DAAD Scholar
Julia Splitt
Centre for Migration Research, Ýstanbul Bilgi University
Comparative Cultural and Social Anthropology, European University Viadrina Frankfurt


Sirin Dilli
Centre for Migration Studies, Ýstanbul Bilgi University
Centre for Communication Information Media, Paris III University

‘Ethnic’ Minority Media as a Tool for Citizenship: The cases of France, Germany and Turkey

Globalization presents a phenomenon of opening that destabilizes in any case the classical consumption of collective identities, and arises everywhere the issue of the respect for cultural diversities. This change of reality makes that nations or groups within the same territory need to constantly reproduce and re-affirm their identity.

Communication plays an important role in this process. Arjun Appadurai calls it a radical change in the construction of ethnic and cultural territories. The most relevant example is the phenomenon of community media. The community broadcasting sector in Europe is made up of groups from a diverse spectrum of society, including community associations and advocacy groups; culturally and linguistically diverse communities; indigenous broadcasters; religious groups; social activists, educational institutions… The interaction gives shape to a source of cultural hybridization where the difference expresses itself, but is under mutation at the same time. These new complex identities are less and less depending on territories of the Nation-States where the identity constructions «were produced in a permanent game of opposition between oneself and the other, between the interior and the exterior one » but linked to the «multiplication of public spheres, characterized by methods of collective appropriations of the narratives and media pictures».

Within community media, this is evident in the examination of ethnic media which contributes great attention and a lot of resources to broadcast media. Engagement with media can be seen as an essential part of ethnic minority communities’ struggle for visibility, public presence, community, influence and symbolic power. It can also help to explain how communities within traditional cleavages have been affected by the changes that define the post-industrial era. The growth of media systems, the increasing importance of culture and symbols and the fragmented nature of post-industrial society has directly affected communities’ civic participation.

My on-going thesis analyses the role of ethnic media as a tool for citizenship. It aims to do so by comparing three big European countries. France and Turkey coming with a similar State building tradition but one being EU member country and a candidate country. To that framework, I add Germany as a EU member State built on a different political system, which went a step further with its national minorities but doesn’t show the same performance in terms of dealing with its new minorities. By working under different national, regional and local conditions, I explore revealing cases where minority media holds an essential place in development, allows redeployment and guarantees effectiveness of ‘ethnic’ minorities. Ideally, this thesis could modify, extend, or perhaps create a socio-political theory on the field of ‘ethnic’ minority media in a « network world ».