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

Ambivalent encounters: Chinese television in Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire

Auteur(s) : Jedlowski Alessandro ;

Existing studies on the expansion of Chinese media companies in Africa published in recent years focus mainly on the expansion in Africa of Chinese state media companies, through an approach that tends to read the activities of these companies as being the direct expression of the Chinese government’s hegemonic project in Africa, and therefore as the result of the soft power policies formulated by the Chinese Communist Party. However, to speak of a coherent and homogeneous “Chinese hegemonic project” is likely to be misleading: China’s international activities, in Africa as elsewhere, are the result of the combination of a multitude of actors who do not necessarily share the same project, and have sometimes diverging interests that can produce a hegemonic dynamic, but can also conflict with each other. On the basis of the preliminary results of an ongoing research project on the activities of the Chinese media company StarTimes in Nigeria, this paper proposes some reflections oriented towards the elaboration of an alternative theoretical and methodological approach to the study of Chinese media in Africa, able to take into account, simultaneously, the macro-political and macro-economic factors which condition the nature of China-Africa media interactions, the political intentions behind them (as, for example, the Chinese soft power policies and their translation into specific media contents), and the micro dimension of the “practices” and “uses” of the media made by the actors (producers and consumers of media) in the field. In particular, this paper introduces the concept of “affective regimes”, a tool that makes it possible to take into account the fluid and fragmentary dimension of the engagements between Chinese media and African publics, while equally emphasizing the power dynamics that underlie them, thus offering a theoretical framework able to go beyond the limits of soft power theory, as it has been applied to the study of China-Africa media interactions.

Mot-clé : affects, African audiences, Chinese media, Nigeria, et StarTimes

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

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