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A (Digital) Giant Awakens—Invigorating Media Studies with Asian Perspectives

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Abstract

In this introductory chapter, the authors explore why the internationalization of media studies has been stymied and argue that the conditions are now ripe for invigorating this effort, especially in and through Asia. The fervent adoption of information and communication technologies in Asia, the region’s rapid economic growth, and its youthful and increasingly well-educated populace have lent impetus to the adoption, consumption, appropriation and production of media content and technologies. Juxtaposed against these contemporaneous developments are the enduring traditions and cultural values of the region that are simultaneously shaped by and shaping the socio-technological landscape. Although media systems and experiences are increasingly being shaped by global flows and exchanges, the chapter makes a case for the importance of looking back at these enduring Asian concepts to inform our nuanced understanding of everyday experiences of communication and technology engagement in the region. This chapter also describes the organization of the volume and provides an introduction to the chapters.
This is the pre-print version of:Lim, S. S. & Soriano, C. (2016). A (digital) giant awakens Invigorating media studies
with Asian perspectives. In S. S Lim & C. Soriano, (Eds.) Asian Perspectives on Digital Culture: Emerging Phenomena,
Enduring Concepts (pp. 3-14). London: Routledge.
1
A (digital) giant awakens –
Invigorating media studies with Asian perspectives
Sun Sun Lim & Cheryll Soriano
Abstract
In this introductory chapter, the authors explore why the internationalization of media
studies has been stymied and argue that the conditions are now ripe for invigorating this
effort, especially in and through Asia. The fervent adoption of information and
communication technologies in Asia, the region’s rapid economic growth, and its
youthful and increasingly well-educated populace have lent impetus to the adoption,
consumption, appropriation and production of media content and technologies.
Juxtaposed against these contemporaneous developments are the enduring traditions and
cultural values of the region that are simultaneously shaped by and shaping the socio-
technological landscape. Although media systems and experiences are increasingly being
shaped by global flows and exchanges, the chapter makes a case for the importance of
looking back at these enduring Asian concepts to inform our nuanced understanding of
everyday experiences of communication and technology engagement in the region. This
chapter also describes the organization of the volume and provides an introduction to the
chapters.
This is the pre-print version of:Lim, S. S. & Soriano, C. (2016). A (digital) giant awakens Invigorating media studies
with Asian perspectives. In S. S Lim & C. Soriano, (Eds.) Asian Perspectives on Digital Culture: Emerging Phenomena,
Enduring Concepts (pp. 3-14). London: Routledge.
2
The emergence of digital Asia
Digital, networked media have been embraced by countries throughout the globe,
and Asia is at the very forefront of this trend. Amidst the region’s diverse cultural
traditions and political systems, internet and mobile communication are increasingly
deployed in every aspect of life, instigating novel modes of interaction and collaboration,
and birthing technological breakthroughs and innovative applications (Lim & Goggin,
2014). The region’s rapid economic growth and its youthful and increasingly well-
educated populace have catalyzed the adoption, consumption, appropriation and
production of digital media content and new technology.
Indeed, Asia’s internet users constitute just under half of the world’s internet
population at 45.6% (Internet World Statistics, 2015a). Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, and
Korean are among the top ten most used languages on the web and Chinese speakers
alone form almost a quarter (23.2%) of the world’s internet population (Internet World
Statistics, 2015b). Besides the sheer magnitude of Asia’s online population, the relative
youth and technophily of Asian consumers has also contributed to an insatiable appetite
for internet related products and services (Lim, Sison, & Kim, 2008). The result of which
is a boost in domestic innovation in information technology (IT), considerable growth in
the quantity and quality of the region’s IT clusters (Parthasarathy & Aoyama, 2006;
Tseng, 2009; J. Wang, Cheng, & Ganapati, 2012) and a thriving start-up ecosystem
(Anjum, 2014). Asian countries that first cut their teeth in electronics production are now
making the most of technological leapfrogging (Rasiah, Xiao-Shan, & Chandran
Govindaraju, 2014) to generate trend-setting innovations in social media (S. Chen,
This is the pre-print version of:Lim, S. S. & Soriano, C. (2016). A (digital) giant awakens Invigorating media studies
with Asian perspectives. In S. S Lim & C. Soriano, (Eds.) Asian Perspectives on Digital Culture: Emerging Phenomena,
Enduring Concepts (pp. 3-14). London: Routledge.
3
Zhang, Lin, & Lv, 2011), online games (Jin, 2010), mobile commerce (Zhang &
Dodgson, 2007) and mobile health (Ganapathy & Ravindra, 2008), just to name a few.
Technology penetration is further bolstered in many Asian countries by concerted
state support in educational initiatives and information and communication technology
(ICT) infrastructure (Baskaran & Muchie, 2006; Franda, 2002; Wilson, 2004; Yue,
2006). Notably though, the region is underscored by rising income inequalities, varying
internet governance systems, and geographical diversity that translate into striking
variations and experiences in internet and mobile access (Cortada, 2012). Widening rural-
urban divides (Fan, Chen-Kang, & Mukherjee, 2005; Gugler, 2004), and migrant labor
flows within and beyond Asia (Athukorala, 2006; Wickramasekera, 2002) have also
generated new practices in person-to person, business-to-business and state-citizenry
communication, generating demands for novel services that ride on the enhanced online
and mobile networks.
Underlying this bustling digital landscape is Asia’s rich tapestry of history. The
region is home to some of the world’s oldest, most advanced civilizations, with a lasting
legacy of artistic, cultural, and scientific innovation of widespread influence. Asian
philosophical traditions such as Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Buddhist and Islamic have
also stood the test of time, serving as the foundational principles of governance,
education, social interaction and enterprise. The transformations in Asia’s increasingly
digitized socio-technological landscape are as much shaping, as being shaped by, these
enduring cultural and philosophical traditions. Yet the analytical frames used to
understand the impact of digital media on Asia predominantly originate from the Global
North, neither rooted in Asia’s sophisticated intellectual heritage, nor reflective of the
This is the pre-print version of:Lim, S. S. & Soriano, C. (2016). A (digital) giant awakens Invigorating media studies
with Asian perspectives. In S. S Lim & C. Soriano, (Eds.) Asian Perspectives on Digital Culture: Emerging Phenomena,
Enduring Concepts (pp. 3-14). London: Routledge.
4
sociocultural practices of this dynamic region. This edited volume seeks to remedy this
imbalance by assembling the work of media scholars who use Asian concepts and
precepts to understand, interpret and explain media appropriation in the rapidly changing
digital media landscape. In so doing, this volume aims to internationalize media studies
by infusing critical research topics and established theoretical frames with Asian
perspectives.
The internationalization imperative
This push towards the internationalization of media studies is by no means new.
Many scholars have long called for more sedulous efforts to advance this cause. Thussu
(2009a) traced the evolutionary trajectory of media studies and observed that three
critical interventions have been undertaken to broaden the field, the first with
perspectives from feminism, and the second from race and ethnicity. He argues that
internationalization is the third key intervention as the globalization of media and higher
education warrants enhancing media studies with global perspectives,“ making it
imperative to invest in new research angles, approaches and methodologies” (Thussu,
2009a, p. 3). Similarly, Curran and Park (2000) recognized the intensification of
globalization as an impetus for ‘de-Westernising’ media studies, while Goggin and
McLellan (2009) urged scholars to venture beyond Anglophone paradigms.
While such calls for greater diversity of intellectual perspectives have resonated,
internationalization has been slow to gain momentum. Notably, significant impediments
stand in the way of an Asia-centred and Asia-driven internationalization of media studies.
Several issues need to be resolved, or acknowledged in the first instance, before a distinct
This is the pre-print version of:Lim, S. S. & Soriano, C. (2016). A (digital) giant awakens Invigorating media studies
with Asian perspectives. In S. S Lim & C. Soriano, (Eds.) Asian Perspectives on Digital Culture: Emerging Phenomena,
Enduring Concepts (pp. 3-14). London: Routledge.
5
shift from Anglo-American domination of the discipline can be achieved. First, curricula,
syllabi and pedagogies have to be made far more inclusive and international (Thussu,
2009b). Presently, higher education and scholarship in media and communication
worldwide, including in Asia, is predominantly framed by Western paradigms
(Dissanayake, 1988, 2009a; Erni & Chua, 2005; Goggin & McLelland, 2009) that fail to
accommodate historically- and culturally-specific imaginaries of technology (Goggin,
2011).
Second, a culture of knowledge and information sharing across nations needs to
be developed and actively sustained in Asia. Unlike in the U.S. where reliable data on
media use is made available by independent institutions such as Pew Research Center, or
in Europe where EU-funded studies generate regional data, what little pan-Asian data
available is neither particularly comprehensive nor objective, being often produced by
market research companies with specific commercial agenda. Currently, different Asian
countries fund research captured only in their native languages. Such nationally-defined
and locally-focused research effectively resides in silos and fail to inform, influence or
initiate meaningful comparative research. Instead, there should be a concerted effort to
exploit digital communication platforms for intra-regional exchange of data and
knowledge for greater cross-fertilization of ideas with a view towards more broadly
grounded theorization. Failing which, Asian researchers will be unable to engage in
cultural synthesis and chart new directions in thinking (G. Wang & Shen, 2000).
Third, a key obstacle to more active knowledge sharing within Asia is linguistic
differences. While there is an active pool of media and communication scholars in Asia,
those who publish in English form a significantly smaller group. The research conducted
This is the pre-print version of:Lim, S. S. & Soriano, C. (2016). A (digital) giant awakens Invigorating media studies
with Asian perspectives. In S. S Lim & C. Soriano, (Eds.) Asian Perspectives on Digital Culture: Emerging Phenomena,
Enduring Concepts (pp. 3-14). London: Routledge.
6
by these two groups remain quite discrete, resulting in very little mutual influence. By
dint of their Anglophone bent, Asian scholars who write in English are likely to have
been schooled in the West, thereby being more receptive towards Western theoretical
concepts, and more inclined to write in a manner that resonates with a Western audience,
and seek international endorsement by publishing in high impact English journals. This
inclination is exacerbated by the growing interest in global rankings of universities that
assess research output on the basis of citation counts and impact factor indices
(Hazelkorn, 2015). Conversely, scholars who publish in Asian languages may be more
inclined to incorporate Asian concepts into their analytical endeavors, possibly
developing new paradigms that will unfortunately fall outside the radar of the
Anglophone academic world. Such trends contribute to more entrenched domination of
Western concepts in research on media and communication in Asia. We propose that the
Western domination of Asian communication research can be stemmed if more active
attempts are made to translate work in Asian languages into English. When more
resources are channelled into increasing the exposure of such works, Asian and
international scholars alike will enjoy access to a wider body of research that incorporates
a more encompassing range of theoretical, cultural and empirical insights, and media and
communication research will be the richer for it.
Encouragingly, more scholars are steering Asian academics towards drawing
inspiration from Asian cultures to develop theoretical concepts, expanding the
geographical scope of research, actively juxtaposing and comparing different Asian
cultures, infusing theoretical frames with historical dimensions and multiple perspectives
and engaging with metatheoretical issues (G.-M. Chen, 2006; Miike & Chen, 2006). At
This is the pre-print version of:Lim, S. S. & Soriano, C. (2016). A (digital) giant awakens Invigorating media studies
with Asian perspectives. In S. S Lim & C. Soriano, (Eds.) Asian Perspectives on Digital Culture: Emerging Phenomena,
Enduring Concepts (pp. 3-14). London: Routledge.
7
the same time, the study of media and communication in Asia is intensifying, with
tertiary level programs being offered and students enrolled in unprecedented numbers
(Cheung, 2009). Media and communication research in and on the region is also thriving,
with a growing selection of communication journals and book series that adopt an
explicitly Asian focus, and the existence of more than twelve professional associations
and research institutes that concentrate on Asian communication studies (G.-M. Chen &
Miike, 2006). Asian representation at international communication and media studies
conferences and communication publications by Asian scholars are also on the ascent.
Imaginaries of Asian digital cultures and modernities
The concepts “Asian” and “Asian digital cultures” or a set of cultures forged from
core beliefs and experiences unique to a geographically vast region has been the subject
of active intellectual debate (Dissanayake 2003, 2009a, 2009b; Massey & Chang, 2002;
Miike, 2006, 2007; G. Wang & Kuo, 2010). Increasingly, the use of the internet and
digital technologies accompanied by the rapid movement of people and ideas across
physical and virtual spaces intensifies the overlapping of cultures and spaces for cultural
articulation, production, and belonging. These continuing global flows of culture,
technology, media, finance, and ideology, which Appadurai (1990) has earlier
conceptualized as “scapes” are promoting ethnic, cultural, religious, and linguistic
diversity even within national boundaries. These flows create “large and complex
repertoires of images, narratives and ethnoscapes” that may alienate people from the
direct experiences of geographically-based metropolitan life and lead them to construct
imagined worlds and communities (Appadurai 1990, pp. 298-299). As the world
This is the pre-print version of:Lim, S. S. & Soriano, C. (2016). A (digital) giant awakens Invigorating media studies
with Asian perspectives. In S. S Lim & C. Soriano, (Eds.) Asian Perspectives on Digital Culture: Emerging Phenomena,
Enduring Concepts (pp. 3-14). London: Routledge.
8
becomes more enmeshed through global networks and imaginaries, the divisions between
inside and outside, as well Asia and the West, appear to be more blurry and problematic.
Further, as G. Wang and Kuo (2010) argued, with globalization and Western modernity
driving transcultural adaptation, and where many Asian nations also bring with them long
histories of Western colonialism, even the concept of “Asia” itself may be construed as
“Western.” Here, the concept of Asia may be seen as a rhetorical strategy to construct
Asia’s “postcolonial relationship with the West” (Dissanayake, 2006; Naisbitt, 1995;
Massey & Chang, 2002; see also Sreekumar, this volume).
However, amidst increasing globalization and media flows, many Asians would
recognize that certain experiences of media use strongly resonate with locally-entrenched
and even regionally recognized rituals, histories, or values. Studies on media engagement
behavior of migrant communities, who are at the centre of these rapid flows and
“scapes”, found that certain norms and values from the homeland continue to characterize
their media usage or influence their “hybrid” identities (Durham, 2004, Komito, 2011;
Mandaville, 2001). Further, despite the growth of global media products and markets,
social, cultural, political and familial forces impinge upon Asian digital practices (Arora,
2010; Doron, 2012; Erni & Spires, 2005; Iwabuchi, 2005; Jin, 2010; Lim & Goggin,
2014). Past research has also shown the significant contribution of engaging indigenous
Asian concepts of social capital (e.g. ‘guanxi’ [Chinese]; ‘sadharanikana’ [Indian]; or
‘uchi-soto’ [Japanese]) as alternative frames by which to understand these modern media
practices. Studies on regions beyond Asia have also argued that understanding cultural
nuances can help facilitate a less normative theorization of Internet engagement. For
example, Slater’s (2003) work has shown how our understanding of internet use for
This is the pre-print version of:Lim, S. S. & Soriano, C. (2016). A (digital) giant awakens Invigorating media studies
with Asian perspectives. In S. S Lim & C. Soriano, (Eds.) Asian Perspectives on Digital Culture: Emerging Phenomena,
Enduring Concepts (pp. 3-14). London: Routledge.
9
”freedom” or ”unfreedom” needs to be understood within their context of engagement
and can be deepened by bringing in alternative (and less normative) notions of ‘internet
freedom’ from non-American or European perspectives. Thus, while acknowledging that
media systems and experiences are increasingly being shaped by global flows and
exchanges rapidly fueled by the internet and mobile communication, language, history,
tradition, local and regional economies and systems of politics and governance also
continually shape our dynamic digital experiences. Locally-grounded studies on
technology mediation deepen the understanding of important aspects of human
communication as these capture the level of complexity, detail, or ambiguity that are
apparent in everyday Asian experiences of communication and technology engagement.
The appreciation of such historically- and culturally-grounded relationships and
experiences are what tend to be ignored through sweeping articulations about
globalization and cultural insignificance.
It is not within the scope of this volume to reconcile this ensuing debate about
Asian cultures, although the chapter by Sreekumar revisits these issues as it interrogates
the concept of Asian modernity in the wake of new technologies. Rather we aim to find
windows for convergence that lays the ground for the work that the book seeks to
accomplish. The chapters in this volume present what Asia is from the perspective of
diverse Asian people, hoping to provide a valuable input to this continuing dialogue of
what makes Asian Asian. Moreover, the book’s goal is not to replace Western
communication theories, but to expand our theoretical options such that we can forge
fresh analytical frames and facilitate more dynamic conversations across these frames
and the scholars who explore them.
This is the pre-print version of:Lim, S. S. & Soriano, C. (2016). A (digital) giant awakens Invigorating media studies
with Asian perspectives. In S. S Lim & C. Soriano, (Eds.) Asian Perspectives on Digital Culture: Emerging Phenomena,
Enduring Concepts (pp. 3-14). London: Routledge.
10
Seminal works on Asian communication have been emphasizing the importance
of generating communication concepts that are inscribed in traditional Asian religious
and intellectual traditions (Dissanayake, 2009a, 2009b; Miike, 2006, 2007). Given the
long history and cultural tradition of countries in the region, it is reasonable to examine
how such rich cultural heritage that fuelled complex civilizations over the millennia can
help explain individual and collective media experiences and uses. Efforts in this
direction include examining classical Asian texts to distil ideas about human
communication; extrapolating concepts from classical traditions of thought and current
cultural practices; focusing on the dimension of rituals, ceremonies and performances that
is salient in Asian culture; and probing into how everyday communicative actions are
informed by traditional systems of thought. As we build on these previous works, the
volume is also cognizant of the warning on the threats of cultural essentialism (or the the
tendency to regard objects, events, and spaces as unchanging) and binarism (seeing only
in terms of distinct East-West spheres as if they were two well-defined entities)
(Dissanayake, 2009a, 2009b). This collection of “Asian perspectives on digital culture”
presents diverse local and regional experiences and perspectives while noting colonial
histories and the dynamic influences of the forces of globalization and cultural exchange.
For this book, we refer both to concepts emerging from the region, as a
geographical space, and those developed by scholars from the region. The assertion of
Asian concepts represents an attempt to recognize Asia’s cultural distinctiveness amidst
media and communication theories that dominate the intellectual tradition of our field. In
looking back at indigenous concepts, classic texts, and cultural histories associated with
Asian traditions, our contributors present new tools for analysis that we envision will
This is the pre-print version of:Lim, S. S. & Soriano, C. (2016). A (digital) giant awakens Invigorating media studies
with Asian perspectives. In S. S Lim & C. Soriano, (Eds.) Asian Perspectives on Digital Culture: Emerging Phenomena,
Enduring Concepts (pp. 3-14). London: Routledge.
11
expand and enrich the broader field of media and communication studies. The
contributors of this book engage local concepts to explain digital practices while
simultaneously recognizing their possible global applications. In the process of forging
ties between past and present, the book also hopes to surface new explanations, inquiries,
and directions into communication.
Organization of the volume
The internationalization of media studies implies not only the inclusion of
geographically diverse experiences of media use, but the exploration of alternative
frameworks from our intricate global landscape for understanding notions of the self,
collective imaginaries, and for rethinking mainstream discourses and conceptual
constructions of communicative phenomena.
Asianselves” at the crossroads of digital culture and identity
The self” has been an important focus of past and present literature on
communication and media and the digital environment have been distinguished for rapid
transformations in the construction of the ”self” and of the ”self in relation to the other”
(Baym, 2010; Papacharissi, 2010). The three papers in this section explore the salience of
Asian concepts and practices in grasping new digital developments that challenge and
enrich traditional understandings of the self. The concept of face is at the forefront of
understanding the digital self, for it serves as the foundation for more complex concepts
such as identity, pride, dignity, and so on. The opening chapter by Lim and Basnyat
reflects on the diverse Asian conceptions of face in the context of social media
This is the pre-print version of:Lim, S. S. & Soriano, C. (2016). A (digital) giant awakens Invigorating media studies
with Asian perspectives. In S. S Lim & C. Soriano, (Eds.) Asian Perspectives on Digital Culture: Emerging Phenomena,
Enduring Concepts (pp. 3-14). London: Routledge.
12
interactions. In emphasizing the sociality of the self the chapter argues that expressions
and practices of gaining, saving, losing and giving face apparent in Asian cultures can
sharpen dominant analytical threads for studying the self in the context of social
networking. As our digital experiences expand, cultural practices traditionally understood
as “sacred” have also been imported into the digital realm. In this process of
‘mediatization’ of religious practices (Hjarvard, 2006), the second chapter by Sapitula
and Soriano explores translocal piety and understandings of the self in relation to the
divine, as religious authorities utilize the internet to extend devotional practice beyond
geographical space and toward virtual space. Like Lim and Basnyat, Sapitula and Soriano
argue that local notions of interiority of the self (loob) in mediated piety heavily
intersects with notions of shared identity. The third paper by Prieler analyzes “face-ism”
indices (a measurement of facial prominence which is associated with gender
stereotyping) in people’s self-representations in online dating site profiles in Japan, South
Korea, Sweden, and the United States. The paper finds that Confucianism, which posits
the family as the fundamental unit influencing the understanding of social roles, appears
to lend greater nuance for explaining gender distinctions in digital self-representations.
These three papers show that a conception of the self as culturally nuanced and socially
shaped is crucial in understanding digital cultures within this region.
Group processes and collective imaginaries
Mediated spaces have been host to various expressions of collective imaginaries.
At the same time, processes of group and collective identity formation have been
radically transformed by the changes accompanying the increasing complexity and global
This is the pre-print version of:Lim, S. S. & Soriano, C. (2016). A (digital) giant awakens Invigorating media studies
with Asian perspectives. In S. S Lim & C. Soriano, (Eds.) Asian Perspectives on Digital Culture: Emerging Phenomena,
Enduring Concepts (pp. 3-14). London: Routledge.
13
nature of our media environment. In this section, Asian concepts of guanxi, Cheong, and
kapwa are featured in the understanding of symbolic and embodied practices of
construction of collective imaginaries. The chapter by Liu draws our attention to the
concept of guanxi in understanding the relevance of mobile communication for protest
mobilization in China. Liu proposes that guanxi acts as a key driver for protest
recruitment and participation as it engenders a sense of simultaneous credibility,
reliability, and reciprocity that enhance feelings of solidarity crucial for organizing
protests in this specific context. The next chapter by Kyong examines how mobile
communication has altered the social interaction of young South Koreans, but also that
their communicative practices are ultimately anchored in Cheong, a traditional
framework of sociality. The third paper by Soriano and Lim explores how television
advertising of mobile services articulate rituals that mobilize the various dimensions of
social and collective identity underscored by the Filipino notion of kapwa. In turn, such
mode of advertising entrenches social arrangements as well the centrality of mobile
communication in this particular social organization.
Discourses and discursive constructions of meaning
Exploring diverse communicative phenomena such as corporate social
responsibility (CSR), newsworthiness, or memorializing, the three papers in this section
engage indigenous concepts and Asian cultural practices to provide important
(re)constructions of the meaning of old practices and concepts. Ganesh’s chapter assesses
the discursive constructions of the meaning of CSR through the analysis of websites and
annual reports of Indian corporations. Ganesh’s study highlights the importance of
This is the pre-print version of:Lim, S. S. & Soriano, C. (2016). A (digital) giant awakens Invigorating media studies
with Asian perspectives. In S. S Lim & C. Soriano, (Eds.) Asian Perspectives on Digital Culture: Emerging Phenomena,
Enduring Concepts (pp. 3-14). London: Routledge.
14
ancient cultural texts and traditions such as sarva loka hitam and lokah samastah sukhino
bhavanthu in making sense of the CSR discourses in India, and proposes a rethinking of
traditional concepts of CSR to encompass the narrative of coexistence and collective
welfare. The second paper by Lee examines culture-specific discourses that frame the
notion of “newsworthiness” in Korea. Lee’s paper analyzes the tweets picked up by the
Korean mass media and advances the argument that Korean values significantly account
for the determination of newsworthiness in this specific locale. Finally, the paper by
Liew examines the contemporary process of “remembering” and “resurrection” by
analyzing recent innovations in stereoscopic holography that “re-witness” departed
Chinese pop celebrities. Engaging the Asian concepts of ying (shadow) and hun (soul),
the paper features interesting case studies that juxtapose the temporal-spatial dynamics in
this holographic re-imaging of celebrities to provide an alternative framing of the
communication of affect in this cyber-digital landscape.
The chapters in this volume do not confine their discussions to explanations of
how Asian concepts apply to Asian digital cultures alone, but inspire the engagement of
such concepts for explaining other similar or related phenomena in other parts of the
world. Further, the contributions juxtapose these concepts with other modes of theoretical
inquiry. As each chapter historicizes and contextualizes each concept, contributors also
present a critical interrogation of indigenous concepts with other established concepts in
media studies, such as Putnam’s bridging and bonding social capital, Hofstede’s cultural
dimensions, or Bourdieu’s habitus. A glossary that introduces and explains the Asian
This is the pre-print version of:Lim, S. S. & Soriano, C. (2016). A (digital) giant awakens Invigorating media studies
with Asian perspectives. In S. S Lim & C. Soriano, (Eds.) Asian Perspectives on Digital Culture: Emerging Phenomena,
Enduring Concepts (pp. 3-14). London: Routledge.
15
concepts that are used in the different chapters serves as the capstone to the volume, and
a useful guide for future scholarship.
Examining digital cultures through Asian precepts: Igniting dynamic conversations
The final two papers offer valuable take-off points for dynamic conversations
about contemporary Asian digital cultures and chart future directions and challenges in
the internationalization of Asian media studies. In the quest of moving away from the
dominance of Western rationality and in consideration of the multiplicity of modernities
in Asia, the complex project of arriving at a notion of “Asian modernity” is
problematized by Sreekumar’s paper. The chapter presents the emergence of the concept
of Asian modernity and the complex dynamics and contestations of the concept, as
foregrounded by the politics of technology as well as the role of technology in the uneven
developments in the region. Goggin’s concluding chapter on re-Orienting global digital
cultures serves as a useful capstone to this volume by reflecting on the different chapter’s
contributions in the broader context of digital cultures and the “Asian” turn in theorizing
and researching the same. He argues that the implications of the studies are significant for
our understanding of Asian communication and impel us to rethink global
communication in a general sense.
Reflection and acknowledgements
None of the contributors to this volume would lay claim to considerable breadth
or depth of expertise in the internationalisation of media studies. However, we are
unified in our perception of the inadequacies of existing media theories in relation to our
experiences - as media consumers who engage, and as media scholars who theorise. Our
This is the pre-print version of:Lim, S. S. & Soriano, C. (2016). A (digital) giant awakens Invigorating media studies
with Asian perspectives. In S. S Lim & C. Soriano, (Eds.) Asian Perspectives on Digital Culture: Emerging Phenomena,
Enduring Concepts (pp. 3-14). London: Routledge.
16
proclivity to draw inspiration from indigenous Asian concepts stems from our instinctive
grasp of these concepts, and appreciation of their ability to illuminate nuances in values,
attitudes and behaviours that resonate with our lived experience. These concepts quietly
but inexorably mould the epistemological and ontological frames that shape how we as
academics, contemplate, apprehend and interpret the socio-technical relationships that are
emerging from Asia’s increasingly digitized media landscape. The analytical profit we
derived from applying these concepts in our research motivated us to pool together our
collective experience. In doing so, we hope to encourage dynamic conversations on
Asian digital phenomena, as well as inspire greater exploration of indigenous concepts
for understanding media use in other contexts.
In editing this volume, we have benefited from the support of a community of
scholars whose generosity and wisdom have fortified us in our push for greater diversity
in media studies. We thank our respective departments, colleagues, past and present
collaborators, and the broader community of scholars whose work has been such a source
of guidance and intellectual stimulation. As we follow the lead of these scholars who
have passionately advanced the internationalization of media studies, we also hope that
this volume will ignite more global efforts to examine global digital cultures through
alternative lenses and locally-grounded conceptual frameworks.
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with Asian perspectives. In S. S Lim & C. Soriano, (Eds.) Asian Perspectives on Digital Culture: Emerging Phenomena,
Enduring Concepts (pp. 3-14). London: Routledge.
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