In the Curtin’s essay Media Capitals he works toward defining the term, summed up as “sites of mediation, locations where complex forces and flows interact…. The meeting places where local specificity arises out of migration, interaction and exchange” (2003, p. 204). He suggest that this is where generation and circulation of new mass culture forms will become possible evident in recent movement away from one way flow of information towards a multi-directional flows of media imagery.
The big media capitals are places like Hong Kong and Hollywood, their mission is to focus on finance, production and distribution of the commodity (also known as financescapes) aka transnational film. Whilst still relying on the centralized control and management of geographical distribution which Curtin’s refers to as a “world system”. Serving national interest while having a local agenda is the embodiment of the concept of “localism”, this creates new distribution opportunities and further emphasises national systems of mass production, distribution and consumption. These products could be marketed to local stations and sold in newly emerging markets overseas something that was not possible before and created the following:
– National-foreign ownerships of media enterprises
– Transnational co-productions
– Conscious design and marketing of transnational programming
Largely due to government regulation of technology and program distribution which sought to minimize the number of network competitors at the national level and to control the flow of international programming. This sparked research into how to take advantage of media capitals and how one could use it to break international boarders and expand into new distribution channels, a short video of a conference in Chicago (link below) explaining the benefits to be gained from this knowledge.
The new interconnectivity between nations introduced an issue as the era of hybridity allowed for what some refer to as ‘cultural appropriation’, which is when one country ‘borrows’ certain aspect of another culture in order to create profits an example seen in the breakdown of James Cameron’s recent film Avatar which mixed native-American themes with Ancient Hindu concepts.
The questions remains as to what extend these ideoscapes will affect how we view other cultures and to what degree will these one sided view of a whole culture influence our knowledge of the outside world, a world these media capitals create through the expressive medium of film. Don’t believe me watch the clip below to see an example of this in Disney’s stereotypical and racist portrayal of the Middle East in Aladdin.
Curtin, M 2013, Media Capitals : Towards the study of spatial flows, in International Journal of Cultural Studies, Sage Publications, London, UK, pp. 202- 228