|2003 Annual Report|
|Written by Keyan Tomaselli|
1. SEMIOTICS OF THE ENCOUNTER
Research leader: Prof Keyan Tomaselli" Encounters in the Kalahari" (1999), a Visual Anthropology double issue edited by Prof Keyan Tomaselli, was reprinted in November 2003 by Taylor and Francis. The issue offers a revisionist history of the Marshall Family Expeditions to the Kalahari in the 1950s, the films by John Marshall of the period, and examines contemporary issues in anthropological film making, development and tourism. Funders of this research included the Smithsonian Institution where Tomaselli was elected as an Honorary Research Associate (1994-2000) in its Department of Anthropology, the Centre for Science Development, and the University of Natal Research Fund.
A second theme issue, co-edited by Tomaselli and MA student, Vanessa McLennan-Dodd, has been published in Cultural Studies <--> Critical Methodologies (2003). Authored by Tomaselli, McLennan-Dodd and CCMS Honours and MA students, it is entitled "From One to An-Other: Auto- Ethnographic Explorations in Southern Africa". The issue examines auto-ethnographic methods and cultural studies research within the context of cultural tourism and marginalised communities in the Kalahari and Zululand.
Completing the trilogy is a forthcoming issue of Current Writing (2004) also written and edited by Tomaselli and McLennan-Dodd, with CCMS students. Entitled: "Writing in the San/d, Video and Photography", the articles explore students' encounters with the Kalahari research experience expressed through their creative writing, dramatic narrative and video productions. Further publications from this ongoing research project have, or will appear, in Visual Anthropology , Society for Visual Anthropology Review, American Anthropologist, Screening the Past, Cahiers d'etudes Africaines, Current Writing and others. Dr Matt Durington, a Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow who joined CCMS in June 2003 is contributing to this project with a video and article which revisits the hunting hypothesis. Dr Samuel Lelievre, an HSRC Post-Doctoral Research Fellow has been working on issues relating to African cinema more generally, and co-edited a theme issue of CinemAction on the topic, and will be editing a theme issue of Cahiers d'etudes Africaines in 2004.
A book by a CCMS graduate, Sacha Clelland-Stokes, deriving from her 2002 MA thesis, is due to be published by a specialist visual anthropology press in 2004. It's titled: Representing Aborigonality (Intervention Press: Denmark) and offers close textual analysis of othering and becoming relationships as depicted in films involving aboriginals in Botswana, Australia and New Zealand
Tomaselli and McLennan-Dodd are working on a fourth theme issue on CCMS's work in the Kalahari and KwaZulu-Natal in relation to issues of development, participatory research and communication for development is in preparation, entitled "Where's the Communication in Development Communication?" Discussions are currently under way with a publisher.
Funds for the last three research and video production projects were made available by the National Research Foundation, and the University of Natal, with assistance from the Protea Hotel, Upington.. Research affiliates such as Nelia Oets have contributed vehicles, intellectual labour, and other inputs on a voluntary basis.
2. STATE OF THE DISCIPLINE: COMMUNICATION STUDIES
3. CONVERGENCE AND DIVERGENCE in the Media and Communication Landscape: a comparative study between southern Africa and the Nordic region.
This South African - Norwegian collaborative project involves CCMS and the Department of Communication, University of Oslo. R100 000 was secured by Keyan Tomaselli and Helge Ronning as seed funding in 2003 to plan for the project, to start in 2004 on a budget of R675 000. Funding from contingent projects from the University of Oslo and the NRF will see a total budget for 2004-5 of over R1 million. The project will be led by Prof Ruth Teer-Tomaselli (CCMS) from KwaZulu-Natal and Prof Helge Ronning (Oslo).
The project will be conducted against the background of the central importance of communication, information and media recognised by the United Nations convening a World Summit on the Information Society at the end of 2004. The project entails a comparative study of southern African and Nordic media and communication landscapes, particularly as they are marked out by the dialectical processes of convergence/divergence and globalisation/localisation. The main theoretical inspirations for the project as a whole will be drawn from: a) theories of convergence, and the obverse process of divergence, as technological, content/cultural, economic, and /geographic/political issues;
Research questions include: What are the contours of convergence and divergence that mark out the cultural and communication terrains within two comparable regions? How does a comparative study between a developing media and cultural economy and a developed northern economy, both of which include elements of First Nations communities, advance understanding of these processes?
The project will address broader issues of the information society that have implications of an ethical and legal character, as well as economic and technological connotations, specifically in telecommunications, broadcasting and the Internet. Specific attention will be paid to the impact of 'new media', changing technology, particularly digitalisation in the spheres of both production and delivery and satellite transmission. The reception and meaning making potentialities of content, including the ways in which audiences receive, use and interpret information, will be central to the concerns of this research. The processes embodied in the circuit of information are multiple, interdependent and at times, contradictory. For the purposes of the present research, five nodal points have been identified.
An exchange of Ph.D students and staff will occur as part of the project. Kristin Orgeret from Oslo will be working in CCMS between June 2003-June 2004, joined in 2004 by Tanja Storsul and Gunnar Liestol, while CCMS's William Heuva and Teer-Tomaselli will be located in Oslo for a few months each during 2004 and/or 2005.
4. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
In southern Africa, previous research coordinated by Keyan Tomaselli relates to the regional political economy of the media, with regard to core and periphery interrelations, funded from various sources since 1996 (NRF, World Association for Christian Communication [WACC], University of Oslo). A central feature of this analysis of globalisation/localisation, mediatisation and its reach into the geographic margins, has been comparative studies on the nature of the Kalahari San and rural Zulu encounters with modernity, media and community attempts at developing informal, local regulation in managing these encounters and representations o the observed. In the case of the San, studies involve issues of representation, intellectual property rights and negotiations over these. This work amongst the San and the Zulu has explored questions of co-authorship, new participatory research methodologies and self-reflexive auto-ethnographies. This ongoing project has analyzed received assumptions about development, the market value accorded by First Peoples to indigenous information, and their engagement with media production companies. Questions of identity, representation and reception - both local and global - interlink with all these concerns as studies of the margins often reveal much sharper contradictions still to be experienced by the centres.
This and other research will be reported and discussed at the 2004 International Research Seminar on Political economy of the Southern African Media, to be hosted by CCMS under the auspices of the Southern African and South-South Working Group on Media, Culture and Communication, co-ordinated by Keyan Tomaselli. Participants will be drawn from South Africa, Botswana, Ghana, Malawi, Namibia, Norway, USA, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, amongst other countries
5. ENTERTAINMENT EDUCATION
Significant support from the Johns Hopkins University Centre for Communication Programs since 2002 in excess of R100 000 a year has funded student research at MA and Ph.D level on the topic. This research has a public health communication orientation, and a number of papers and research reports have appeared on the CCMS wesbsite: ( www.nu.ac.za/ccms/mediacommunication/publichealth_default.htm ). Articles from this work are being prepared for publication. Research leaders include Adjunct Professor Lynn Dalrymple, who is also Director of DramAiDE, and Arnold Shepperson.
Students in this module carried out a variety of EE research projects or interventions in 2003. Most of the projects either continued research in previously-examined areas, or developed small interventions that focused on HIV/AIDS prevention in various ways. Among the latter were a pilot campaign to publicise Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) in High Schools in previously disadvantaged areas; publicising African media products of non-South African origin (in this case, from Lesotho) to foreign students on UND campuses; producing drug-abuse awareness action media posters in schools; and developing industrial theatre for use in KwaZulu-Natal factories. A very innovative project used action media to produce and record a song by and for the children at a school for the cerebral palsied, a project that has raised new questions about the forms of learning possible in learning-disabled environments. Further possible research deriving from this intervention may help to shed light on the role of music in behaviour change.
6. CULTURE OF SAFETY ON SOUTH AFRICAN MINES
Safety in Mines Research Advisory Committee (SIMRAC): CCMS obtained a small grant from SIMRAC to pursue initial inquiry into the elements required for a sustainable Culture of Safety in South African mines. As part of an ongoing PhD project, oArnold Shepperson has begun to review the state of relevant archives in conjunction with other players in the field, like the Chamber of Mines and the Mine Health and Safety Council. During research trips to Johannesburg, Shepperson co-ordinated CCMS findings with those of others, although the pragmaticist logical framework of our research retains a unique dimension that other research institutions have not as yet examined.
The Safety in Mines Research Advisory Committee (SIMRAC) was established in the early 1990s as a statutory body to continue the work of earlier private research oversight committees. After the promulgation of the Minerals and Energy Act (1996), SIMRAC's brief has been widened to cover occupation health issues with the same level of scrutiny as had previously been granted safety. At present, SIMRAC's research support ranges from engineering problems like reduction of rock-drill noise, geological research into seismic failure detection and prevention, and sociological inquiry into health management organization and, in the case of CCMS, the promotion of a culture of safety.
7. MEMORY AND MARKERS: COLLECTIVE MEMORY. NEWSWORTHINESS AND THE GLOBAL MEDIA PROJECT
This project has been undertaken by the Global Media Generations, an international group, which studied via a comparative methodology what media events are recalled by three different age cohorts over eight different countries. What is remembered, how and why, is the aim of the project. The analysis is concerned both with individual memory, and crucially, collective memory, the theorisation ofgwhich gves greater emphasis to the social context than to autobiographial, personal memory. The project in Souh Africa has been conducted by Professor Ruth Teer-Tomaselli and has included graduate students.
Two separate studies were undertaken for the international project: the first covering the memories of three generations of South Africans; the second, a comparative study across the nine participant countries of media markers - i.e. those national and international events which were remembered, and the the associative 'triggers' which sparked the recollections in conjunction with the media usage of the various age cohorts in the different countries. The internal South African project focussed on the media usage, memories and identity-creation of youthful audiences. Six projects were undertaken, culminating in four CCMS Master's dissertations and two Doctoral theses.