Popular Geopolitical Assemblages: BBC Radio and Foreign News
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
This thesis aims to explore strands of assemblage, actor network theory and object oriented philosophy to the study of popular culture and world politics. Specifically it focuses on the linkages to be made between radio broadcasting, travel writing and journalism, in light of these theories. It does this through the presentation of series of archival encounters with material relating to BBC radio and foreign news production during the 1960’s Cold War period, an era in which radio broadcasting and radio technologies were absolutely central to the understanding wider geopolitical environments. The opening chapters of the thesis argue for the utility of a version of relational materialist approaches hybridised with discursive analytic frameworks as interlinked ways of thinking, which are more appropriate to understanding radio as a semiotic-discursive hybrid of popular cultural construction, as read through BBC radio and foreign news during the Cold War. The empirical chapters look to a variety of archival texts produced by radio, including infrastructural and network plans, scripted news series and individual biographical archives and turns the tools from the hybrid framework to address them. The thesis then moves towards a further provocation: to imagine radio itself differently, as a geo-political force, and suggests further possibilities for research through engagement with conceptual art, experimental literature and sound recording to conceive of some of the non-representational aspects radio’s multiple fields of relations. The thesis concludes with a call, based on what has gone before, to recognise the importance of networked and assemblage ontologies to understanding further historical and contemporary formations of geopolitical media, and suggests further research based on the strategies it identifies.
AHRC/ University of Exeter
PhD in Human Geography