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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Chattering classes: radio, rhythm and resistance in 'multi-party' Malawi, 1994 - 2014
Author:Lwanda, JohnISNI
Periodical:The Society of Malawi Journal
Geographic term:Malawi
social inequality
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/24332679
Abstract:This paper examines the history, forms and nature of oral and musical discourses contained in interactive radio programmes and, in parallel, internet chat forums that have come to the fore with the breaking up of the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation's (MBC) monopoly after the onset of 'multi-party' rule in 1994. It attempts to demonstrate how they have been exploited, first, by broadcasters both to entertain and foster a feeling of 'freedom of speech' and, secondly, by various institutional, social and political actors to foster this feeling of freedom of speech as well as for their own class needs. Although appearing to give equity of voice to all, the modes of entry into 'direct' talk radio are determined by infrastructural factors like the internet, internet cafes, fixed and mobile phones and possession of 'phone units'; as well as peoples' political, cultural or religious views. Before a piece of music can be broadcast it has to be 'composed, recorded, promoted and requested', an 'indirect' process that brings in a conflicting mix of promoters, patrons, musicians and, often, disc jockeys' preferences and politics. Similarly access to internet chat forums and newspapers requires access to internet technology (IT). After examination using a number of case studies, the commonalities in interactive talk, music radio programmes and internet media in relation to powerful and not so powerful forces whether personal, institutional or national, against the disparities and specifics of class, culture and urbanity, it is concluded that, in the case of Malawi, the proliferation of media has separated the social classes even further, with different sections 'chattering unto themselves'. This, it is suggested, is an impediment to a participatory developmental democracy. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]