Document Type


Publication Date



A common assumption maintains that the global outreach of mass media inevitably leads to deleterious consequences for native communities. Indeed, different scholars have argued that awareness of the outside world from television results in the homogenization of local cultures. However, images viewed through the electronic peephole radically transform not only an understanding of the outside world, but the way indigenes define themselves and their relationship to each other. By presenting subaltern audiences with an idealized other, television compels the emergence of an objectified self. “Who are ‘we’?” would not have been asked—or asked in the same way—were it not for the “Who are ‘they’?” necessitated by the introduction of television. In this article, I examine a particular group of subaltern viewers who reassign the roles of “self” and “other” in order to preserve, defend, and construct their own selfhood. Because they look and act differently from those in the mediated mainstream, Navajo television viewers create oppositional identities by understanding themselves first in relation to and then against standardized models. Resisting mainstream American television is a way of articulating experiences of powerlessness in a white-dominated society as well as a means of communicating a discourse of resistance to the dominant ideology.


Journal of International and Global Studies





First Page


Last Page


Included in

Anthropology Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.