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Film as Fieldwork  

Mark Pedelty and Elja Roy

This article is about making media as a method for studying media, specifically focusing on film. Production-based methodologies can be particularly revelatory, especially when it comes to better understanding aspects of media production that might not be accessible via textual methods and audience ethnography alone. Scholars in communication studies, media sociology, media anthropology, media literacy pedagogy, and film studies have argued that a praxis combining media production and reflexive analysis can help us to better understand “backstage” realities that are less accessible to textual analysis and audience research methodologies. Who or what “authors” a film? Working as a scholar–producer can usefully complicate notions of authorship in the field of media studies, moving the field from an implicit auteur model (the media “text” as “authored”) to more complex understandings of the collective and institutional processes involved in most filmmaking, and in media production more broadly. Production-oriented methods are advancing as new media scholars, accustomed to making media, enter the academy.


Globalization of Formal Debate Training, Civil Society, and Democratic Institutions  

David Worth

Despite myriad sponsoring organizations and formats around the world, student debates at multiple educational levels share some fundamental characteristics. A better understanding of these characteristics can illuminate the activity and the cultural and civilizational assumptions that constitute debate, as well as debate’s relationship to democratic thinking. Debate pedagogy exists as a part of forensics, an Aristotelian term for speech and debate. While oral disputation has classical roots, contemporary debate assumed a more recognizable form with European and British practices in the modern era. Debate then grew tremendously in the United States. Argument models, competition structures, and assumed fundamentals of the activity developed in the 20th century in the United States have been extended into the global debate community. The 2020 World University Debating Championship featured in-person debates between 1,177 students from 243 universities in 50 countries. Formal debates between college students from competing schools is promoted as a tool for critical thinking instruction and empowerment. Generally, this instruction is carried out by advisers, coaches, faculty, alumni, and volunteers. In some cases, debate aids self-education: Students run their own debate teams, using the structure to supplement their normal curricular education. College debate is intrinsically international. Debaters often travel internationally to compete. The events are international in scope and the issues debated are international by nature. Debates that focus on current events or perennial philosophical questions cannot avoid international elements and implications. Economics, interconnected international politics, international media, social media, and other forces ensure that debates cross borders conceptually if not physically, and even critique of borders has been a feature of intercollegiate debate for many years.


Global Music Piracy  

Neil W. Perry and Aram Sinnreich

Music has always been a public good, playing a central role in human society. Not merely a source of entertainment, it is also a medium for storytelling, news, and social bonding. Musicians began to professionalize during the Renaissance, and the rise of print publishing contributed to the formation of a nascent music industry. The book industry, which grew in economic and political strength after the widespread adoption of movable type, introduced the idea of legal monopoly—copyright—to reproduce works of authorship. In time, this was adopted by music publishers as well. In the two centuries since music was first copyrighted, music has become increasingly commoditized, and central to the adoption and sale of new communication technologies. Major technological shifts contributed to new legal and economic paradigms, from the mechanical reproduction of scores in the 19th century to piano rolls and recorded sound at the turn of the 20th century, to radio and television broadcasts a few decades later, to digital recording and network-based peer-to-peer (P2P) distribution at the turn of the present century. Rather than supplanting one another, emerging technologies worked symbiotically with previous ones, expanding the music industry ecology. Throughout this process, copyright law has continued to evolve and expand, serving as a central mechanism for industrial organization and economic exploitation. In the 1980s, new technologies, practices, and laws created the conditions for radical changes to the music industry. Digitization made music into a highly portable, easily distributable commodity, free from the sonic degradation inherent to copying analog media. Nondestructive editing, high-quality data compression, stable storage, relatively inexpensive production tools, and internet adoption helped to speed the creation and redistribution of digital music. Digital audio strained on the enforcement power of copyright owners; virtually overnight, a medium shaped by highly controlled distribution was recast as one in which control was practically impossible. In short order, the barriers to entry that had fortified the industry titans from competitors and freeloaders were disassembled and the lucrative economic model that had reigned for a century was disrupted. At the same time, new laws and treaties “harmonized” international copyright laws and enforcement—a development that exacerbated the tensions created by new digital communications platforms within media economies. Central to these disruptions were the commercial and noncommercial “piracy” that challenged copyright authority. Digital audio accelerated a new mode of composition—sampling—which grew rapidly in popularity and seemed tailored to problematize rights holders’ monopolies over recombinant uses of their work. Additionally, internet distribution gave recordings life outside the traditional industry structures. Finally, P2P file sharing enabled redistribution of music with virtually no technological barriers. This transformation coincided with a nosedive in music industry revenue. Despite numerous contributory factors, the industry placed responsibility squarely at the feet of music “piracy,” and spent the next two decades facilitating this narrative through draconian copyright enforcement, mass lawsuits against customers, and lobbying for stronger copyright.


Hindutva and Ethnonationalism in the Indian American Diaspora  

Rebecca de Souza

Hindu nationalism or “Hindutva” refers to a nearly hundred-year-old ethnonationalist project seeking to redefine people living in India as “Hindu” based on a territorial, religious, and cultural identity. The goal of Hindutva is to reconstruct India as a “Hindu Rashtra” (nation) through the exclusion, intimidation, and assimilation of non-Hindu groups. Communication is central to the study of Hindutva because of its focus on revisionist historical narratives involving the repositioning and realigning of religious groups in the Indian diasporic context. For example, Hindutva deploys primordial and xenophobic discourses to frame Muslims and Christians as the enemy, while building solidarity among those who identify as Hindu. In transnational contexts, Hindutva employs key linguistic tropes including “feelings of pride” in being Hindu and “feelings of being offended” when Hindu practices are tarnished to advance its political agenda. The narratives of pride and offense resonate deeply with diasporic audiences and are key ways in which Hindutva is made visible in the public sphere today. The study of Hindutva can be situated within the broader literatures of nationalism, diasporic or long-distance nationalism, and ethnonationalism and is therefore inextricably tied to communicative processes linked to identity and citizenship. Terms such as “transnational Hindutva” and “neo Hindutva” describe the movement of Hindutva across borders, which takes place through on-the-ground practices as well as via online networks. A number of political and cultural organizations, collectively referred to as the “Sangh,” have been established since the 1930s to carry out the goals of Hindutva around the world. In the United States, the primary goal of the Sangh is to constitute a “Hindu American” identity separate from an Indian American identity. The study of Hindutva involves interrogating the expansive and savvy online and offline network of Hindutva organizing, which transmits Hindutva messages locally and globally. Hindutva logics, rhetorics, and narratives are disseminated through local community events, traditional media venues (e.g., newspapers and newsletters), and online social media networks. Social media messenger applications such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter play an important role in spreading some of the most virulent forms of Hindutva messages today and expanding the Hindutva network globally. Hindu Indians living in the United States have contributed greatly to the development of Hindutva both materially and in moral terms. In its “soft” version, American Hindutva embraces an egalitarian form of Hinduism highlighting the universalism and tolerance of Hinduism and obscuring its connection to the Sangh. In its “hard” version, American Hindutva provides moral and financial support for the political activities of the Sangh, including violence against minorities and the election of Hindu nationalist leaders. Indian Americans enter into diasporic nationalism because of experiences of social dislocation that comes with migration as well as experiences of racism in the United States, which create fertile grounds for the development of Hindutva. Long-distance ethnonationalism is also nurtured by right-wing populist leaders, who deploy media infrastructures to expand their influence. The election of Narendra Modi, a self-identified Hindu nationalist, as prime minister in 2014 and 2019 has revitalized Hindu nationalism in online and offline spaces in the homeland and in the United States.


Hyper-Precarious Labor: Transnational Domestic Work  

Satveer Kaur-Gill and Mohan Jyoti Dutta

Transnational domestic work occurs in migration regimes that create hyper-precarious conditions for migrant workers performing care work. These hyper-precarious conditions produce intersecting marginalizing conditions that amplify inequalities and limit the mobility of migrant domestic workers, despite their movement from home to host country. The intersections of nationality, gender, race, socioeconomic status, and migration status reify the hyper-precarities faced while performing domestic work, giving rise to layers of communicative inequalities facing migrant domestic workers in the host country.


The Invention of Race in Turkey  

Matthew deTar

Racial thinking in the late Ottoman Empire and Turkey emerged out of a vast global network of hegemonic discourses. Modernity, colonialism, nationalism, and racism are mutually constitutive discourses with respect to their historical emergence in Europe, but they are also mutually constitutive as they emerge in other specific locations. Racisms that emerge subsequent and analogous to European racism help indicate the specific necessary connections among these kinds of broad overlapping discourses. The exploration of racism in Turkey holds significant potential for communication scholars as a means of refining theories of racism that do not typically focus on non-Western racism. The historical emergence of racism and racial thinking in Turkey also shaped the structure and content of Turkish nationalist history, making certain chronologies and “history-of-ideas” approaches to Turkish historiography fraught scholarly pursuits. Even explorations of the origins of the term Turk reflect this racial thinking, because the Turk concept only began circulating in the late Ottoman empire and early Turkish Republic alongside race science as the name of an ancient race. Race science is, however, only one domain of knowledge production and human experience, and it is not solely responsible for the invention of Turk as a race. Rather, modernization narratives of the 19th-century Ottoman Empire, a catastrophic series of wars in the Balkans, and contact with European nationalisms all uniquely helped establish racial thinking as a hegemonic discourse prior to the foundation of the Turkish Republic. More significantly, the horrors of the Armenian Genocide, the massive Greek population exchange, and policies of forced migration and assimilation toward Kurds during and after World War I materially established the hegemony of Turkish racial discourse and the presumed reality of a Turkish race itself. In the context of these events, Turkish nationalism must be understood not simply through its own idealistic lens as a project of civic republicanism, but instead as a discourse that emerged in connection with colonialist logics, racism, and modernity. Just as scholars have argued that European modernity is constitutively linked to colonialism and racism, Turkish nationalism embarked on a “modernizing” project beholden to colonialism and racism. Communication scholars interested in both the constitutive dimensions of discourse and the knowledge-producing effect of “universalization” as it appears in discourses like modernity, colonialism, racism, and nationalism will find that the Turkish historical encounter with these discourses offers important insight into the operation of universalization itself.


Methodological and Statistical Considerations in Studying Sexual Minority and Gender Diverse Relationships  

Gabriel A. León and Ashley K. Randall

Increasing the representation of diverse voices in relationship science requires statistical methodologies that are inclusive of individuals in relationships who identify as a sexual minority (i.e., lesbian, gay, or bisexual) or gender diverse (i.e., transgender, nonbinary, genderqueer, etc.) individuals. Research questions related to the initiation, development, and maintenance of romantic relationships for these individuals should be explored using quantitative methods that are sensitive to diversity and individual differences within a population. Analytical tools relevant to the study of interdependent, yet indistinguishable dyads, including references to extended technical guides for those wishing to conduct this work are presented.


Queering the Study of U.S. Military Family Communication  

Erin Sahlstein Parcell and Danielle C. Romo

Military families in the United States reflect diverse family forms. They include not only “traditional” families but also single service members, women service members, dual-career couples, service member mothers, single-parent service members, service members of color, cohabitating military service members (i.e., nonmarried couples), LGB service members, and transgender service members. However, the research primarily reflects white, heterosexual, cisgender, different sexed, married couples who are able-bodied with biological children as well as postpositivist and interpretivist perspectives; trends that parallel interpersonal and family communication studies broadly speaking. Given calls for new approaches within these areas, and in particular military family communication research, scholars should consider “queering” the study of military family communication by including individuals who identify as queer but also varying the research theoretically. Studies that bring attention to different types of military families (e.g., LGBTQ+ military families) would make significant contributions to the scholarship and make these families as well as their unique experiences visible. Informed by calls for critical military studies and the critical interpersonal and family communication framework (CIFC), recommendations are offered for future queer military family communication inquiry. First, a brief history of queer families in the military as well as the current state of military family communication scholarship are presented. Next, the CIFC framework, discourse dependence, and relational dialectics theory are discussed as conceptual paths for engaging in critical military family communication studies.


Queer Safe Spaces and Communication  

Lital Pascar, Yossi David, Gilly Hartal, and Brandon William Epstein

Historically, organizations and individuals have (un)consciously produced safe spaces out of various backgrounds and in myriad ways. Specifically, queer safe spaces represent a significant construct within queer discourses and practices that articulate the need for physical, psychological, rhetoric, virtual, and imagined safety. In this context, safety means being protected from heteronormative and patriarchal violence that shapes the everyday lives and subjectivities of queer and LGBT+ individuals in public and private spaces. Whether these are offline, online, physical, or educational settings, queer safe spaces are defined as relational and deliberative spaces in which unsafety cannot be completely undone. Queer safe spaces then provide refuge for activism, social and personal transformation, facilitation thereof for productive spaces of dialogue, and identity construction. Even though the term “queer safe space” is commonly used, it remains undertheorized and no comprehensive understanding of queer safe spaces, their social role, or the practices involved in producing them exists. This article therefore defines queer safe spaces by encompassing the use of a critical perspective to foreground their qualities and fallacies as well as their inherent dilemmas and contradictions.


Queer Temporalities  

Dustin Goltz

The political and ideological workings of temporality—how our engagement and understanding of time is culturally constructed and assigned meaning—has garnered much attention by queer theorists inside and beyond the field of communication. Specifically, queer temporality, as an interventionist project, interrogates the assumed naturalness of straight temporality, its governing logics, and its foreclosures. Stemming from the work of queer theorists such as Lee Edelman, Jack Halberstam, Jose Esteban Muñoz, and Elizabeth Freeman, queer temporality calls for reconsideration of how marriage, children, generativity, and inheritance define and confine cultural expectations of maturation, responsibility, happiness, and future. Additionally, queer temporality seeks to question how time is approached and performed, examining the political elements of these understandings. In short, queer temporality pushes against heteronormativity’s framing and disciplining of time, charting more queer ways to think about history, pace, relationships, notions of success, and the linear segmentation of past/present/future.