that televion has become more and more transnational within the last decade in terms of the program, while the actual networks have remained within a national framework. The author sets herself apart from the more classical imperialist perspective of dominant American culture, but concludes that Hollywood still has to be seen as the central actor within international TV entertainment, while some smaller subcenters have developed and lesser developed countries refer far less to US produced TV shows than European countries. She attributes this to a tension between the technical quality of TV shows (advantage US: big market, experience, technical opportunities) and the potential for viewers to identify with the figures within a program (advantage national productions).

Still, she observes, that depending on the configuration of actors, tradition, habituation of the viewers and political support the four countries analyzed (Netherlands, France, Italy and Poland) are embedded into the transnational field in very different ways. On the other hand, she recognizes the emergence of a transnational field of TV professionals – in her case international buyers for national stations – which develop an own language and a commonly shared understanding of good TV that is markedly shaped by the US understanding.

Kuipers, G. (2011). Cultural Globalization as the Emergence of a Transnational Cultural Field: Transnational Television and National Media Landscapes in Four European Countries. American Behavioral Scientist, 55(5), 541–557. DOI:10.1177/0002764211398078

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