Television in Malaysia
: implications for young adults' perceptions of national identity

  • Juliana Wahab

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Television has long been recognised by Malaysian state officials to be a vital tool in the promotion of a collective sense of national identity amongst the country's citizens. The aims of this thesis are as follows. Firstly, to clarify through current debates what national identity is, both generally and in the context of Malaysia. Secondly, to explore and analyse key aspects of the ways young adult Malaysians use and respond to television. Thirdly, to examine the perceptions of these young adults about the way television represents Malaysian national identity. Fourthly, to investigate the extent to which ethnicity influences their perceptions of the representation of national identity on television. The methodologies used in this study involved, firstly, undertaking a critical review of the literature with regard to the relationship of national identity and television, both internationally and with reference to Malaysia. Secondly, a short exploratory survey was used to establish background information on the young adults' viewing habits. Thirdly, focus group sessions were used to collect in-depth data on how young adults from different ethnic backgrounds related to television images of national identity. This thesis concludes that ethnicity played a decisive role in shaping these young people's perceptions of national identity through television. Thus whilst the NCP and subsequent government policies have sought to utilise television in the promotion of national identity, this research suggests that such efforts may have only partly succeeded in producing images that have a positive resonance with young adults in Malaysia.
    Date of AwardFeb 2002
    Original languageEnglish


    • Television and youth

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