|Title||Mediated encounters in diasporic space: exploring processes of transculturation syncretism and identity redefinition in the Ghanaian diaspora in London|
This thesis explores the diasporic experiences of Ghanaians in London and assesses how Ghanaian identity is redefined and constructed in new contexts. The mediated experience dimension of this exploration considers the difference that the diverse menu of cultural resources offered by television is making to dispositions, cultural proclivities, and patterns of identification across intergenerational differences among Ghanaian-Londoners. The study qualitatively assembles and analyses empirical data from primary sources and integrates material from secondary sources to draw its conclusions.
The thesis traces the development of the black diaspora as the historical antecedent or precursor to more recent black diasporic formations. The concept of the black diaspora provides a context for understanding or imagining the fledgling Ghanaian diaspora as another offshoot within the family of black identities in Britain. It is argued that the perceptions of blackness that Ghanaian- Londoners encountered in Britain were derived from the racial construction of blackness as the antithesis of whiteness and hence its construction as deviance. This was purveyed in discourses and reinforced in the public imagination through the media. Not only did it run counter to their self-perceptions, it impinged on their experiences as black people as they were confronted with unflattering stereotypes which they repudiated. In marginal spaces they endeavoured to reinstitute traditions from the homeland and to establish a distinctive presence in the ensemble of black identities in Britain, which in part challenges the monolithic imaginations of blackness from ‘othering’ perspectives, and also highlights an area of blackness underrepresented in academic discourses.
Furthermore, the study finds that in their cultural consumption, a factor of their diasporic experience, they exhibited a critical edge and a comparative attitude to screen representations, reflecting the dual and sometimes multiple perspectives of their diasporic condition which enabled them to critique or valorise certain cultural practices from the different worlds of their experience, an indication of processes of cultural negotiation, synthesis, and hybridisation. Overall, this thesis contributes to current academic debates around mediated experience and cultural transformations, and the understanding of processes at the intersections between modernity, diaspora and culture in the era of globalization.