"Importing America" : a cross-cultural analysis of the impact of American television programmes in New Zealand.
Thesis DisciplineAmerican Studies
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
New Zealand has a significant level of exposure to American popular culture. One of the primary sites of contact is with television shows, produced in the United States, and played on New Zealand television networks. Utilising a methodology drawn from Ethnography, Cultural Studies and Communications research, this thesis analyses the tension between globalisation and the negotiation of a New Zealand national identity. This analysis develops through the use of interviews with New Zealand television executives and New Zealand audience members to examine how they construct "America" and "New Zealand" in relation to their discourses about power. For these two groups, American television programmes have become sites of contestation as individuals both embrace and reject, enjoy and negotiate their level of immersion within this mediated vision of American culture. This discourse illustrates how the interaction with American popular culture, through the television programmes people watch, defines and redefines individual's relationships to New Zealand culture. It also illustrates how television programmes have become sites of contention and contact between discourses of empowerment and disempowerment as they relate to the globalisation of American culture.