Place, Power, Media

Mediated Responses to Globalization

by Divya McMillin (Volume editor) Joost de Bruin (Volume editor) Jo Smith (Volume editor)
©2018 Textbook VIII, 232 Pages


Place, Power, Media: Mediated Responses to Globalization is a compelling, interdisciplinary exploration of how media practices and communication rituals are connected to larger economic, social, and political processes in a globalizing world. Through a rich variety of media texts, authors examine how daily, mundane, and interpersonal processes help shape ‘our’ place in the world, a placement that is integrally connected to social relations at the global level. Denoting a sense of geography as well as demarcating diverse social positionings, place is understood as the result of historical and contemporary discourses occurring on a range of scales and within different cultural, aesthetic, and political contexts. The authors argue that the construction, restoration, configuration, and representation of place is an important project at multiple levels; what meanings are derived from it, what meanings are infused, who the key players are, what power struggles are inherent—these issues offer rich areas of study for global media scholars interested in the place-making powers of media.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Figures
  • Introduction: Place, Power, Media (Divya McMillin / Joost de Bruin / Jo Smith)
  • Organization of the Book
  • Section 1: Place Making in the Globalizing City
  • Section 2: Indigenous Place Making through MediaProduction and Performance
  • Section 3: Challenging Representations of Place through Media Criticism
  • Conclusions
  • References
  • Section One: Place Making in the Globalizing City
  • Chapter One: Authenticity and Participation as a Radicalized Tourist Place in Post-earthquake Christchurch (Linda Jean Kenix)
  • The Power of Media Frames
  • Mediating Tourist Spaces
  • Methodology
  • Authentic Participation from Three Christchurch Organizations
  • Spectrum Street Art Festival
  • Gap Filler
  • Outer Spaces
  • Conclusions
  • References
  • Chapter Two: Citizen Media and Civic Engagement in Globalizing Cities (Divya McMillin)
  • Origin Stories within Translated Spaces
  • Circuits of Civic Engagement
  • Dynamics of Place, Power, Media
  • Notes
  • References
  • Chapter Three: Shanghai’s Migrant Bodies and Global Spaces: Zhao Dayong’s Street Life (2006) (Carol-Mei Barker)
  • Cinematic Shanghai and Street Life
  • Migrant Bodies and Subaltern Spaces
  • Docile Bodies and Global Spaces
  • Punished Bodies and Public Places
  • Trapped Bodies and Spaces of Connection
  • Free Bodies and Places of Madness
  • Conclusion
  • Note
  • References
  • Section Two: Indigenous Place Making through Media Production and Performance
  • Chapter Four: Pluralizing Notions of Place through Māori Food TV (Jo Smith)
  • The Place of Māori and Māori Television in Aotearoa/New Zealand
  • Māori Television Reworkings of Global TV Formats
  • Kai Time on the Road (2004–): “More Than Just a Cooking Show”
  • Marae Kai Masters—Celebrating the Ringawera (hot hands)
  • Māori Food TV: Teaching about the Indivisible Relationship between Landscapes, Waterways and Peoples
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Chapter Five: Anishinaabe Storytelling and the Federal Narrative in Louise Erdrich’s Tracks (Danica Sterud Miller / Puyallup Nation)
  • Nindinawemaganidok
  • The Dawes Act and Discursive Resistance
  • Storytelling as Ceremony
  • Writing Anishinaabe Resistance
  • Notes
  • References
  • Chapter Six: Revisiting Place and Identity in Indigenous Popular Music: Lokal Stylistic Frameworks in Papua New Guinea (Oli Wilson)
  • Place and Indigenous Popular Music
  • Popular Music in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
  • The Lokal Style Complex
  • The Rhythm Section
  • Guitar Style
  • Vocal Style
  • Discussion and Conclusions
  • Notes
  • References
  • Chapter Seven: ‘Not Alone in the World’: Global Audiences-as-Actors in the Decolonization Process of a Coastal Ecuadorian Indigenous Community (Kimbra L. Smith)
  • Setting the Stage: The Social Positioning of Agua Blancans in Local and Global History
  • The Fixity of Racialized Identity in Official Media
  • Tío Guatuso and the Advantages of Fluidity
  • Practice Theory and Interpracticality
  • Spectacles of Transgression: The Festival de la Balsa Manteña
  • Appropriate Spaces
  • Everyday Interpracticors
  • Fields of Practice
  • Can the Subaltern Act? Globalization and Methodologies of Decolonization
  • Notes
  • References
  • Section Three: Challenging Representations of Place through Media Criticism
  • Chapter Eight: Encountering Nigeria through Mediated Close Encounters: Amina Lawal, Isioma Daniel, and the Miss World Pageant of 2002 (Joanne Clarke Dillman)
  • Amina Lawal and the Politics of Place
  • Misrecognizing Place: Miss World 2002
  • Women across Representational Space and Mediated Place
  • (Global Western) Human Rights Encountering (Local) Islamic Practice
  • References
  • Chapter Nine: It’s the ‘Great White North’: Nationalism, Identity and Place in Canadian Hip Hop (Athena Elafros)
  • “Patriotic and a Honor with a Hand on my Heart”: Classified’s Nationalist Vision of Canada in ‘Oh … Canada’
  • ‘Yo! I Am Multiculture’: Kardinal Offishall’s Multicultural and Localized Vision of Canada in ‘The Anthem’
  • ‘Oh, Kanata?’: Priceless and the Omission of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Identities
  • ‘Québec History X’: Webster and French-Canadian Rap Music in Québec
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Chapter Ten: A New Zealand Television Soap in Fiji: Out of Time, But Firmly in Place (Joost de Bruin)
  • Ambivalent Kinships in the Pacific
  • The History and Present of Television in Fiji
  • Interviewing on Shortland Street in Fiji
  • Connection and Disconnection: ‘Being Behind’
  • ‘Working Through’ Ambivalent Kinships
  • Representations of Your Own Place
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Chapter Eleven: Media Invisibility and a South Lebanese Village (Kristin Shamas)
  • Place Making as Communicative Praxis
  • Making Marjeyoun
  • Media Invisibility
  • Media Invisibility of Place
  • Amplification
  • Framing/Performative Agency
  • Co-structuring
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • References
  • Contributor Biographies

| vii →


Figure 1.1: Thrift Shop

Figure 1.2: Subway

Figure 3.1: Black Skin

Figure 3.2: Walking with a limp

Figure 3.3: Fatty Lee asleep in the shopping mall

Figure 3.4: Wandering aimlessly

Figure 3.5: Animal spirit

Figure 7.1: Parade through Puerto Lopez

Figure 7.2: Performing indigeneity

Figure 7.3: Capac hucha ceremony

| 1 →


Place, Power, Media


University of Washington Tacoma, Washington, USA


Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand


Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand

Place is a highly contested category in our current moment of globalization. The construction, restoration, configuration, and representation of place is an important project at multiple levels; what meanings are derived from it, what meanings are infused, who are the key players, what power struggles are inherent—these issues offer rich areas of study for global media scholars interested in the place-making powers of media. Globalization, conceptualized as a compression of the world and simultaneously a heightened consciousness of the world as a whole (Robertson, 1990), relentlessly reconfigures the geographical and imaginary co-ordinates of individuals and collectivities. Under current conditions, the notion of ‘our’ place in the world is also shaped by enduring processes of “capitalism, imperialism, monoculturalism, and the domination of biodiversity” (Fisher & Ponniah, 2003, p. 10), which put pressure on possible ways in which particular places may be perceived. These combined forces of compression and expansion bring into being a sense of uneasy proximity between elements that historically occupied vastly different and segregated spaces (Abélès, 2007). As such, the multiple dynamics of globalization constrain and enable articulations of place, revealing place as more than simply a struggle over geography, but also a highly representational phenomenon that ← 1 | 2 → helps demarcate claims to belonging, or non-belonging. As Yi-Fu Tuan (1977) has commented, people’s relationship with place can be “direct and intimate, or it can be indirect and conceptual, mediated by symbols” (p. 6). How one is placed, as an individual or collective category of identity, is as much about surrounding material conditions as it is about the images, ideas, and imaginings that cohere to support these claims.

The contributing authors to this volume draw from cultural and media studies and postcolonial and Indigenous critical theory, to examine how media practices and communication rituals are connected to larger economic, social and political processes. We explore how daily, mundane interpersonal processes help shape ‘our’ place in the world, a placement that is integrally connected to social relations at the global level. Denoting a sense of geography as well as demarcating diverse social positionings (Moores, 2012), place is understood as the result of historical and contemporary discourses occurring on a range of scales (Tuan, 1977) and within different cultural, aesthetic, and political contexts. Addressing the topic of place, power and media at multiple levels requires a distinctly interdisciplinary approach. Scholars in the emerging subfield of media geography describe contemporary conditions as saturated by information and knowledge economies to such an extent that geographic literacy is now in decline and geographic media literacy is an increasing necessity to help shine light on, “the spaces, identities and power contained within the performance of a particular media form or representation” (Lukinbeal & Craine, 2009, p. 179). Scholarship concerned with cinematic geographies identifies film as one such powerful mediating agent of geography, as it inspires and enacts relationships between our geographic imaginings and the actual spaces and places we move through and occupy (Lukinbeal & Zimmermann, 2008). Popular music is another cultural form that produces geographic discourses which impact on people’s attachments to place (Johansson & Bell, 2009). Listening to music can influence how people feel and think about particular places (Carney, 2003), for example cities (see Pesses, 2009). Music is also made in particular locations and sometimes addresses these locations explicitly, which results in mediated discourses about identity and nationhood. The approach taken in this volume chimes with media geographers who argue for the value of taking space, place and scale seriously (Mains, Cupples, & Lukinbeal, 2015), and takes an interdisciplinary approach to case studies that include film, tourism, music and television.

In addition to the interdisciplinary approach, the rich diversity of texts under study is what sets this book apart. For example, drawing from human geography studies (Wissmann, 2013, 2016), chapters examine the iterative process of place making in tourism. Tours, whether on foot or virtually through websites, offer an ← 2 | 3 → embodied experience, with opportunity for autonomous and dependent learning. Although Torsten Wissmann (2013) is writing from within an academic student tour context, his framing of how place is empirically experienced is relevant to the chapters that address tourism. Media and geography studies intersect again in the analysis of films and television shows. As Stuart Aitken and Leo Zonn (1994) point out, geographers are now increasingly drawing from a Foucauldian framework of power and re-presentation, examining meanings attached to places and the environment, and how they relate to overarching power structures. Productive analyses emerge from the intersections between “society and space on the one hand, and people and place on the other” (p. 9). The work of chapter contributors comes together to produce an analysis of the re-presentation of people and place.

Our volume acknowledges that the field of media studies now incorporates a wider focus including non-Western audiences, media systems, and formats (see Curran & Park, 2000; Ginsburg, Abu-Lughod, & Larkin, 2002; Kraidy & Murphy, 2003; Moran & Keane, 2004). Claiming the local rises in importance for various groups, whether at the state, national, or neighborhood level. For Indigenous communities, projects take on renewed urgency; Indigenous media scholarship emphasizes that place-making practices of Indigenous media makers affirm their communicative powers in relation to more historically embedded media processes (Alia, 2010; Ginsburg, 1994; Meadows, 2001; Roth, 2005). Such scholarship demonstrates the constraints of a continuing colonial present at the same time as developing media practices and modes of consumption that enable more localized expressions of place (Gregory, 2004).

The collection of chapters in this book seeks to understand how space is mediated into place, that is, how space as physical location becomes imbued with meanings through place-making practices. As other scholars have commented, abstract space is turned into place through practices of learning, orientation, repetition, and finding your way (Moores, 2012; Tuan, 1977). These practices include the use of media, and work to critically intervene in existing power structures. The outcomes of these interventions offer new directions for research, both theoretically and methodologically. Central questions that frame the book are: What do place-based media studies look like? Why is a focused analysis on media and place important? What emerging expressions of power come to light when one decenters Western place-making perspectives? The volume reveals place-based media studies scholarship as the analysis of on-the-ground practices, rituals, and knowledges that are simultaneously rooted and mobile, persisting and resistant, transnational and deeply historical. Place-based media criticism reveals struggles for greater visibility, as well as acknowledges other modes of resistance such as the refusal of the ← 3 | 4 → trope of visibility as the only vehicle for expressing power. Such scholarship shines light on the drive to authenticate and assert long-standing grass-roots perspectives that are sometimes Indigenous, or marginal, activist or interventionist. Indeed, a key focus of this collection is the ways in which place-based media strategies and scholarship intervene in dominant regimes of knowledge to decenter Eurocentric and technology-centric constructions of modernity and globalization. As such, our volume moves beyond existing thinking about place in ways that de-Westernize the field of media studies. In its interventionist focus, our collection offers new directions for theory and method. We advocate for a tripartite and flexible mode of analysis (Place-Power-Media) that is deeply site-specific, yet at the same time, attuned to the dis-placing and re-placing effects of globalization.

The authors in this book work through various locales, objects, experiences, and actors, to demonstrate that centralized and state-controlled notions of space restrict people’s understanding and living of place. What follows, are intriguing analyses of how place is produced by those negotiators, either individually or collectively, either through their own bodies and performance, or through their production of mediated counter-narratives, as a response to state architecture and prevailing forms of power and knowledge. Contributing authors were asked to submit empirical work that demonstrated dynamics of place making that went beyond locational markers, which could effectively lay bare the struggles of individuals and communities as they transformed space to place. Each chapter, then, provides a deeply contextualized definition of place as well as powerful analyses of how these definitions play out as they confront, appropriate, continue dialogue and, overall, respond to power structures. We embark on rich journeys through tourism projects, music videos, post-earthquake city spaces, hybrid television shows, storytelling strategies, and styles of music to learn about the struggles for expression and identity against the relentless standardizing imperatives of economic globalization. We witness new modes of place itself, such as city spaces seen from the margins, or embodied through walking tours, or imagined via online media; a nation understood as inflected by micro-level forms of relationing; a body as the site of contestation for meaning and politics; a memory of the past inflected through current conditions; musical forms that carry a long prevailing history of location, strategic and deeply embedded repetitions of global norms, and visions of possible futures—all provide sites where desires are anchored, and where dreams take flight. Our collection also opens up conceptualizations of media—not all are electronic, not all occupy center stage. They could be oral stories, they could be technology-based, they could be used centrally as points of reference, or they could be used tangentially, connecting to other strong relational matrices, to reinforce or change ideas and ideologies. ← 4 | 5 →

Analyses of practices, habits and rituals take on an interventionist stance as we pose the critical question, ‘where is power located?’ Each author in this collection is invested in addressing that very challenge, that is, what is transformed through the empirical analysis at hand, and what transformative outcomes are possible from the insights gained through the journey? The theoretical is deeply integrated with the empirical, so that conclusions and further directions for research are offered with the intention to expand the range and depth of global media studies, both in terms of locales and collectivities engaged with, but also in terms of elevating new units of analysis and their relational dimensions.

This results in a rich array of case studies that examine how media perform simultaneous functions of facilitating transnational connections and creating solidarity while heightening in individuals and communities, a very local sense of rootedness, an anchoring to specificity. In these functions, we come to understand exactly what it is that moves the local to the global and the transnational. Electronic and social media can collapse physical distance while simultaneously reinforcing ideological power structures. Together the chapters in this book provide a rich picture of local articulations of global narratives in diverse areas across the world and reveal how they lay out possibilities for local enrichment while maintaining ties to global frames of reference. As such, our book takes seriously the historical and contemporary conditions underpinning everyday media practices by offering an innovative synthesis of Indigenous and postcolonial concerns framed through the larger lens of media globalization.

Organization of the Book

Given that our focus is on the intervention of media studies scholarship and on what is transformed as a result of place-making practices through and with media, the book is organized into themes of intervention. The decision about where chapters fit was itself a place-making exercise: our point of entry was not the geographical place or nation, as would be the case with a conventional anthology of international media studies; it was not the medium, as would be the case with an anthology on media studies. What emerged was a fascinating array of patterns in the ways in which case studies and authors aimed to speak ‘truth to power’. Staying true to the mission of the book, we offer the following structure for the collection.

Section 1: Place Making in the Globalizing City

The three chapters in this section analyze how local place making in the city is influenced by current conditions of globalization. Based on case studies of ← 5 | 6 → Christchurch, Kolkata and Bengaluru, and Shanghai, they illustrate how, amidst rapid urbanization, media practitioners and civic activists have a certain amount of agency to represent their perspectives of the city to audiences. At the same time, dominant narratives are powerful and colonizing histories and neo-liberal future agendas play off against each other.

Linda Jean Kenix’s chapter ‘Authenticity and Participation as a Radicalized Tourist Place in Post-earthquake Christchurch’ opens this section and shows how the New Zealand city of Christchurch was metaphorically reconstructed after the traumatic 2011 earthquake. The chapter explores how local council-supported marketers exploited the opportunities to represent Christchurch when selling it as a tourist destination, emphasizing the city’s arts scenes and independence, collaboration, creativity and innovation. Using insights from framing studies, the chapter analyzes the websites of three organizations in Christchurch: the Spectrum Street Art Festival, the community organization Gap Filler, and Christchurch Art Gallery’s Outer Spaces. The analysis shows how public and tourist spaces can be radically revised by commercial parties while nonetheless continuing more historically inflected habits of depicting Christchurch as a non-Indigenous place.

In the context of rapidly growing cities in India, Divya McMillin’s chapter, ‘Citizen Media and Civic Engagement in Globalizing Cities’, analyzes two small-scale grassroots tourism initiatives in Kolkata and Bengaluru, Kolkata Heritage Tours and Native Place. Creators of these walking tours use social media, print journalism, blogs, art exhibits, television appearances, and folk and street theater, to advocate for the preservation of heritage buildings and parks, to reclaim identities and to ensure legacy. Based on fieldwork in Bengaluru and interviews with tour guides in both cities, McMillin discusses the complexities of producing place and nation, the field of tension between reaffirming local authenticities and responding to the logics of state-driven forms of globalization. The chapter illustrates that translation of space to place is fraught with power struggle and that grassroots tourism can play a pivotal role in this translation process. Walking tours and social media are positioned between the impediments of globalization and micro-efforts to argue against this by claiming and reclaiming particular places within the city.

Carol-Mei Barker’s chapter, ‘Shanghai’s Migrant Bodies and Global Spaces: Zhao Dayong’s Street Life (2006)’, illustrates how independent filmmaking can produce counterimages to the notion of the globalizing city. Cities in China are growing rapidly under current conditions of global capitalism and Shanghai is a case in point. Focusing on independent filmmaker Zhao Dayong’s documentary Street Life, Barker demonstrates how filmmakers can recenter place, identity and history. The documentary portrays the life of a community of homeless men. Barker focuses her analysis on the bodies of the men in the film and argues that analyzing power in relation to the human body is central in understanding ← 6 | 7 → how globalization works on the ground. Using a theoretical framework inspired by Michel Foucault, Barker explains how migrant bodies are made docile and punished, trapped within larger globalization-affirming narratives of place. Apart from violence or madness as outcomes, there seems no escape possible.


VIII, 232
ISBN (Hardcover)
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2018 (December)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2018. VIII, 232 pp., 10 b/w ills.

Biographical notes

Divya McMillin (Volume editor) Joost de Bruin (Volume editor) Jo Smith (Volume editor)

Divya McMillin is Professor of Global Media Studies in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences and Executive Director of the Institute for Global Engagement and the Global Honors Program at the University of Washington Tacoma. She is author of International Media Studies (2007) and Mediated Identities: Youth, Agency, and Globalization (Peter Lang, 2009). McMillin’s research on media globalization and audiences has been published in such journals as the Journal of Communication, Popular Communication Journal, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Economic and Political Weekly, and Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, to name a few. She has published extensively on global television and hybridity in such anthologies as 20 Questions on Youth and Media (Peter Lang, 2018), The Mediated Youth Reader (Peter Lang, 2016), Critical Asian Histories (2015), TV’s Betty Goes Global (2013), and Re-Orienting Global Communication (2010). Joost de Bruin is Senior Lecturer in Media Studies at Victoria University of Wellington in Aotearoa/New Zealand. He teaches in the areas of audience studies, television studies, popular culture and media and cultural identity. He has published articles in journals such as Television and New Media, Continuum, Media International Australia and Participations. With Koos Zwaan, he co-edited a volume on the Idols television format: Adapting Idols: Authenticity, identity and performance in a global television format (2012). He has published chapters in anthologies on global television formats and indigenous media. Jo Smith (Waitaha, Kati Mamoe, Kai Tahu) is Associate Professor, Media Studies at Victoria University of Wellington in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Smith has a longstanding interest in understanding how media shapes worldviews, relationships and identities and she investigates how the media’s storytelling powers can generate new forms of understanding and ways of being in the world. She has a Film Studies PhD from her hometown university (Otago) and she currently works in the Media Studies programme at Victoria University of Wellington where she teaches on Maori media, and issues to do with race, ethnicity and identity. The author of Maori Television: the first ten years (2016), Jo has recently contributed to kaupapa Maori projects to do with decolonisation and the media, Maori agribusinesses and soil health. Current work includes contributing to a Maori Land and Water Food Story (Storying Kaitiakitanga) and Maori housing issues (Kainga Tahi, Kainga Rua and the AKO Ahu).


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