Democracy And Justice In Film And Fiction

Read Complete Research Material

Democracy and Justice in Film and Fiction

Democracy and Justice in Film and Fiction


Indigenous media are made by and for Indigenous peoples eager to take control over media representations of their lives and communities. They are usually closely associated with movements for Indigenous rights, such as struggles over land, control of natural resources and intellectual property, cultural survival and autonomy, and political and economic justice. Indigenous media have often emerged to counteract common images of Indigenous peoples, either as timeless, unchanging, and backward or as criminal and suspect.

Many Indigenous media-makers are engaged in the creation of what Faye Ginsburg calls “screen memories,” attempting to recover collective histories erased in the dominant culture's narratives and in danger of disappearing forever. Whereas print media are perhaps the easiest to set up, radio remains the most accessible and affordable for most Indigenous groups, although television and films are also vibrant and growing sectors for Indigenous production. Productions range from small-scale community projects to major international undertakings, such as feature films. Although most Indigenous media are produced by and for Indigenous communities, many also target non-Indigenous audiences, appearing at film festivals, human rights forums, UN proceedings, and other international venues (Ginsburg, 2003).


Indigenous media have often been at the forefront of political struggles, such as with conflicts between Indigenous and commercial fisheries in Alaska and the struggle to pass the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, an achievement met in 1971. Perhaps the best known of these struggles is the effective use of media by the Zapatista movement in Chiapas, México, but there are many such struggles. Many Indigenous media-makers are activists in their communities, using media to strengthen their activist work. Others are (or were) also professional mainstream journalists.

Working definitions of Indigenous peoples usually denote peoples who inhabited an area prior to colonization, invasion, or settlement by outsiders; who consider themselves culturally distinct; who have their own political, economic, social, and cultural structures; who are only partly integrated into the dominant nation-state; who are usually discriminated against or disad-vantaged; and who desire to affirm their identity and self-determination.

There is no universally acknowledged definition, and indigeneity is increasingly difficult to define, especially given recent changes in transport, migration, and global media. Increasing commodification of indigeneity in the global marketplace muddies the picture further, especially as the dominant society determines the commodity value of “tribal authenticity.” Jeff Himpele argues that indigeneity is a collection of conscious discourses and strategies embedded in a global environment of non-Indigenous activists, human rights discourses, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and other organizations (Himpele, 2008).

The Sacred and Profane in the Postmodern Era of Film

Further secular use of the dichotomy in films, through a synthesis of the sacred and profane, gives rise to new modes of expression, indicated by cultural artifacts that both reflect secularization and articulate an acknowledgment of, or even respect for, older metaphysical concerns. Such a paradoxical “holding together,” rather than the dialectical “conversational” relationship between the sacred and profane, is one well suited to music.

Peter Shaffer's 1979 play Amadeus (made into a ...
Related Ads