1st Edition

Diasporas and Diplomacy Cosmopolitan contact zones at the BBC World Service (1932–2012)

Edited By Marie Gillespie, Alban Webb Copyright 2013
    254 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    272 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Diasporas and Diplomacy analyzes the exercise of British ‘soft power’ through the BBC’s foreign language services, and the diplomatic role played by their diasporic broadcasters. The book offers the first historical and comparative analysis of the ‘corporate cosmopolitanism’ that has characterized the work of the BBC’s international services since the inception of its Empire Service in 1932 – from radio to the Internet.

    A series of empirically-grounded case studies, within a shared analytical framework, interrogate transformations in international broadcasting relating to:

    • colonialism and corporate cosmopolitanism
    • diasporic and national identities
    • public diplomacy and international relations
    • broadcasters and audiences 

    The book will be of interest to students and scholars of sociology and anthropology, media and cultural studies, journalism, history, politics, international relations, as well as of research methods that cross the boundaries between the Social Sciences and Humanities. It will also appeal to broadcast journalists and practioners of strategic communication.

    Acknowledgements.  List of Contributors.  Introduction: Diasporas and Diplomacy: Cosmopolitan Contact Zones at the Bbc World Service 1932–2012 by Marie Gillespie and Alban Webb  Part I: National Interests with a Global Reach: Projection, Persuasion and Intonation  1. ‘It Is a Real Joy to Get Listening of Any Kind from the Homeland’: BBC Radio and British Diasporic Audiences in the 1930s by Emma Robertson  2. The Colonization of the BBC: Diasporic Britons At The BBC External Services, c.1932–1956 by Simon J. Potter  3. ‘Frau Wernicke’ at the BBC: Wartime Satire and Propaganda by Rhys W. Williams  4. Les Français Parlent Aux Français: Voices from London on the Persecution of the Jews by Renée Poznanski  5. The BBC Polish Section and the Reporting of Polish Solidarity, 1980–83 by Alban Webb  Part II: Cultures of Diplomacy in the Post-War Middle East and Asia  6. The BBC Arabic Service’s Dilemmatic Triangle: Competing Elites, Conflicting Priorities, Contested Media Strategies by Ramy Aly and Gerd Baumann  7. The BBC World Service – From Wartime Propaganda to Public Diplomacy: The Case of Iran by Annabelle Sreberny and Massoumeh Torfeh  8. The BBC in South Asia: From the End of Empire to the Cold War by Alasdair Pinkerton  9. Language, Nationhood and Diaspora at the BBC Urdu Service 1940–2010 by David Page  10. Diaspora Calling the Homeland? The BBC Persian Service, Cosmopolitanism and Music Listening in Iran by Jason Toynbee and Leili Sreberny Mohammadi  Part III: Corporate Cosmopolitanism and the Global Conversation  11. Communication for Development and Public Diplomacy: Insights from an Afghan Radio Drama by Andrew Skuse  12. What Kind of Global Conversation? Participation, Democratic Deepening and Public Diplomacy through BBC World Service Online Forums: An Examination of Mediated Global Talk about Religion and Politics by David Herbert and Tracey Black  13. Discussions on BBC Chinese Have Your Say Forums: National Identity and International Broadcasting in the Interactive Media Era by Jingrong Tong and Hugh Mackay


    Marie Gillespie is Professor of Sociology at The Open University and Co-Director of the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change.

    Alban Webb is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC) at The Open University.