Anamik Saha (Goldsmiths, University of London) – Making Race in the Cultural Industries

Studies of race, media and ideology have long demonstrated how racial and ethnic minorities are represented in deeply damaging ways – either demonised, exoticised or rendered invisible. But such research, nearly always textual in nature, has been unable to offer an effective political response – other than to demand ‘authentic’ stories or representations. In this contribution, Anamik Saha calls for a ‘cultural industries’ approach to studying race and racism in the media.

Challenging purely textual cultural studies accounts of representation, he will argue that a radical cultural political programme is absolutely contingent upon production strategies – that is, an effective ‘politics of production’. Situating the issue of representation explicitly within a cultural industries framework gives us a more nuanced and complex understanding of the ideological role of the media in the making of race, which in turn leads to a broader understanding of the governance of racial and ethnic identities under neoliberalism.

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