From ‘Cultural Institution’ to ‘Cultural Industry’? A Comparative Analysis of the Television Industry in Jamaica and Ghana 1997 – 2009 by Deborah Anne Hickling

In this thesis, changing meanings and practices in television broadcasting and production in Jamaica and Ghana are used to examine transitions in structures, processes and policies associated with the adoption of cultural/creative industries and economy concepts. The television industries of both countries were used to illustrate these large, complex concepts. Television in those countries changed from state-owned, public service broadcasting institutions to commercial television industries. These changes came about as a result of external proposals for structural adjustment in the 1980s, which led to the divestment of public assets including the state-owned television stations.

The study draws on Hegelian dialectics as theoretical framework in its examination of television as cultural/creative industry. The main analytical constructs used are five antinomies presented by Hegel, and five corresponding Adinkra philosophies. This construct grounds the discussions of the local/global factors that led to changes in the television industries of Jamaica and Ghana as cultural/creative industries. Postcolonial and materialist theories weave the concepts together. Using them to analyze the changes in broadcasting in the former British colonies raises questions regarding the appropriateness of dominant western structures, processes and policies in the television sector in Jamaica and Ghana and by extension their cultural/creative industries and economies.

The study uses an interdisciplinary and qualitative Cultural Studies methodological approach. It draws mainly on media studies, management studies and political science. Six characteristics of cultural/creative industries are identified and used in the analysis of the case studies of the television industry in the two countries. Case study data were gathered though fieldwork including interviews, observations, documentary study and personal experience.

This study is the first critical examination of cultural/creative industries and economy concepts in Jamaica and Ghana. It is also the first to comparatively examine television in the context of the cultural/creative industries concepts in the Caribbean and Africa. It makes an original contribution to the development of strategies that have the potential to influence the processes, structures and policies related to the cultural economy concept and those required to improve television industries, in Jamaica and Ghana. This process of describing culturally specific characteristics of cultural/creative industries is designed to be applicable to other cultural/creative industries in developing countries, particularly those in Africa and the Caribbean, where interpretations and implementation suited for advanced industrial nations are insufficiently questioned and challenged.

Keywords: Deborah Anne Hickling, cultural industries, creative industries, television, antinomies, dialectics, creative economy, cultural economy, Jamaica, Ghana.

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