Media – Globalization – Gender; Association for Progressive Communications as a Transcultural Network
The Association for Progressive Communications Women’s Networking Support Programme (APC WNSP) is a transcultural network that conducts women empowerment media projects in different countries. The aim of APC WNSP is the transformation of gender hierarchies and the realization of gender equality through the use of (mainly new) information and communication technologies. As a transcultural network, APC WNSP has become a phenomenon of contemporary media globalization, acting in a multi-level system on global, regional, and local levels. APC WNSP is of interest for gender analysis in media and communication studies as well as in globalization theory. Therefore, on the one hand, I analyze the transcultural structure of the network and, on the other hand, the gender norms of global organization as well as the efforts to implement these norms on the local level. The main question here is: Are there differences and tensions or homogeneous ideas of gender? As gender is always determined by other social categories, I combine the perspectives of intersectionality and transculturality for analyzing gender. While the transcultural perspective helps in the analysis of cultural patterns, an intersectional approach requires attention to the interdependence of different social categories within the category of gender. In my doctoral thesis, the efforts in the implementation of global gender norms are analyzed in South Africa as a significant regional example. South Africa is relevant for a theoretical globalization perspective because phenomena of cultural globalization can be significantly regarded within this cultural space. Because of its history of apartheid and accommodation of many migrants, South Africa is an interface of different cultures in which cultural negotiation processes take place. Media workshops conducted by one of APC WNSP’s members, Women’s Net, are used as examples for local media projects, which are then compared with the global ideas and norms of the network. For my project, I use a triangulation of different methods: expert interviews with APC coordinators; website and document analyses of the network structure and the gender concepts within the network; and interviews with project participants to bring insights into individual gender identities. Triangulation allows a comparison of the local and global levels. The main questions are the following: How do media/gender NGOs network worldwide? How and with what effects does transcultural communication take place within this network? What concepts of gender do the NGOs agree on a global level, and what ideas of gender do they face locally? How does a transcultural network like APC WNSP influence local gender hierarchies?