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Media (Events), National Identity and the Eurovision Song Contest

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Media (Events), National Identity and the Eurovision Song Contest

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  1. Media (Events), National Identity and the Eurovision Song Contest – Or why The Netherlands will never give Belgium ‘douze points’ Hilde Van den Bulck

  2. Eurovision Song Contest Each year, our fine continent's cultural trouts and tiddlers wriggle together to suck at the very Euroteat of Eurodiversity. They wear Euroshoes, drink Eurobooze, and then they sing some songs and invite each other to pick the least worst one(Bubblegun.com)

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  4. Media and Collective identity • Invention, articulation, promotion • Traditional stress on national identity • Anderson/Gellner: press and radio • Reith: Public Service Broadcasting • Commercial broadcasters • Other forms of collective identity • Gay identity (see Alexander)

  5. Forms of articulation • ‘Banal nationalism’ in every programme • stereotypes • Imagery • Deixis • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnkCQpawrb0 • ‘Hot nationalism’ • Media events • Media spectacles

  6. Eurovision Song Contest • °May 24,1956 • EUROVISION (EBU), • Parallelled political ideas

  7. ESC as media event/spectacle • ESC in international event culture (Björnberg) ‘an event of which the ingredients of participation – music, language and dance – are all potential indicators of national culture’ • ESC as media event (Dyan & Katz) • ‘central values’, ‘aspect of collective memory’ • positive, consensual • ESC as media spectacle (Kellner) • ‘cultural phenomena that embody social values and dramatize conflicts’ • negative: hegemonic

  8. ESC & articulation of collective identities • National identities: • us • versus them, • essentialism • European identity/identities • European unity in diversity • ‘The Nordic Countries’, ‘The Balkan’ • West versus The Rest

  9. Forms of articulation • Articulation of collective identity through: • Song and performer/performance • promo/host • voting behaviour • off screen comments • collective memory

  10. Song & Performance • National idenity: Essentialism, folklore, • Ruslana Wild Dance (Ukraine, 2004)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEXdwwHWLSU In the very heart of Europe in the majestic kingdom of the Carpathian mountains; there lives an ancient culture of the mountains that possesses unique mystic rituals, mountainous rhythms and dances. Ruslana has united the mysteries of the mountains with a new energy and power. (Ruslana,2004e) “rejuvenation, novelty, authenticity, originality, the ‘real,’ and the spiritual” • Croatia, 1993 (first participation) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKanpKMeLfQ eagerness to be European vs East • ‘Regional’ identity: • Scandinavian style (ABBA and onwards) • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTFec_mrD-cQdfsklm • Yet: Euro-pop • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rW54iRBPDuc&feature=related • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_Db6ruoT_k

  11. Promo / Host • Hosting offers a city/state/broadcaster opportunity to represent itself to Europe through the ‘master narratives’ it attaches to the entire show (Bolin) • ‘Putting the local on show for the global’ (Harvey) • http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=eoNv_2j3HHw&feature=related • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYtrhiL6_5E • http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=wYa4JBxsUog&feature=related • http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=vFsimDfpaZk&feature=related • http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=itP7H6Uo29s&feature=related • Presenting each country http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ms2jzEm4o0

  12. Voting behaviour • http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=QNu-yXv6J5U&feature=related

  13. Voting behaviour

  14. Voting behaviour

  15. Evaluating bloc voting • Regional taste groups? • Expressing political views through ESC? • United Kingdom's 2003 "nul points" debacle linked to "post-Iraq backlash" ? • obvious ancient historical affinities • between Greece and Cyprus, • Croatia and the other seceded republics of the former Yugoslavia • Voters have realised that it increases their own country's chance of winning the contest? • Collusion = a meme = a horizontally spreading cultural behaviour that has progressively colonised the contest(Dawkins, 1976)

  16. Off Screen Comments ‘There is a little Neighbourhood voting going on’ ‘I ’ve said it so many times it has become a cliché: we won the cold war but we lost the Eurovision’ • http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=HoJzeI4YG4w&feature=channel

  17. Collective memory • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRfve3wHYUY

  18. Not the whole story • Entertainment, Kitch, Embarrassment • Other collective identities

  19. Some useful references Baker, C. (2008) 'Wild Dances and Dying Wolves: Simulation, Essentialization, and National Identity at the Eurovision Song Contest', Popular Communication, 6(3): 173-189 Coleman, Stephen(2008) 'Why is the Eurovision Song Contest Ridiculous? Exploring a Spectacle of Embarrassment, Irony and Identity', Popular Communication, 6(3): 127-140. Torres, G. (2005); Pan-European, Regional and National Identity in the Eurovision Song Contest’. Central European University Budapest: Department of Political Science.. Pavlyshyn, M. (2006) ‘Envisioning Europe: Ruslana’s Rhetoric of Identity’, SEEJ, 50(3): 469- 485. Le Guern, P. ‘From National Pride to Global Kitsch: the Eurovision Song Contest’, [http://wjfms.ncl.ac.uk/leguWJ.htm ] Gathereer, D. (2006) ‘Comparison of Eurovision Song Contest Simulation with Actual Results Reveals Shifting Patterns of Collusive Voting Alliances’, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 9(2): Yair, G. and Mamam, D. 1996. ‘The persistent structure of hegemony in the Eurovision Song Contest’, Acta Sociologica 39: 309-325