(Note: I’ve posted comments and summaries of the texts of several books that I have had in my Master’s in Communications degree. This isn’t one of them, though it is by one the professors I have had for said degree. But it is the book I have most enjoyed reading from that academic background. I am sharing my own perspective on the book, and doubtless have missed much of the scholarly point and may even have misunderstood some of it. For the scholarly among you, I apologize for that. For the rest of you, I encourage you to read more deeply than you usually do with my “scholarly” reviews. This one is more fun, and more worth it.)
Studying Up, Down and Sideways: Conclusions and Departures
I made a quasi-conclusion of my own with my notes on the last chapter. Here is where Shlossberg starts his own conclusion.
He gives a quote from Saha that I think is a good statement of the dynamic tensions of this situation: “Ethnic identities do not exist in a pure state prior to commodification, but are reproduced through the social and material processes of cultural production itself … Commodification as a process is enabling as well as constraining.” (Shlossberg 214).
His conclusion, alas, has no real story to it, so it isn’t as fun reading. Not that I am saying the book is meant to be read for fun, but I have found it an interesting read.
One of his conclusions is that “self-reflexive and self-critical work is needed to examine and address how discourse and scholarship within the field has itself accepted, produced, reproduced, and policed the racial distinctions and boundaries between authentic indigenous and traditional arts and the global mass media and mass culture.” (Shlossberg, 217).
He also suggests “Research in critical anthropology and international communication can be advanced by shifting the research focus from issues of media and cultural globalization and its role in social change to an examination of cultural politics and the social relations in which claims … about media and cultural globalization and social change are embedded.” (Shlossberg 218).