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Title:Cultural Nationalism in the Age of Mass Media: Television and the Struggle Over Meaning in Wales
Author(s):Astroff, Roberta Jill
Department / Program:Speech Communication
Discipline:Speech Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Mass Communications
Abstract:From the late 1960s until 1982, a revitalized Welsh cultural nationalism mobilized over the issue of Welsh-language television. This study of that mobilization uses theories of culture and politics from the cultural studies literature to examine transformations in the discourses on culture during the years of debate. This meant recognizing how power is exercised within cultural processes and acknowledging the social production of meaning. The activists' confrontation with television as a cultural form, with the cultural industries, and with the British state led to overt struggles over the definition of culture and the nation. The debate changed not only Welsh television but also Welsh cultural nationalism and the position of the Welsh left on culture. Traditional Welsh cultural nationalists, relying on a Romantic, mystified, organic, historically anti-industrial concept of language and culture, found themselves demanding television, an industrial cultural form and a blatant expression of the materiality of culture and the social control embedded in that materiality. The Welsh Language Society, figuratively and literally the children of both these nationalists and the post-World War II, Labour-influenced, British social welfare state, took the traditional concepts of culture and language and found ways to act on those within that state, developing a discourse based on national sovereignty, internal colonialism, and cultural imperialism, and tactics based on direct action and non-violence. On the other hand, the television campaign provided a way back into cultural issues for the emerging national left. Cultural issues had been rejected earlier by leftist political activists as trivial, or as belonging to bourgeois or reformist ideologies. But with Western Marxism's rejection of the base-superstructure dichotomy, culture is becoming a political issue for the left. The locus of this latest cultural mobilization in Wales, involving an urban, industrialized cultural form, provided a potential terrain for a new cultural politics. The campaign, however, did not result in a new radical form of television. At most, Welsh television has been reformed, lessening the marginalization of the Welsh language, cultural products and producers. The debate over television, however, served to rearticulate cultural issues in Wales.
Issue Date:1987
Description:205 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1987.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8721577
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-05-13
Date Deposited:1987

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