Solid to liquid culture: The institutional, political and economic transformation of New Zealand state broadcasting

by Donald Macgregor Reid

Institution: University of Otago
Year: 0
Keywords: state broadcasting; New Zealand; public service broadcasting; globalization; national identity; public sphere; public commissioning
Record ID: 1303777
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10523/5103


This thesis examines the cultural development of New Zealand state broadcasting and proposes a new institutional paradigm based around the discursive potential of digital and social media. In framing the political, cultural and institutional elements of New Zealand broadcasting through an historical schema based around Zygmunt Bauman’s concept of the shift between ‘solid’ (national) to a ‘liquid’ (global) culture, the thesis examines New Zealand state broadcasting through three distinct cultural phases: as a vehicle for the narrative of the settler colony; as a site for cultural struggle over national identity; and as a means to convey a commodified version of national identity in the era of competitive, trans-global media. I argue that in each of its administrative and governance configurations, the state broadcaster has operated to disseminate the prevailing ideology and in this capacity has never effectively functioned as a public service. Since the 1990s the development of digital media technologies, and the modes of production and consumption associated with those technologies, has made subverting the accepted economic and structural broadcasting paradigm possible. In the final chapter I turn to Habermas’s notion of the public sphere and the concept of public commissioning in order to propose a re-imaged form of public service media in New Zealand.