Talk Shows in Pakistan TV Culture: Engaging Women as Cultural Citizens

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Gendered content that travels through popular TV in Pakistan highlights gender-based crimes and allows women access to the mediated public sphere. This is an unprecedented form of access in a society that defines public/private through Shariah. The boundaries between the two spheres have thus far been immutable. Recent changes in the media landscape have made these boundaries porous. Drawing on theoretical debates on popular culture, cultural citizenship and counter public sphere, the study argues that these popular cultural spaces can be read in terms of an emerging feminist public sphere where women can engage as members of the public and as cultural citizens. To determine engagement patterns of young viewers, focus groups turned out to be effective method. In the sample of university students, there were 42 participants in 10 groups with 4 to 6 members in each group. The study finds that gendered content allows women to act in pro-civic ways. Their engagement with this content allows viewers to revisit their intersecting identities as Muslims, women and Pakistanis.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
JournalFeminist Encounters: A Journal of Critical Studies in Culture and Politics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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