News, memory and identity : the Palestinians in Britain
This thesis is about diasporic audiences and their experiences of news. The main concern throughout is the under-researched question of how members of a diasporic audience, such as the Palestinians in Britain, use news, what they do with it and what it means for their social action and interaction. Taking into account the diverse news media the Palestinians in Britain engage with, this thesis investigates what news means for diasporas like the Palestinians - what it means for identity, belonging and community and what it means for their participation in societal action - by exploring the meanings surrounding the act of engagement with news narratives, rather than by examining the moment of consumption per se. Using a synthesis of original empirical work and an interdisciplinary theoretical inquiry into political communication, nationalism, identity, news and collective memory, this thesis shows that news, particularly television news, emerges as a significant resource in the informants' lives, around whose consumption the informants' discourses of identity, of belonging and community and of citizenship are fraught with tensions between the personal and the political and between the national and cosmopolitan. In paying attention to the processes the informants use to make sense of news, it shows how the informants discourses about themselves and their community alternate between dogmatic and closed discourses of thinking and arguing, reflecting tension between the self and the other and between the cosmopolitan and the national. In exploring the social uses of news, the thesis addresses the contexts within which news can enable or disable participation and social action, therefore drawing attention to the need for a differentiated understanding of the relationship between news and its audience, and between news and possibilities of citizenship.