Cultural identity, hybridity and minority media : community access radio and migrants in New Zealand.
Thesis DisciplineMedia and Communication
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This thesis analyses three Christchurch-based migrant communities – Filipino, Nepalese and Iranian – and their radio programmes on Access Radio station Plains FM. It argues that these radio programmes are participatory media platforms. These communities have easy access to structures of feedback and participation which provide opportunities to become involved in the content production and decision-making processes of the radio programmes. The participatory practices place these programmes close to an ideal of alternative media where boundaries between producers and audiences are blurred and audiences emerge as co-creators or prosumers of the content. The research investigates how migrant communities value their local radio programmes in this digital era where media platforms are increasingly becoming transnational, and technology has facilitated diasporic populations to receive media content from their countries of origin in any host society. Migrants prefer radio programmes in their native language as a source of news, information and entertainment. Although those audience segments can easily receive information from mainstream media, they find their own radio programmes more authentic and intimate. The thesis finds that the radio programmes connect and provide orientation between migrants, their countries of origin and New Zealand society. The radio programmes are the platform where migrants can practice their cultures and languages and transfer those cultural practices and languages to future generations. The programmes also support migrant populations’ integration in the host society, by providing local information useful for their everyday life. The research traces the memories of migrants by employing in-depth interviews and focus-group discussions to understand these radio programmes’ role in building a sense of community during disasters in their countries of origin. The community radio programmes work as influential platforms for the migrant communities to practice their community public spheres and to negotiate their cultural identities in an increasingly multicultural New Zealand.