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Title: The post-apartheid politicisation of the South African Broadcasting Corporation
Author: Arndt, Corinna
ISNI:       0000 0004 7653 6215
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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This dissertation draws on concepts from political science, sociology, media studies, organisational studies, and psychoanalysis to describe and explain the manifestations and process of politicisation of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) after the end of apartheid (1993-2013) through the lens of organisational culture. It is based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted between 2005 and 2011, including six months participant observation in seven SABC newsrooms and 117 in-depth interviews with journalists and managers. The study links an intra-organisational analysis of journalistic practice with the macro-level of the political field and the micro-level of individual actors. It explores in detail the unconscious processes inscribed in the SABC's culture and subcultures, as well as their interplay, before approaching the understudied problem of agency in newsrooms, in particular agency-as-resistance to politicisation. The thesis makes three main contributions to the literature: (1) The most in-depth empirical account of the SABC's politicisation to date, and an example of an African public broadcaster in a post-authoritarian environment. Findings challenge conventional explanations for the failures of public broadcasting transformations by showing that politicisation is far more than a top-down phenomenon, and that organisational culture shapes susceptibility to it profoundly. (2) A systematic and chronological analysis of drivers, enablers and inhibitors of politicisation, highlighting the multi-causality and multi-directionality of the process. This contests the over-reliance on structural explanations in political science by emphasising culture and subjectivity, e.g. by introducing the concept of 'anticipatory politicisation'. (3) A conceptual framework that integrates group relations theories with Bionian concepts and Lacanian discourse theory to shed light on individual agency in the context of collective unconscious processes. Findings are of interest to scholars working on the SABC or media in transition, on politicised organisations, organisational culture, or agency.
Supervisor: Born, Georgina ; Cheeseman, Nic Sponsor: Konrad Adenauer Foundation
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Journalism studies ; Mass media--political aspects ; Public broadcasting ; Media sociology ; Organisational culture ; Political science ; Democratisation ; Psychoanalysis ; Mass media--Social aspects