Representational Scales: Latinx Media Production in Chicago, 1953-2012

Public Deposited

Like the majority of media studies, research on Latinx media is characterized by a focus on a single medium. As an alternative, this dissertation provides a media ecology of the city's Latinx mediascape between the years 1953 and 2012. This dissertation investigates four case studies: (1) Univision's former television affiliate, WCIU; (2) the Little Village/Pilsen neighborhood micro-broadcasting radio stations, WCYC and WRTE; (3) the longest running Latinx film festival in the country, the Chicago Latino Film Festival; and (4) the renowned activist group, the Immigrant Youth Justice League. ", 'Over the course of four chapters, this work outlines the history of Chicago\'s Latinx media industry, revealing four eras hereafter known as the dawn of Latinx broadcasting (1953-1986); the decade of the "Hispanic" (1986-1996); the intermedial turn (1996-2006); and the rise of social me-dia (2006-2012). These historical junctures demarcate key moments of change in the city\'s Latinx media industry, each containing specific, distinguishable characteristics. The dawn of Latinx broad-casting (1953-1986) was marked by broadcasters privileging Latin America in their representations of Latinidad, the sense of being Latinx. The decade of the "Hispanic" (1986-1996), a term first in-troduced by Maria Elena Toraño in 1979, bore witness to the development of a more unified U.S.-American Latinx viewing public. The intermedial turn (1996-2006) was characterized by an interest in producing work across media platforms. Lastly, the rise of social media (2006-2012) was, in many ways, a continuation of the intermedial turn but differed in that there was a quicker, more pronounced shifting of scales, which demonstrated a clear strategy for developing a sense of com-munity and undocumented identity according to scale. Each scale-shift not only addressed a differ-ent segment of the U.S. undocumented community but also reflected an alternative understanding of citizenship, where the U.S.-American Latinx population was not only made-up of U.S. citizens but also of undocumented Latinxs, who could engage with the nation through Latinx cultural citi-zenship and other forms of deviant citizenship. ', 'This study\'s primary question is: "what insights do we gain by focusing on the question of scale in the history of the city\'s Latinx media industry?" This dissertation shows that communica-tion establishes relationships according to scales, and by shifting those scales, media producers set boundaries for community inclusion and establish new relationships among their audiences. In oth-er words, by focusing on scale, this work reveals how people in Chicago have used media to relate to each other, to their surroundings, and to their technologies. ', "This dissertation's interest in the relationship between media and space exemplifies an overall shift in media research known as the spatial turn, which is marked by a swell in the number of works on the cultural geographies of media. Building on the work of Henri Lefebvre, Ana Tsing, Doug McAdam, Sidney Tarrow, and Charles Tilly, this study introduces the concept of representational scales, which consists of a triad of proximity, transmission, and identity and describes the productive geopolitical, technological, and social boundaries that have made up Chicago's Latinx mediascape.While grounded in media studies, this work engages in an interdisciplinary dialogue with Latinx studies, building on the work of Claudia Milian to introduce the idea of mediated Latinites, the qualities of being Latinx as expressed through media. This dissertation explores how Latinx media producers represented a sense of Latinidad through such mediated Latinities, offering a more nuanced language for discussing the varied representation of Latinx identity in media. As a media ecology, this work also engages with literature in media convergence and intermedia studies, building on Henry Jenkins' notion of transmediation, a spread of cultural material across media, to argue that mediated Latinities engender a structure of feeling that coheres Chicago's Latinx mediascape through the transmediation of Latinidad."]

Last modified
  • 10/14/2019
Date created
Resource type
Rights statement