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(Be)Longing Media: Minority Radio between Cultural Retention and Renewal
Unformatted Document Text:  10 am more interested in those who seek to reconcile and build beyond the two frames of reference available to them. In a similar vein, the persistence in using the term ‘ethnic’ to identify minority media not only evokes the notion of uncontaminated identities but reduces a potential for creativity and a way of dealing with conflicts of difference to what Gilroy calls “…the simple process of invariant [cultural] repetition” (2000:13). The little interest diasporic media have garnered among media scholars is somewhat indicative of this unfounded view. How else can we explain why radio stations like radio Sunrise in London and Radio Beur in Paris and others like them on the air for more than 15 years have never been submitted to research, except for few non-academic publications? 1 It is true that diasporic communities themselves can’t resist the temptations of essentializing their cultures and there are examples of that in the media as well. Hamid Naficy’s research on exilic media among Iranians in Los Angeles is a good case in point. Exilic television, music videos, radio programs and films, he maintains, capitalize on a highly-marketable condition of nostalgia and fetishization of the homeland as it existed before the Islamic revolution because for many such a condition constitutes a defense mechanism against the image of Iran and Iranians in American mainstream culture (Naficy, 1993). Naficy provides an example of diasporic agency whereby media offer both a space for conscious resistance as well as a symptom of an exilic reality. What may appear on Iranian exilic television and cinema as a ‘mimicry’ of a purely imagined past may also be a strategy of defense and resistance. It is as Naficy explains here a rite of passage from ambivalence to clarity: 1 Sunrise and Radio Beur now called BeurFM

Authors: Echchaibi, Nabil.
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10
am more interested in those who seek to reconcile and build beyond the two frames of
reference available to them.
In a similar vein, the persistence in using the term ‘ethnic’ to identify minority
media not only evokes the notion of uncontaminated identities but reduces a potential for
creativity and a way of dealing with conflicts of difference to what Gilroy calls “…the
simple process of invariant [cultural] repetition” (2000:13). The little interest diasporic
media have garnered among media scholars is somewhat indicative of this unfounded
view. How else can we explain why radio stations like radio Sunrise in London and
Radio Beur in Paris and others like them on the air for more than 15 years have never
been submitted to research, except for few non-academic publications?
1
It is true that
diasporic communities themselves can’t resist the temptations of essentializing their
cultures and there are examples of that in the media as well. Hamid Naficy’s research on
exilic media among Iranians in Los Angeles is a good case in point. Exilic television,
music videos, radio programs and films, he maintains, capitalize on a highly-marketable
condition of nostalgia and fetishization of the homeland as it existed before the Islamic
revolution because for many such a condition constitutes a defense mechanism against
the image of Iran and Iranians in American mainstream culture (Naficy, 1993). Naficy
provides an example of diasporic agency whereby media offer both a space for conscious
resistance as well as a symptom of an exilic reality. What may appear on Iranian exilic
television and cinema as a ‘mimicry’ of a purely imagined past may also be a strategy of
defense and resistance. It is as Naficy explains here a rite of passage from ambivalence to
clarity:
1
Sunrise and Radio Beur now called BeurFM


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