The advertising construction of identity in Lebanese television

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Title: The advertising construction of identity in Lebanese television
Author: Nasr, Assem
Abstract: The Middle East saw much social change in recent tumultuous decades . On one hand , some communities embraced Westernness as part of the inevitable path to development and modernization . On the other hand , there were communities that resisted global trends that were mostly dominated by the West . The latter deemed these trends as a threat to native cultures , religious groups , and local traditions . This made the Arab world a ground for constant redefinition of the meaning of identity . Of the countries in the region undergoing a turbulent debate over what constitutes national identity , Lebanon serves as a good example . Ever since its independence , Lebanon was a nation -state with no sense of nationality to unite its people . As some communities saw themselves more francophone than Arab , others felt a close connection to a pan -Arab nation . Arguably , the Lebanese people found themselves amidst a tension between the two poles . Defining one’s identity required a negotiation between the two extremes . Not only did this negotiation demand a thorough investigation of one’s beliefs , social network , and history , but it also necessitated a diligent ‘performance’ of identity . An individual represented her identity by habits and expressions that she associated with that particular identity . The study at hand is an exploration of the relationship between identity and consumption in the Lebanese society . This project applies a unique approach in that it considers the producers’ agency in the construction of identity . Taking television advertising as a site for inquiry , the study explores how commercial advertisers utilize the tension between the local and the non -local to promote the consumption of the advertised products . Through exploring the values that educate advertising producers’ choices in creating text and meaning , this study applies theories of globalization , postcolonial studies , and consumer behavior through which advertisers manifest an ambivalence of identity . Therefore , by taking Lebanon as an example and focusing on advertising , this study contributes to the debates of globalization and the Arab world by invoking questions of producers’ agency in producing identity references through attitudes , behaviors , and social status associated with the featured products .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /ETD -UT -2010 -08 -1661
Date: 2010-12-06

Citation

The advertising construction of identity in Lebanese television. Doctoral dissertation, University of Texas at Austin. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /ETD -UT -2010 -08 -1661 .

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