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Volume 35, Issue 1, 2016
Author Mariekie BurgerSource: Communicare : Journal for Communication Sciences in Southern Africa 35, pp iii –viii (2016)More Less
Historically a strong strand of critical research in the broader field of communication and media studies has focused on the market-driven media space dominated by a handful of large media corporations (Jenkins, 2016:33-40). Critique against the market-oriented practice of concentration of ownership intensified with globalisation circled around the tendency of multinational media to focus on large populations and media products that 'travel well' to maximise global distribution opportunities. Focusing on profit and audiences poses a threat to the diversity of voices (and cultures, opinions, identity options, and so forth) being represented in the media. The advent of the internet and audience-focused media genres (such as the reality genre) was first celebrated as the panacea to the lack of diverse views presented by oligopolistic media as a partial democratisation of the media (Andrejevic, 2015; Couldry, 2015). This optimism waned over time - until the introduction of online social media platforms. New audience-generated platforms promised ordinary people the opportunity to be producers of mass-mediated communication (Andrejevic, 2004:24-47; Andrejevic, n.d.), as well as opportunities to facilitate mass selfcommunication (Castells in Van Dijk, 2012:182), and for self-(re)presentation (Thumim, 2012), and for self-identity expressions (Burger, 2015:264-286). Hence a growing body of scholarly work is intrigued by reasons why and ways in which 'audiences' - that is ordinary people or media consumers - take ownership of the opportunities afforded to them to participate in producing mass-mediated communication (Couldry, 2015; Jenkins, 2015).
Source: Communicare : Journal for Communication Sciences in Southern Africa 35, pp 1 –20 (2016)More Less
This article critically examines the conventional researcher-researched relationship that empowers the researcher over the researched. The orthodoxy of objectivity - claimed to locate the researchers as neutral observer - is here argued to be a power relation that has an excluding effect where subject communities are concerned. By means of an archaeological case study that included mapping and interpretation of ancient rock engravings we offer a new way of negotiating interpretations. This new way involved four members from a Bushman community who helped us navigate spiritual, ontological and environmental dimensions in making sense of rock art.
Source: Communicare : Journal for Communication Sciences in Southern Africa 35, pp 21 –39 (2016)More Less
This article explores, through a basic conceptual-theoretical analysis and a review of relevant literature, the usefulness of employing the communicative action theory of Jürgen Habermas in theorising the elusive notions of participation and participatory communication theory as applicable to project based development (Burnside-Lawry, 2012; Chang & Jacobson, 2010; Jacobson, 2003; Jacobson & Storey, 2004; Ramella & De La Cruz, 2000; Servaes, 1999). The problem with defining participation is that it is ambiguous - both notionally and in actual contexts - as the concept comprises a myriad of dissimilar epistemologies, methodologies and imagined goals, while also representing disparate evaluative measures in thinking about and determining whether or not participation has actually occurred in its various applied settings (Chitnis, 2005; Huesca, 2008; Jacobson & Storey, 2004; McAnany, 2012; Melkote & Steeves, 2001; Morris, 2003; Wilkins, 2000).
Author P. BoshoffSource: Communicare : Journal for Communication Sciences in Southern Africa 35, pp 40 –58 (2016)More Less
The relationship between a personal identity and the state-issued Identity Document (ID) is the focus of this article, which examines stories published in the "Horror Affairs" column of the popular South African tabloid, the Daily Sun. These highly emotional stories tell of the despair and desperation felt by individuals at the lack of an ID book, which is blamed on the inefficiency of the state Department of Home Affairs. In order to explicate this relationship I make use of Agamben's notion of "bare life" and the camp in conjunction with Lacan's idea of the Symbolic Order to argue that if the Identity Document provides the means by which the individual is made to signify, the lack of an Identity Document threatens to reduce the individual to "bare life". By publishing the stories of those deprived of the visibility that the ID provides, the Daily Sun, I show, directly engages in this exchange, and, in contrast to Home Affairs, bestows its own even stronger gift of identity by the fact of appearance in its pages.
Ons sal antwoord op jou roepstem : Steve Hofmeyr and Afrikaner identity in post-apartheid Afrikaans cinemaAuthor C. BroodrykSource: Communicare : Journal for Communication Sciences in Southern Africa 35, pp 59 –76 (2016)More Less
This article argues that Steve Hofmeyr's Afrikaner identity, an identity he performs across various media platforms, including a selection of feature length Afrikaans films, is a paradoxical hybrid of Afrikaner exceptionalism and claims to victimhood. The exceptionalism and self-imposed victimhood are engaged in an across-media dialogue, as Steve Hofmeyr's social media and political activist persona speak to his participation in three Afrikaans language films: Pretville (Korsten, 2012), Platteland (Else, 2011) and Treurgrond (Roodt, 2015). Hofmeyr's presence foregrounds and exacerbates an already problematic ideological context in which attempts at multiculturalism are rendered moot by the conservatism in these films, especially where land - the farm - is concerned. While Pretville invents a 1950s South African town that fails to correspond to any inhabited reality of that time, Platteland offers an Afrikaans musical-western wherein Hofmeyr dominates as patriarch. Finally, the attempts of Treurgrond at raising farm murder awareness are nullified through casting Hofmeyr as a farmer facing a land claim, given Hofmeyr's active campaigning against an alleged Boer genocide.
A vampire and a damsel in distress : a postfeminist analysis of selected female South African viewers' perceptions of the romance between Bella and Edward in the film Twilight (2008)Source: Communicare : Journal for Communication Sciences in Southern Africa 35, pp 77 –93 (2016)More Less
The film Twilight produced by Wyck Godfrey, Mark Morgan and Greg Mooradian and directed by Catherine Hardwicke, enjoyed global box office success, and proved particularly popular with female filmgoers. Despite the commercial success of the film, it was derided specifically by feminist critics for its portrayal of women and heterosexual relationships. Within the context of postfeminist views of gender roles, this article explores how selected female South African viewers' between the ages of 18 and 45 living in Johannesburg perceived the romance between Edward and Bella in the film Twilight (2008). Participants were divided into age-determined focus groups and each participant completed a questionnaire containing a list of questions around the genre of the film, their feelings about individual characters and their reasons for watching the film. Interview data in the form of quotes from individual participants has been included in the article.
From sick old man to mythical hero : a comparison of the Independent Online's representation of Nelson Mandela in 2010 and 2013Source: Communicare : Journal for Communication Sciences in Southern Africa 35, pp 94 –107 (2016)More Less
In his autobiography, Conversations with Myself, Mandela spoke about his concern that the world had a false image of him as a saint and semi-god (Mandela, 2012). However, it can be noted that Mandela and the ANC carefully built up his symbolic power in the press and media to represent him as "some kind of Messiah" (Ottaway, 1993:11) who had led South Africa to freedom almost single-handedly, and in doing so cemented his ideals of liberation, peace and non-racialisation in the imagination of the world. However, as Mandela's health deteriorated before his death, his constructed immortality was tested as society began to question if his legacy could live on without the physical presence of 'Mandela the man'. Consequently, this article examines the representation of Mandela in his few final years. In an examination of the Independent Online news repository in 2010 and 2013, this research highlights how 'Madiba's Magic' was a carefully constructed media image and one that, during his long illness, forced South Africans, and the world, to recognise his 'humanness'. The paper concludes, however, by documenting the immense power of Mandela's legacy as played out in the press, and how, after death, his carefully constructed legacy rose above the damage of his prolonged illness, elevating him from a sick old man and reinforcing him as a mythical revolutionary.
Author A. Du PreezSource: Communicare : Journal for Communication Sciences in Southern Africa 35, pp 108 –125 (2016)More Less
In what follows the idea of the online double is historically contextualised and analysed. Beginning with the contemporary idea of the 'selfie' as online self-induced double, I proceed to discuss the Doppelgänger's (double) mythical and literary roots, in order to expand the discussion of the selfie to include the online double. Two instances of the online double are unpacked, namely the double as shadow and the double as a stand-in or alter-ego, which correspond significantly with Marshall McLuhan's analysis of the Narcissus myth and technological use. McLuhan reveals the doubled nature of our technological engagement that leads to either self-amputation or self-amplification. In my analysis, the double as shadow is correlated with self-amputation and the double as alter-ego with self-amplification. It is argued that the double as shadow is evoked online through the mining of data regarding the self that is captured consciously and unconsciously to create what is known as the Data Doppelgänger. The figure of the Doppelgänger is further vividly conjured through virtual stand-ins or alter-egos that act on behalf of the self to create a tele-presence through examples such as Project Lifelike and rep.licants.org.
Miss-represented : a critical analysis of the visibility of black women in South African Glamour magazineSource: Communicare : Journal for Communication Sciences in Southern Africa 35, pp 126 –171 (2016)More Less
This paper reports on a quantitative content analysis of 2,699 images of women present in one year's worth of the South African edition of Glamour magazine. Motivated by critical race theory, black feminist thought and critical consumption studies, the aim of the study was to determine how often black women were represented in the sample and, further, to examine the particular body types and hairstyles preferred in the aesthetic of black women featured. The findings showed that even though Glamour magazine claims that 65% of its readership is comprised of black women, they feature in only 30% of images, and when present, have hairstyles and body types most commonly associated with white supremacist ideas of beauty. The (albeit unsurprising) failure of Glamour magazine to adequately represent a diversity of black femininities is theorised as a result of pervasive neo-liberal, racist and patriarchal structures of power in post-apartheid South Africa. We argue that the case study illuminates a racially charged post-feminist moment, in which black women are represented as valuable only in terms of their proximity to a white ideal, and valued only in terms of their lucrative potential as an aspirant, compliant mass market.