Young People and Stories of Cultural Identiy: Making Meanings in the Practice of Intercultural Communication
Our intercultural experiences whether firsthand or lived, secondhand or told and, mediated or through media consumption have bearings on our cultural identities. In view of the massive supplies of global media products in the Malaysian mediascape it is fair to assume that transnational media consumption contribute to the (re)construction of local identies among young people. So how do young people make meanings in a world where they must often interact and negotiate with mediated messages from cultures that may or may not share their notions of reality? How do young people negotiate the constructions of their identities within the context of local policies that underscore an ascribed national identity? The challenge for intercultural communication research on this issue is to gather and render local data intelligible within the situated cultural context. Thus raising issues of the approriateness of the methodologies employed. This paper hopes to address this methodological concerns by firstly, outlining the local mediascape, secondly, presenting data from a focus group study of 60 young adults between 20 to 25 years of age that explore their media habits and conceptions of identities and finally, to examine the methodological frameworks that posit data of local mediated experiences intelligible. It is hoped that these locally situated interpretations of media consumption among young people will offer possible best practices in data gathering, interpretation and allow for an alternative, dynamic view of the construction of cultural identity that is local, situated and yet, commensurable to all.
Keywords: Media Consumption, Young People, Cultural Identity, Intercultural Communication, Focus Group Study
Dr. Latiffah Pawanteh
Deputy Dean (Research), School of Media and Communication Studies,