Friday, March 02, 2007

Special Issues Gone Global!

The ever-international Index on Censorship's last issue in 2006 (Volume 35, Number 4) is called Tigers and Dragons: The Race for the Future. It focuses on China and India which will at some point in the 21st century will be the dominant global economies. But one is an open society and one is not. Explains Index editor-in-chief Ursala Owen:

They have much in common, these two Asian giants. Both are poor and largely agricultural: in both there are enormous disparities between town and country. Rising debt, soaring cost and plummeting prices have devastated Indian peasant farmers, who, as P. Sainath tells us, have been turning their despair inwards and committing suicide – 200 in the last two months alone. In China, urban dwellers earn three times as much as people in the countryside, and millions of peasants are moving to the cities to find work. Those who stay are, recounts Jasper Becker, increasingly rebelling against illegal land seizures and corruption.

But the glaring difference is that India is an open society and China is not. India can at least vent its problems in political debate; in China, the news media is tightly muzzled: information is hard to come by and unreliable. Indeed, parallel files for this issue of Index were not possible because there wasn’t parallel information. The diversity of India’s population and its political model may make its growth complex and slower. But it is this very diversity and democracy that helps to insulate it against some of the dangers of instability that Isabel Hilton suggests may be in store for China. With its model of unbridled government authority, China is far less able politically to manage conflicts. ‘In our heterogeneity and in our openness lies our pride, not our disgrace,’ says Amartya Sen, the Indian economist and Nobel Laureate.
The Howard Journal of Communications (Volume 18, Number 1, 2007) features a special forum on the Caribbean mediascape. The forum is titled: The Postcolonial Caribbean as a Liminal Space: Authoring Other Modes of Contestation and Affirmation. Maurice L. Hall is the guest editor.

Popular Journalism is the organizing theme of Journalism Studies (Volume 8, Number 1, 2008) which includes studies from the UK, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Norway and the Netherlands. Martin Conboy guest edits this issue on "a variety of forms of popular journalism from different national, technological and demographic contexts" and explains that "the advantage of this wide spectrum is that it demonstrates that popular culture is permeating cultural and generic areas as never before yet often retains very specific national characteristics...Popular journalism as a particular variant of popular culture can often lead to a parochialism which is most unhelpful in broadening social and cultural awareness beyond the narrow confines of a narrowly perceived insider category. However, there are trends triggered by technological developments and patterns of media consumption across sections of global youth culture...which indicate that this unappealing aspect of popular culture might be withering."

All of these issues are available as e-resources from the Penn Libraries homepage.

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