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Quantifying Taste: Findings from a survey on media and taste among teenagers from six high schools in Cape Town

Year: 2009
Working paper number: 250
Author: Schenk, Jan
Unit: SSU
Abstract:

Recent studies suggest that young South Africans increasingly use references to popular culture, such as music and fashion, in making racial distinctions. This leads to a reinterpretation of race categories but not to the demise of the importance of race in the way adolescents see themselves and others. It is argued in this paper that the link between race and popular culture is creating and maintaining racialised taste patterns, which in turn causes adolescents to develop racialised media preferences. In other words someone's race, in terms of self-definition, is not only a strong predictor for someone's taste in popular culture (in this paper exemplified by music taste) and media preference (here restricted to radio, television and music television) but also one can find a strong relationship between certain music tastes and media preferences. This argument is supported by the statistical analysis of data from a survey with schoolchildren from six public high schools in the Greater Cape Town Metropolitan Area. The results show that among the participants significant relationships exist between race, music taste and preferences for certain radio, television and music television stations as well as between race and certain music genres. These findings are being discussed against the background of an increasingly segmented mediascape and the question for the attainability of a collective South African identity. It is concluded that racialised media preferences might encourage media producers to target audiences based on race, thus promoting racial difference rather than cross-racial similarities or commonalities.


Publication file: WP250.pdf
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