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A Descriptive Engagement

Abhilasha Kumari

By Vamsee Juluri
Orient Longman, New Delhi, 2003, pp. 153, Rs. 300.00

VOLUME XXX NUMBER 1-2 January-February 2006

In a world trying to grapple with the contradictions of a global reality and a need for cultural identity rooted in local traditions and history Vamsee Juluri’s book Becoming a Global Audience tries to address some of these issues through her study of music television and specifically countdown shows. These shows with the arrival of satellite channels became very popular and channels were inundated with such shows. Juluri attempts to substantiate her theoretical position or positions through a theoretical and empirical engagement with media structures and the text audience interface in the context of countdown shows. The second area that Juluri tries to confront with a ‘generational wonder’ and a sense of ‘dismay’ is what appears to the author as a cultural storm unleashed by the ‘satellite invasion’ of 1991. She sees it as a shift from declining Nehruvian ideals to one of unabashed consumerism. During the study she is confronted with the reality of a changed India and the study attempts to face up to this change. The author sees this change as an aspect of a global phenomenon, an unfurling of political and economic forces on a worldwide scale and she identifies this phenomenon as having unilateral and totalitarian ambitions.   The academic purpose of the author in this study is to attempt to bring together divergent traditions of media research as audience research and international communication together at a time when according to the author such studies are the need of the hour. She looks at debates on international communication and globalization, audience studies with a political economy approach. She attempts to situate audience studies in the global context, and concurrently recognize postcoloniality as a fundamental condition of the global context. She also looks at debates within cultural studies about audience reception, particularly in the context of globalization. In this context she attempts to re-center India in the debates about media and globalization. According to her there is a very Indian experience of globalization, which cannot be dismissed.   In the case of India although the genre may be transnational content is national or sub-national. If countdown shows were classified on the basis of their music then only western countdown shows would be considered global given their worldwide outreach. While recognizing the domination of western media production, such a view would imply that the study of globalization would be restricted to the reception of western programming in various countries, ...

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