National Identity In Australia As Presented By Television Broadcast Television.

1848 words - 7 pages

Using examples from your own observations of television programs discuss Barker's contention that

"National Identity is a form of imaginative identification with that nation state as expressed through symbols and discourses. Thus, nations are not only political formations but also systems of cultural representation so that national identity is continually reproduced through discursive action."

(Barker, 1999, pages 64-65)

We live in an imagined community. Australia. And as citizens of this nation, we are Australians - this is who we are, it is our national identity. Benedict Anderson defines a nation as an imagined community where national identity is constructed through symbols and rituals. It is "Imagined" because

"the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the images of the communion..."

(Anderson, 1983)

This is a defining theory as to what constitutes a nation - it exists, in part, as an imagined community, within our minds. There are finite territorial boundaries and political formations that endure and change

"the political structures endure and change while the symbolic and discursive dimensions of national identity often narrates and creates the idea of origins, continuity and tradition"

(Barker, 1999, page 26)

But beyond that is our definition of ourselves. Our identity. It is not a fixed thing but a description of ourselves. A representation that is produced (and continually reproduced) through the various symbols and discourses (and rituals) with which we identify, based on the idea that identity is not fixed but created and built on, always in process. Identities are constituted in discourse, that is, identities are narrated by discursive constructions. Identities are formed within and through these systems of cultural representations.

Barker considers the systems of cultural representation that define national identity as non-tangible entities, as entities that exist as symbols and discourses (and rituals) and within the context of Australian television these discursive and symbolic elements are bound to the dominant ideologies of Australian television.

Consider the ideologies of masculine discourses. It is important to consider these discourses in this debate about Australian culture, identity and television because television is the major communicative device for disseminating such cultural representations, representations that constitute cultural identity. Television has provided a proliferating resource for both the deconstruction and the construction of cultural identities. That is, television has become a leading resource for the construction of national identity in Australia, where the ideologies of masculine discourses and symbols (and rituals) dominate. There are so many examples of this, that it is hard choosing just one.

Consider the national obsession with football. Is it really an obsession? There are...

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