Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Powell, Jon T.||Breen, Myles, 1939-||Doederlein, Arthur

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Speech Communication


Radio broadcasting--Ireland; Television broadcasting--Ireland; Ireland--Civilization


The broadcast media are cultural innovations and spread through a society according to the same principles as other cultural innovations. A range of societal influences creates a climate favorable for the emergence and widespread adoption of the innovation. Study of the media is, therefore, not complete without a study of the ways in which society influences and determines the kind of mass media it eventually ends up with. Too often, broadcasting systems have been studied in total isolation from their cultural ambience, as if their only constitutive elements were legal and administrative. This approach falls short of taking into account all the forces, both sustaining and debilitating, which determine the kind of voice broadcasting will have. The main premise of this study is that Irish broadcasting reflects and is conditioned by the culture in which it is situated. Its unique structure of control, its peculiar set of institutional norms, its characteristic forms of content, its specific kind of financial support, and its clearly defined and implicit forms of relationship to other important cultural institutions, are all influenced by the historical dimension of Irish culture. The phenomenon of historical telescoping is a major element in keeping alive the tradition of nationalism in Ireland which stills finds outlets in activities as diverse as revolutionary violence and the movement to revive the Irish language. This tradition is based on a subtle substratum of images that have their roots in the long relationship with England and in the history of the Catholic Church in Ireland. Modern Ireland has been moved by both to an extremism that is at once puritanical and nationalistic. This extremism, especially in its manifestations in state-controlled censorship, has alienated many Irish artists from the concerns of the state, including broadcasting. Changes in the whole political climate in Ireland, precipitated by events in Northern Ireland, are already changing the structure of Irish broadcasting and its relationship with the government. Technological innovations, such as the advent of color, satellite and cable television, are forcing some other changes that have yet to be tested against the forces of Irish culture.


Includes bibliographical references.


183 pages




Northern Illinois University

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