Television Comes to Town – The Role of Television in National Identity Formation in One Post-Colonial Caribbean Nation.


The decolonisation movement that swept the British Caribbean and which saw all but five of the islands begin their move to self-government between 1962 and 1983, heralded a significant change in the political relationships with the metropole. It did little for the consciousness raising of the formerly colonial people to be independent. In order to address this situation, the government of the newly recognised Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (like its counterparts in the Caribbean and Africa) sought to foster national consciousness and construct a founding story for the new nation by establishing a local television station, aptly named Trinidad and Tobago Television (TTT). Against the backdrop of prevailing media theories, which advocated strongly, mass media’s value for “third world” development, the ultimate goal of TTT was to move former colonials from British cultural imperialism to pride in self. TTT’s success would be determined by its ability to weave together the bewildering demographic diversity of this postcolonial Caribbean society into a single identity. It is here that this paper gains its relevance. By examining the role of the state television within government policy of the 1960s, the paper will analyse the extent to which TTT, during its existence as the sole television station between 1962 and 1976, created a counter hegemonic discourse within the nation’s movement from colonialism to independence. Further this paper locates this nation’s struggle for identity, within the global ICT debate on media representation of developing states in this historically significant period of identity politics.

Author Information
Lynette Sampson, The University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago

Paper Information
Conference: ECAH2017
Stream: Humanities - History, Historiography

This paper is part of the ECAH2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon