Diasporic Contact Zones at the BBC World Service
This report examines how diasporic staff perceive their career development and makes practical recommendations on the future administration of career trajectories within BBC World Service
Diasporic Staff make possible the multilingual broadcasting and the global reach of the BBC World Service. However their historical diplomatic and contemporary role as cultural intermediaries and their career trajectories have received scant attention.. Since the mid 1980s, working conditions and career prospects for diasporic staff have improved. Several top line management posts in the language services WS are now held by disaporic staff. Despite this our research indicates that perceptions of disadvantage remain widespread and persist even among those who have benefitted from promotion. The representation of diasporic personnel outside the Language Services (for example in English language programme production, Marketing, Audiences and Communications, Finance and Administration) remains limited.
 The term ‘diasporic’ (from the Greek verb ‘speiro’, meaning to sow or to scatter [seeds] and the preposition ‘dia’ meaning through space or time) is used here as an analytical tool to encompass the range of migration trajectories and citizenship statuses of staff working in the Language Services – a matter which is itself worthy of further examination by the BBC World Service: from exiles, refugees and intellectual dissidents, to transnational professionals, cyclical and circular migrants and sojourners to British born multilingual broadcasters. The term is not without problems and there is no doubt that many staff do not wish to be labelled as diasporic. But the term allows us to consider the tripartite relationships that migrants forge to their country of birth, to their country of residence and to a wider diaspora. These ties are augmented by modern communications and not least by the WS. It also helps avoid ethnocentric assumptions about foreignness or belonging. For more information about diasporas at the BBC WS and for details of project publications see: http://www.open.ac.uk/socialsciences/diasporas/
Authors : Jadzia Denselow, Andrew Taussig and Marie Gillespie
Publication date : May 2010
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