Gender, Media and Development. The Role of Media in the Cultural Struggle of Gender Transformation in Tanzania
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This dissertation aims at providing insights on the role of the mass media in the cultural struggle over gender transformation, which entails definitions and prescriptions of femininity against the backdrop of political and -economic reforms in Tanzania. The media landscape has been altered radically as a result of fundamental transformations in the country’s political and economic systems. The media can be perceived as a major source of definitions and images of social reality. Thus, the media is also the place where the changing culture and values of societies and groups are constructed and most visibly expressed (McQuail 1994; 1). Tanzania has changed its course from African socialism and ujamaa as guidelines in the sixties, to a market economy in the mid-eighties, followed by the introduction of a multiparty system in 19921. The restructuring of the state has had dramatic consequences for the economic, social and cultural aspects of urban life. Central to this study is the idea that the movement from socialist to capitalist principles promotes conflicts between modern and traditional values and ways of life, which also affects gender ideas and notions. The biggest changes are felt in urban areas, which are thus the place where the conflicts and tensions that arise in the process of modernization are most visibly expressed. In this new landscape, the media is becoming an important cultural agent and an arena for conflicts and contestation. A key issue is how the media comes to grips with these changes.