Document Type

Article

Department

Institute for Educational Development, Karachi

Abstract

The paper critically analyzes the engagement of a group of Pakistani urban youth with global cultural flows through media, and their responses to those flows. The discussion mainly centres around an analysis of a re-make of a drama-skit performed by a group of Pakistani urban high school youth during their school’s annual function which could be regarded as a kind of satire providing a cultural critique on the way cultural globalization, through media (especially cultural production through Indian Bollywood film/soap media-industry), is influencing urban Pakistani youth's perception of 'local' values, norms and identities. For the analysis, the paper draws upon Anthony Gidden’s theory of structuration (Giddens, 1986) (relationship between structure-agency) as a framework to understand and analyze 'flows and disjuncture produced and experienced due to globalization and especially the interaction between media-scapes and idea-scape/value-scapes of 'local' youth agency who are found to be not only consumers of media, but also critical interpreters and agents, engaged in a relationship of structuration involving experience and interpretation of the media-texts that flow across and around them. The analysis is based on data generated through a year long critical ethnography conducted with urban Pakistani high school youth, who were studying in their final year of higher secondary education in a school in Karachi, especially with reference to exploring how media is functioning as a key globalizing site and how that, in turn, produces cultural hegemony in relation to constructing perceptions, attitudes, values and identities of the youth in question. The data collected was through focus group discussion and participant-made visual 'images'. The analysis suggests an interplay of global-local cultural dynamics operative at the levels of youth self-perceptions, values, meaning and norms of cross-gender socialization. The research reports on key debates through an analysis of discussions held with the youth participants about issues like; the role of women, youth socialization, imagined and mediated discourse of Muslim identity and its juxtaposition with self-assigned meanings and perceived realities of being Muslim. The paper concludes by drawing some implications for the formation of gender and youth cultural identities in the Pakistani context.

Publication

Journal of Alternative Perspectives in the Social Sciences