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Talking Back to Globalization

Texts and Practices


Edited By Brian Michael Goss, Mary Rachel Gould and Joan Pedro-Carañana

Globalization is one of the most widely circulated, high-stakes buzzwords of the past generation; yet discussion of the topic is often encased in paradox and contention over what globalization is, to whom and where it may (or may not) apply, and to what effect. In Talking Back to Globalization: Texts and Practices, contributors provide a series of case studies that stress the interplay between culture, politics, and commerce.
Interviews with Natalie Fenton and Radha S. Hegde survey globalization and its interpenetration with the spheres of journalism, activism, social media, and identity. The overview furnished by the interviews is followed by the volume’s two additional extended sections, «Texts» and «Practices.»
Chapters in the «Texts» section seek clues about globalization through its insinuation into mediated forms. The diverse selection of cases cover television, films, online travel web pages, blues music, and the political valences of Portuguese neo-fado.
Chapters in the «Practices» section address more diffused cases than media texts. Their analyses largely orient toward institutional concomitants of globalization that precede the subject’s experience of it. Chapters cover the trajectory of the European university, campaigns to shape journalistic practice during the Cold War, the posture of intellectuals vis-à-vis globalization, and the ideology that animates the Facebook experience.
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Chapter Eight: Strategic Sociability: US-led Journalist Reorientation Programs and Cold War Media Practices


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Strategic Sociability

US-led Journalist Reorientation Programs and Cold War Media Practices


Journalism history is a rich field of inquiry full of surprising narratives. What can a series of Cold War-era journalist training programs teach us about globalization? This chapter examines an aspect of the history of an American initiative to reorient international journalists that began in the aftermath of World War II. A series of reorientation seminars sponsored by a consortium of public and private American institutions was designed to cultivate faith in democratic institutions abroad without overtly imposing democratic rule. The seminars reveal a kaleidoscopic overlay of motives, especially for the Americans involved. Because the programs had roots in the reconstructive efforts of the occupying forces in Germany and Japan (Wrenn, 2010), we can trace a complicated humanitarian impulse tied to a decided sense of anti-totalitarianism. Over time, however, postwar reconstruction blended into a Cold War propaganda prophylaxis, and it all happened inside the boundaries of what amounted to a decades-long globalizing media project.

The orientation seminars reveal a pair of delicious ironies. The first stems from the problem of spreading democratic institutions without seeming to impose them on other nations (Guilhot, 2005; Sproule, 1997). The second is similarly tricky: during an era when American journalism proclaimed the exceptional value of press freedom, U.S. journalism was simultaneously bound tightly to the state and the marketplace (Blanchard, 1986; Simpson, 1994). The...

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