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Title: Television of Intervention: Mediating Patron-Client Ties in the Philippines
Authors: Ong, Jonathan C.
First Published: 21-Jul-2015
Publisher: Routledge
Citation: Ong, JC, Television of Intervention: Mediating Patron-Client Ties in the Philippines, 'Television Histories of Asia', Routledge, 2015
Abstract: In traditional anthropological work on the Philippines, the framework of patron-­‐client ties has been extensively used to explain the exercise and contest of power between people in asymmetrical relationships: landowners and peasants (Kerkvliet, 1995), politicians and voters (Rafael, 1998), and the rich and the poor (Cannell, 1999). In this paper, inspired by Pertierra and Turner’s (2012) challenge to locate television within the frame of the national and the local, I explore whether and how enduring cultural normativities of patron/client can shed light on the peculiar relationship of television/audience in the Philippines. In particular, I draw attention to the unique feature of privately owned television networks as interventionist, whereby economic aid and assistance is offered to “the masses” not only in “wealth-­‐sharing” game shows but also in the charitable projects and disaster relief operations run by media oligarchs and celebrities. While elite-­‐owned, television confers symbolic recognition to the poor through their “overrepresentation” (Wood & Skeggs, 2009) across multiple genres, and offers material redistribution in the transactional interactions between generous tv personalities and loyal audiences in various “zones” of television experience. The paper reWlects on the merits and limits of the (upper-­‐class) critique of patron/client television as exploitative and perpetuating of a “culture of mendicancy” in developing, “third world” Philippines. It demonstrates why such media critique fails to restrain interventionist television in the face of tv owners and producers’ justiWications that draw from both traditional cultural idioms and the neoliberal vocabulary of tv ratings, profits, and trust surveys.
Series/Report no.: Media, Culture and Social Change in Asia Series;
ISBN: 978-0-415-85536-5
Embargo on file until: 21-Jan-2017
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Chapter
Rights: Copyright © 2015, Routledge. Deposited with reference to the publisher’s open access archiving policy.
Appears in Collections:Books & Book Chapters, Dept. of Media and Communication

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