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Beyond Anglobalisation: The Rise of Chindia

The second keynote speaker in this ECREA 2012 plenary is Daya Thussu, whose interest is in the internationalisation of media studies, with specific reference to China and India. Where we are today in terms of global media is a mix of material of Hollywood-imported or -inspired programming (in music, television, films, news, sports, children's programming, and also in online media); the US continues to dominate the entertainment industry, in particular.

In news and current affairs, the US and UK form a duopoly of dominance; the world's top five media companies are based in the US. But this status quo beginning to change, especially with the rise of the BRICS countries and other emerging countries such as Turkey or Indonesia; media studies has not yet caught up with these fairly fundamental shifts in power structures, however. Much work is still extrapolated from internationally unrepresentative countries such as the UK and US, and this needs to change – there is a need to dewesternise and internationalise media studies.

Key imperatives for this internationalisation are that the globalisation of the media must be accompanied by research which can address this change; that higher education, too, is being globalised, so that students demand more globalised approaches; and that therefore the canon of scholarly work must also be globalised. Western-centric work tends to ignore the long history of scholarship outside of its cultural orbit; even the fact that the printing press was invented in China, not Europe, is so often ignored or forgotten.

Journalism theory tends to forget the role of journalism in anti-colonial movements in Asia, Africa, or the Middle East; alternative public spheres and alternative journalisms have existed there for a very long time, and often predate the alternative media which are now celebrated in the west. Gandhi himself was part of this tradition.

Beyond the western realm, too, there is another globalisation taking place: the emergence of 'Chindia', continuing the ongoing shift of political and market power towards China and India which has been happening over the last few years. How does this impact on global communication? This is a question of size, scale, and scope, and we are talking here not just about two countries, but two civilisations – both have been growing rapidly, are embedded in a large diaspora, and are therefore also drivers of globalisation: this process takes place not least also in media and education.

The Chinese government is aggressively pursuing external-facing communication through its CCTV channels; India (as a highly multi-lingual country) has a very large and diverse media sector, with some one million media channels available now – there are some 120 24-hour news channels alone, its film industry is now larger than Hollywood, and it is close to being the largest producer of English-language media in the world. China, in turn, has the world's biggest mobile phone market, and is the world's largest exporter of information technology; additionally, its newspaper market is thriving (India already has the world's largest market for newspapers).

But perhaps the most exciting potential exists in the new media field, where both countries are already rivalling the US in terms of Internet users – even though only some 10% of Indians are online so far, in fact. As take-up in both countries increases, this will inevitably change the make-up of the Internet, and of global online culture.

Through these continuing changes, we are entering a post-American media world. These changes show up the changes of American-style 'neo-liberal' globalisation – or 'Anglobalisation' – and point to counter-flows of media from non-Anglo sources; the world of global media is becoming more interesting and more complex, and these flows are increasing in volume, importance, and value. What this means in cultural, intellectual, pedagogical, intellectual terms still has to be fully considered. Added to this is the fact that 75% of Indians are under 35: these people will be there to stay, and will thoroughly affect the world.

What will result from this is not a clash of civilisations, but a conversation, Daya suggests – and it will change the way we discuss global themes such as democracy, religion, and war. China and India are not caught up in the crusade mentality which characterises the fraught relationship between western nations and the Middle East; there is a potential that they may have a moderating influence on such conflicts.