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Media, Technology, and the Global Technoclass: Case Studies from Ghana.

By Seyram Ama Avle


Extant literature on globalization acknowledges fundamental shifts in the global flow of people, capital and technology. Key among these is the knowledge generated by the various intersections of these flows and their role in social change. In this dissertation, I argue that these forms of knowledge, particularly as they relate to information and communication technologies (ICTs), have given rise to what I call a technoclass in the contemporary global economy. To do this, I draw on four case studies from Ghana’s media industry against the backdrop of the confluence of economic and technological globalization, and the country’s internal political trajectory in the 1990s. Particularly, economic liberalization, rapid diffusion of new communication technologies and the transition to democracy underscore the emergence of knowledge forms as key arbiters of class. This can be seen through a juxtaposition of the legacy sector, radio, and the much newer one, ICTs in the media industry. In the first place, the newly liberalized radio sector rapidly transformed into a competitive space in which ‘new’ media and ICTs became normalized via everyday interactions between radio stations and their audiences. Given radio’s importance as a social and cultural institution, it now plays host to valorized and valued knowledge forms that are also reflected in the nascent ICT sector with its privileging of the application of information technologies, particularly the ability to leverage their regenerative and network properties in entrepreneurial ways. Both ‘old’ and ‘new’ media, then, are helping to amplify the influence of an emerging technoclass that is largely youthful, urban based and globally aware. These together make class a more layered phenomenon in the country and reflect broader shifts in class formation related to globalization in other national contexts

Topics: New Media, ICT, Globalization, Ghana, Technoclass, Radio
Year: 2014
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