Advertisement

The BBC’s Corporate Cosmopolitanism: The Diasporic Voice Between Empire and Cold War

  • Marie Gillespie
  • Eva Nieto McAvoy
Chapter

Abstract

The history of the BBC World Service is intimately connected to the history of late imperial Britain. This chapter sheds light on the way metropolitan, imperial and diasporic intellectuals interacted on the radio in a period of intensive collaboration which began with the Second World War and continued into the Cold War era. In this period, intellectuals and broadcasters such as George Orwell and Zulfaqar Ali Bokhari became ‘cosmopolitan brokers’ in a common struggle against fascism, but they also fulfilled the strategic and propaganda needs of the British Foreign Office. In nuanced reconstructions of the effects of translation and cultural ‘ventriloquism’, the chapter draws out the rich and complex interplay between centripetal and centrifugal forms of cosmopolitan thinking which emerged on air as well as off air. In this process, the voices of Indian and Caribbean intellectuals such as Mulk Raj Anand and Una Marson are contextualised in their interactions with intellectuals from eastern European Jewish, African and English origin in a way which highlights that a common presence on the radio did not always reflect common political ambitions or social experiences.

Keywords

BBC Diaspora Imperial Britain Second World War Cold War Mulk Raj Anand Una Marson George Orwell Arturo Barea Ilsa Barea Ventriloquism Impartiality Radio Postcolonial Postimperial Corporate cosmopolitanism 

Notes

Acknowldgements

We are very grateful to Dr Gerd Baumann, Marie’s close friend and fellow anthropologist, now sadly deceased. Gerd worked with Marie on the Tuning In project – his very last project – for several years and co-authored many articles with her. We hope that we have been able to do justice to his inspiring contributions to the project and will always remember him with love and fondness. We dedicate this chapter to him.

References

  1. Articles and book chapters Google Scholar
  2. Beck, Ulrich, and Natan Sznaider. ‘Unpacking Cosmopolitanism for the Social Sciences: A Research Agenda’, in The British Journal of Sociology 57: 1 (2006), 1–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brubaker, Rogers, ‘The ‘diaspora’ Diaspora’, in Ethnic and Racial Studies 28: 1 (2005), 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Delanty, Gerard, ‘The Cosmopolitan Imagination: Critical Cosmopolitanism and Social Theory’. British Journal of Sociology 57: 1 (2006), 25–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Gillespie, Marie, ‘Security, Media and Multicultural Citizenship: A Collaborative Ethnography’, in European Journal of Cultural Studies 10: 3 (2007), 275–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gillespie, Marie, ‘Diasporic Creativity: Refugee Intellectuals, Exiled Poets and Corporate Cosmopolitanism at the BBC World Service’, in Diasporas: Concepts, Intersections, Identities, eds. Kim Knott and Seán McLoughlin, (London: Zed Books, 2010), 236–243.Google Scholar
  7. Gillespie, Marie, and Gerd Baumann, ‘Diasporic Contact Zones at the BBC World Service’, in Tuning In Working Paper Series, no. 14 (2016), 1–26.Google Scholar
  8. Gillespie, Marie, and Alban Webb, ‘Corporate Cosmopolitanism: Diasporas and Diplomacy at the BBC World Service, 1932–2012’, in Diasporas and Diplomacy Cosmopolitan Contact Zones at the BBC World Service, eds. Marie Gillespie and Alban Webb (New York: Routledge, 2013), 1–20.Google Scholar
  9. Hill, Andrew, ‘The BBC Empire Service: The Voice, the Discourse of the Master and Ventriloquism’, in South Asian Diaspora 2: 1 (2010), 25–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kerr, Douglas, ‘Orwell’s BBC Broadcasts: Colonial Discourse and the Rhetoric of Propaganda’, in Textual Practice 16: 3 (2002), 473–490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Nieto McAvoy, Eva, ‘A Spaniard Discovers England’, in Wasafiri 68 (2011), 8–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Pratt, Mary Louise, ‘Arts of the Contact Zone’, in Profession (1991), 33–40.Google Scholar
  13. Ranasinha, Ruvani, ‘South Asian Broadcasters in Britain and the BBC: Talking to India (1941–1943)’, in South Asian Diaspora 2: 1 (2010), 57–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Robertson, Emma, ‘I Get a Real Kick out of Big Ben’: BBC Versions of Britishness on the Empire and General Overseas Service, 1932–1948’, in Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television 28: 4 (2008), 459–473.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Robertson, Emma, ‘It Is a Real Joy to Get Listening of Any Kind from the Homeland: BBC Radio and Empire Audiences in the 1930s’, in Diasporas and Diplomacy: Cosmopolitan Contact Zones at the BBC World Service (1932–2012), eds. Marie Gillespie and Alban Webb (New York: Routledge, 2013), 23–39.Google Scholar
  16. Skuse, Andrew, ‘Voices of Freedom Afghan Politics in Radio Soap Opera’, in Ethnography 6: 2 (2005), 159–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Smulyan, Susan, ‘Live from Waikiki: Colonialism, Race, and Radio in Hawaii, 1934–1963’, in Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television 27: 1 (2007), 63–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Sreberny, Annabelle, ‘Collectivity and Connectivity: Diaspora and Mediated Identities’, in Global Encounters: Media and Cultural Transformation, eds. Gitte Stald and Thomas Tufte, (Luton: University of Luton Press, 2002), 217–234.Google Scholar
  19. Sreberny, Annabelle, ‘Media and Diasporic Consciousness: An Exploration among Iranians in London’, in Ethnic Minorities & The Media: Changing Cultural Boundaries, ed. Cottle Simon (London: McGraw-Hill Education, 2000), 179–196.Google Scholar
  20. Thiranagama, Sharika. ‘Partitioning the BBC: From Colonial to Postcolonial Broadcaster’, in South Asian Diaspora 2: 1 (2010), 39–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Books

  1. Apter, Emily, The Translation Zone: A New Comparative Literature (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011).Google Scholar
  2. Barth, Fredrik, Ethnic Groups and Boundaries: The Social Organization of Culture Difference (Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, 1998).Google Scholar
  3. Baumann, Gerd, Contesting Culture: Discourses of Identity in Multi-Ethnic London (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996).Google Scholar
  4. Clifford, James, Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997).Google Scholar
  5. Denselow, Jadzia, Andrew Taussig and Marie Gillespie, Career trajectories at the BBC World Service: managing diversity. Confidential report for the BBC World Service (London: The Open University & BBC World Service, 2010).Google Scholar
  6. Eaude, Michael, Triumph at Midnight of the Century: A Critical Biography of Arturo Barea : Explaining the Roots of the Spanish Civil War (Brighton: Sussex Academic Press, 2009).Google Scholar
  7. Footitt, Hilary, and Simona Tobia, WarTalk: Foreign Languages and the British War Effort in Europe, 1940–47 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gillespie, Marie, Television, Ethnicity and Cultural Change (London: Psychology Press, 1995).Google Scholar
  9. Holmes, James S., Translated!: Papers on Literary Translation and Translation Studies. (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1988).Google Scholar
  10. Karim, Karim Haiderali, The Media of Diaspora (London: Psychology Press, 2003).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Mansell, Gerard, Broadcasting to the World: Forty Years of BBC External Services (London: BBC, 1973).Google Scholar
  12. Mansell, Gérard, Let Truth Be Told: 50 Years of BBC External Broadcasting (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1982).Google Scholar
  13. Monferrer Catalán, Luis, Odisea En Albión: Los Republicanos Españoles Exiliados En Gran Bretaña 1936–1977 (Madrid: Ediciones de la Torre, 2007).Google Scholar
  14. Mytton, Graham, Global Audiences: Research for Worldwide Broadcasting (London: John Libbey, 1993).Google Scholar
  15. Potter, Simon J, Broadcasting Empire: The BBC and the British World, 1922–1970 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).Google Scholar
  16. Pratt, Marie Louise, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (London: Routledge, 1992).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Reijnen, Carlos, and Marleen Rensen, European Encounters: Intellectual Exchange and the Rethinking of Europe 1914–1945 (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2014).Google Scholar
  18. Renier, Olive, and Vladimir Rubinstein, Assigned to Listen: The Evesham Experience, 1939–43 (London: British Broadcasting Corporation, 1986).Google Scholar
  19. Said, Edward W, Reflections on Exile and Other Essays (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2000).Google Scholar
  20. Sambrook, Richard, Global Voice: Britain’s Future in International Broadcasting (London: Premium Publishing, 2007).Google Scholar
  21. Williams, Raymond, Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK

Personalised recommendations