Taylor's FSLM Journals
Role of Television in the Formation of Transcultural Identities

@ SEARCH Journal of Media and Communication Research

Online ISSN: 2672-7080

C.N. Eswari


Negotiations of identity and conceptualisation of home has become a dynamic and complex process for people living in geographical locations different to their homeland. To overcome the trauma of geographical and cultural dislocations caused by migration, the diasporic communities cling on to the memories of their original homes. The advent of the satellite television channels enables them to view ethnic media programmes and maintain ties with their homeland. Simultaneously, they find it impossible to insulate themselves against the mainstream media they encounter in their everyday lives which familiarize them with the local culture. The global media also offer them an objective view of the world. This paper explores the impact of these diverse cultural interactions on the identity formation of the diasporic community. For this purpose, six Indians who had migrated to the United States were chosen as the target group. In-depth interviews were conducted through e-mails/telephone/ Skype/FaceTime to collect data regarding their television viewing habits. Analysis of the data showed that although ethnic programmes aired through satellite television satisfied their longing for “home”, the interviewees soon realized that it did not have much relevance to their lived experiences. The data also revealed that they were drawn into watching American and transnational television programmes that familiarised them with the western culture. The main argument presented in this paper is that television provides the diasporic communities a space for negotiating cultures and helps in creating their transcultural identities.

Keywords: Diaspora, media, multiculturalism, transcultural identities