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Trinidad and Tobago Television Advertising as Third Space: Hybridity as Resistance in the Caribbean Mediascape

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Postcolonial literature has mostly overlooked advertising in its discussion of national identity formation and the discursive rupture after colonial hegemony. Focused on the Caribbean nation Trinidad and Tobago, this article reconsiders the positions of scholars who have judged the Caribbean cultural sphere as heavily influenced by external aesthetics and the Caribbean mediascape as dominated by imported texts. Building upon Homi Bhabha's work (1990b), the author examines the construction of a mediated Third Space, by which local voices have become active participants in the culmination of a Trinidad and Tobago mediascape. The author examines the discourses that circulated within 1 television commercial break on TV6 (the country's most popular television station at the time of this study) and uses textual analysis to focus on 2 locally produced television advertisements. This analysis aligns with the academic positioning of Caribbean producers as actively wielding power in the negotiation of national and regional identities through the production of media texts that represent a wealth of local production in visual media. Ultimately the author argues that despite the historical dominance of imported television programs and motion pictures in the Caribbean mediascape, television advertising operates as a space of interstitiality and hybridity and plays a central role in the production of liminal, resistive identity formation.

Keywords: mediascape; national identity; television advertising; third space; visual media

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Communication, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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