An Investigation into the Appropriation and Use of Bollywood Movies by Ethiopian Youth from a Poor Family Background in Addis Ababa

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Addis Ababa University


Ethiopia, as part of the world-wide trend of influence brought about by globalization, is subject to a situation marked by the increased flow into the country and consumption by the local audience of foreign-produced media and cultural products. While American movies take the lead in terms of consumption rates, we also see Indian films supplementing the local audience’s consumption of foreign media materials. This study, in particular, under the title of “An Investigation into the Appropriation and use of Bollywood Movies by Ethiopian Youth from a Poor Family Background in Addis Ababa” is interested in examining the web of meanings that arise from the viewing of Bollywood amongst Ethiopian youth. With this end in view, the study employed observation, focus group interviews, and individual in-depth interviews to gather the data needed to make sense of the youth’s viewing practice. The findings of the study show that local audiences in their interaction with media messages produced in settings far removed from theirs, actively interpret them in light of the subjective values, aspirations and concerns within their lives. What the youth’s own responses reveal is that the plurality of meanings they make when viewing Bollywood movies represent a challenge to the premises of the media imperialism thesis, which posits the homogenizing role of the Western media in terms of propagating Western values and interests at the expense of the weaker ‘Third World’ nations such as Ethiopia. The notion of homogenization fails to accurately describe the consumption of foreign media messages by local audiences. The study also shows that the coming into the picture of such regional media images as produced by nations like India raises the question whether media/cultural imperialism thesis is adequate in terms of explaining the overwhelmingly complicated global exchange and transfer of cultural materials.



Movies by Ethiopian