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Mediated Consumption and Gender in the Global South: A Transnational Perspe...

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Chowen Lecture Theatre, BSMS, University of Sussex

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Asa Briggs Fellowship Lecture

Mehita Iqani, Associate Professor in Media Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand

The majority of countries in the world have been historically and systemically excluded from the prosperity brought about by globalised economic and financial systems. Yet those countries and their populations – the majority of whom remain trapped in poverty – are exposed to knowledge about the commodities, consumption practices, and individualistic values that their more economically privileged counterparts enjoy due to the globalised media systems. This inherent paradox – the visibility of consumption in global media and the deprivation of all but the most basic material opportunities – requires theorization in the service of a broader social justice agenda.This talk will reflect on how gender in specific plays into the moralisation of “southern” consumption in media discourse. Drawing on work done for my book, Consumption, Media and the Global South, the talk will present empirical analyses of the mediation of consumption practices and identities by high profile woman politicians, including Winnie Mandela and Mayawati, African celebrities selifes on Instagram, as well as documentary film narratives of so called “new” middle class elites. The talk will present key findings from each analytical case study, then draw them together into a theoretical framework for thinking about how consumption and post-feminist culture play out in global south settings. Although in many ways quite different, the case studies are shot through with similar themes, which taken together provide a sense of how postfeminist, neoliberal and consumerist values shape elite public identities in the global south.

Mehita Iqani is Associate Professor in Media Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand and Asa Briggs Fellow at the University of Sussex. During her time at Sussex Prof. Iqani is colleaborating with Dr Simidele Dosekun on the project African Luxury: Aesthetics and Politics. The project moves beyond predominant views of Africa as a place to be ‘saved’, as well as more recent formulations of it as ‘rising,’ to focus on the visual and material cultures of luxury consumption – champagne, designer wear, glitzy shopping malls and so on – on the continent.

This is a free, open lecture – everyone is welcome, but numbers are limited so please reserve your place.

Refreshments provided.

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Chowen Lecture Theatre, BSMS, University of Sussex

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