Challenging the state: Transnational TV and political identity in the middle east

Erik C. Nisbet, Teresa A. Myers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

Several scholars have linked the growth of transnational Arab TV in the Middle East over the past decade to a rise in transnational Muslim and Arab political identification at the expense of national political identity. However, a theoretical context for understanding how media exposure may influence political identification in the Middle East at an individual level of analysis has been lacking, and to date very little quantitative evidence has been presented. Our article addresses this gap by presenting a theoretical framework for linking individual media use to political identity in the Middle East and then employing this framework to quantitatively test the association between transnational Arab TV exposure and individual political identification using a set of cross-national surveys conducted in six Middle Eastern states between 2004 and 2008. We find evidence that exposure to transnational Arab TV increases the probability of transnational Muslim and Arab political identification at the expense of national political identities, though the influence of transnational TV on identity salience varied significantly across levels of education. Theoretical implications for the role of media in political socialization and identity salience, as well as implications for American foreign policy, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-366
Number of pages20
JournalPolitical Communication
Volume27
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Arab television
  • Foreign policy
  • Middle east
  • Political identity
  • Public opinion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science

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