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This research thesis examines how Africa is represented within the meaning-making arena of travel journalism, specifically focusing on the publications Travel Africa, Getaway and Africa Geographic.
The principal focus for many postcolonial theorists is the (mis)representation of “less-developed”, “third-world” countries, often focusing on literature in the creation and maintenance of structures of discursive oppression.
Using an analytical framework rooted in postcolonial theory, a discourse analysis of the magazines for the years 2006 and 2007 divulge Africa as a discursively constructed cultural package.
Touristic understandings of what constitutes ‘real’ African experiences are underpinned and portrayed through eloquent and articulate descriptions or imagery which interpellates the prospective Western traveler.
However, in addition to this, the magazines offer active, systematic proposals to foster change and appeal to audiences to ‘transcode’ representations.
In some instances the travel journalists in these magazines challenge conventional, traditional journalistic practices in order to create more balanced representations of the African continent.
Ian Dickinson is a South African media scholar with an invested interest in evolving representations of his home country and continent.
His Masters thesis explores the diverse meaning-making arena that lies at the intersection of contemporary travel journalism and a continent's postcolonial struggle for recognition on a global stage.
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