Shepherd Mpofu F'17
African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships 2017
Department of Communication Studies
University of Johannesburg
Public and Diasporic Online Media and the Discursive Construction of National Identity in Zimbabwe
This qualitative study explores the creative ways which ordinary Zimbabweans use new media to construct national identities that challenge Zanu-Pf 's imaginations of Zimbabweanness. To do this the book highlights two critical aspects in identity construction debates. Firstly, I show how, through the use of state controlled media, Zanu-Pf has constructed and communicated its preferred monolithic version of identity between 2000-2016. Secondly I use the website newzimbabwe.com to illustrate how everyday Zimbabweans have used new media to advance versions of identity that support or rail against the dominant discourses. The book offers a multi-dimensional and critical understanding of the conflictual nature of national identity project during crisis. These debates are explored through national identity and media theories. Methodologically I use interviews, virtual ethnography and textual analysis. Critical Discourse and Historical analysis are used to analyse the data whose core, largely, is to privilege voices of everyday people in salient debates.