This article examines the manner in which recent trends towards globalization and commercialization in the media impinge on the construction of collective (national) memory. Concentrating on the economics of television documentaries, it considers the way in which memory can be manipulated to signal national and historical differences. This issue is explored through the vantage point of a particular mode of television production, international co-productions. The study focuses on a television documentary, The Fifty Year War:Israel and the Arabs, co-produced by three television networks, BBC, PBS (WGBH Boston) and MBC. Making this documentary was only possible after funding from separate sources had been secured, with the quid pro quo of each funding source being given the right to use the produced footage to construct its own version of the final product. Analysing the production process of this television documentary, the study shows that making the tri-versions programme on the Arab-Israeli war became a kind of a war: a war over competing memories, a war over interpretation and, finally, a war over representation.
- Mnemonic agents
- Production process