Association pour l’anthropologie du changement social et du développement
Association for the anthropology of social change and development

Asia’s got formats : An ethnography of the transnational circulation of the British television format Got Talent in Southeast Asia

Auteur(s) : KONDRACKI Aziliz ;

Southeast Asia constitutes a fertile ground where cultural goods made within it or from elsewhere abound : films, series and television programs circulate right through in this part of the world. Less easy to notice, but yet obvious, the majority of programs are programs derived from formats which are distributed mostly from South Korea, United Kingdom and the United States. A television format is an easily reproducible framework for the local adaptation of a TV program, licensed in the international audiovisual content market. It is a model, a concept, or a recipe to be followed to produce local contents [Shahaf & Oren, 2013]. Indeed, this communication’s aim will be to consider the theoritical concept of travelling models based on an empirical case study : the company FreemantleMedia based in London has been distributing the format Got Talent for more than 15 years, which has been transposed in more than 60 versions. It constitutes a real phenomenon worldwide. It is for example, known in Togo through the version L’Afrique à un Incroyable Talent. From its headquarters in Singapore, the British company supports local producers in adapting this format for the production of the show Asia’s got Talent. From distribution to production, the local content produced results from a series of collaborations between distributors, producers, broadcasters, freelancers, advertisers, and others staff [Bielby & Harrington, 2008]. This case study will explore the potential questions that this panel will be stimulating. From a multi-located survey (both on the multiplicity of areas of inquiry and on the variation of points of views), it will focus on the strategies used to adapt, translate and transform a format into a local content. To do so, this analysis will focus on the relational dynamics that underlie the circulation of this commodity. Indeed, it forms the hypothesis that the construction and maintenance of meaningful social relations between various actors is a sine qua non condition for this commodity to circulate easily. It will therefore be a question of analyzing the embedding of this economic activity in social relations [Granovetter, 2000]. Let us make it clear that social relations would not, however, constitute an object in itself, or the source of everything, but rather a bias by which to understand this social fact [Bidart, Degenne, Grossetti, 2011]. Because economic action is a social action in the sense that it is oriented by motivations that are not reduced to economic interest. To this one, we notice that it is a quest for recognition and status [Granovetter, 2000: 11] and soft-power in a world where all cultures communicate, interpenetrate, and become entangled [Saïd, 2000: 29]. That being said, what we do call “local contents” are the result of a complex transactional process in which a specific producing model travels, and in which the ideas circulated, are generated or reformulated. So, the long process of adapting a format into a local content, shows us, that there is not a « frozen knowledge, stuck in an individual who would not communicate it to anyone and would not have received it from someone » [Adell, 2011 : 251-292]. Observing the circulation of formats within the television industry appears a fertile objet to observe, to describe and analyze to understand how models circulates which appear as vehicles of normes, values and techniques in a world of cultural flows and large-scale interactions [Appadurai, 1996].


Mot-clé : circulation of commodities, Cultural globalization, and transnational industry
Toutes les communications appartenant au même panel :

Voir le panel Les médias chinois en Afrique : circulation, production, réception / African uses of Chinese media

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