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Spectacles of Gender and Globalization: Mapping Miss World's Media Event Space in the News

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The 1996 Miss World pageant in India turned into a controversial event when activist groups launched protests against globalization and cultural imperialism. Approaching news texts as portals into the larger moral order, this article examines the Times of India's representations of the Miss World controversy. The newspaper's colorful photographs of Miss World's organizers, sponsors, and beauty contestants resuscitated the hegemonic cultural politics of consumer modernity while the visual imaging of activist groups inscribed protesters within paradigms of delinquency and disorder. The crafting of news through objectivist signifiers of consent for Miss World legitimized the authority of state and consumer discourses, excluded the poor, and marginalized activists' voices. News stories on Miss World's charitable support for handicapped children inserted institutions of global/local capital into sympathetic templates of Third World salvation. In concluding, the article situates my textual analysis within the economics and professional routines of media production and the discursive inheritances of colonialism.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Journalism, Indiana University

Publication date: 2004-10-01

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