After years of strict bans on the media, local radio in post-Taliban Afghanistan is undergoing an intense period of reconstruction. This thesis uses a multi-sited ethnographic investigation to examine local Afghan radio’s various relationships with women in Afghanistan. In examining both the production and consumption contexts of local radio, it pinpoints areas of disjuncture that can and do lead to breakdowns in communications with the Afghan woman audience. Societal constructions of “cultured” tastes in the production room tend to obstruct female-friendly radio in favour of elite, male-oriented textual encodings. Consequently, women’s radio transmissions are often at odds with the genre preferences and high levels of illiteracy of women in Afghanistan, failing to communicate with large segments of their intended audience. Radio producers face real and perceived penalties for disrupting cultural rules on what is and is not done on the air, thus the current system propagating ineffective women’s radio is highly resistant to change.
About Sarah Kamal
Sarah Kamal dabbles in various things and is active in her community on the outskirts of Montreal, Canada. She feeds neighbourhood kids and gets a kick out of watching her son grow - although she has moments of terror when she reflect on her own terrible attitude as a teen (sorry, Mom!). Her son will hit puberty in 5 years; Sarah has no doubt grandma will relish payback time.
Thesis: Cultured Men, Uncultured Women: An Exploration of the Gendered Hierarchy of Taste Governing Afghan Radio