Listening across difference: Media and multiculturalism beyond the politics of voice

Routledge Journals, Taylor & Francis Ltd
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Continuum, 2009, 23 (4), pp. 445 - 458
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Research and policy on media and cultural diversity routinely emphasize speaking or 'voice', whether in mainstream, community or diaspora media. An established tradition also examines representation and critiques examples stereotyping and racialization. This paper extends these discussions to focus on questions of 'listening'. Attention to listening provokes important questions about media and multiculturalism: how do media enable or constrain listening across difference? Drawing on recent work in postcolonial feminism and political theory, this paper explores the productive possibilities of a shift beyond the politics of voice to explore 'listening across difference' in media studies and media advocacy work. To highlight listening shifts some of the focus and responsibility for change from marginalized voices and on to the conventions, institutions and privileges which shape who and what can be heard in the media.
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