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Media and Dependency in South Africa
A Case Study of the Press and the Ciskei “Homeland”

By Les Switzer

Switzer looks at how South Africa’s communications industry, the largest and most powerful on the continent, promotes dependency among the subject African populations. This study of the Ciskei “Homeland”, which has long been a fountainhead of African nationalism and a zone of conflict between blacks and whites, focuses on the privately owned, commercial press and its role in helping to frame a consensus in support of the political, economic and ideological values of the ruling alliance.

The conceptual framework employed differs from that normally used in communications research. Further, Switzer offers an alternative methodology which attempts to show how researchers can conceptualize the purposes behind news, entertainment and advertising and to measure the extent to which mediated reality does and does not conform to the lives of the people. This work, then, is of interest to workers in communications as well as to those who are concerned with development in South Africa and, indeed, in the entire non-Western world.

Les Switzer is a professor in the School of Communication and an adjunct professor in the Department of History at the University of Houston. He is the author of many books and articles on South Africa, including South Africa's Alternative Press: Voices of Protest and Resistance, 1880-1960.   More info →

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