I argue that postcolonial discourses are essential to unearthing and revising the complicated dynamic of codependence between Western and Eastern European nationalisms, which is haunted by internalized and rarely acknowledged traces of imperialism on both sides. However, the spatial expansion of postcolonial discourse to Europe’s own backyard needs to be matched by an expansion of research methods and objects. Postcolonial studies’ traditional commitment to theory and to textual analysis of literature and art cinema is beneficially complemented by engaging with popular media, such as television. It is also crucial to critically analyze the contexts of production and dissemination in which certain aesthetic and theoretical models are formed, lest we risk simply reaffirming the patterns in which Eastern European cultural nationalisms have reproduced themselves, which have also functioned to contain and disavow racism and imperialism. I propose to integrate within the postcolonial sphere methods and approaches from anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, and media and communication studies, which have produced a significant body of work on everyday socialist and postsocialist practices but have remained under the radar of elite national cultures. They have also stayed in fairly isolated disciplinary brackets and thus badly need postcolonial studies’ sophisticated theorizing of ideology and identity and its commitment to historiography. At the end, I outline three sample possibilities for such a geopolitically expanded, methodologically hybridized encounter: the postcolonial study of popular (post)socialist television; a postcolonial take on the European circulation of socialist film cultures; and contemporary reality television focused on the European underclass.
Anikó Imre; Postcolonial Media Studies in Postsocialist Europe. boundary 2 1 February 2014; 41 (1): 113–134. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-2409694
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