Christopher Chávez

Feb 15, 2022

The Sound of Exclusion

NPR and the Latinx Public

University of Arizona Press 2021

How is power enacted in everyday broadcast practices? National Public Radio has a “rhetoric of impartiality” but this obscures the ideological work done by the network.” In The Sound of Exclusion: NPR and the Latinx Public (U Arizona Press, 2021), Dr. Christopher Chávez interrogates how NPR determines what it means to be American and what is deemed American news. NPR’s original mandate included engaging listeners in civic discourses and representing the diversity of the nation. Yet Chavez argues that NPR has created a "white public space" that pushes Latinx listeners to the periphery. As a result, NPR promotes the cultural logic that Latinx identity is separate from national identity – hindering Latinx participation in civic discourses. But Chavez maintains that the shared act of listening might facilitate the ways in which Latinx listeners negotiate and resist norms of what it means to belong, also known as sonic citizenship. He writes that through the act of listening, "... those without sustained access to political power might imagine alternative political possibilities in which they are included."

Dr. Christopher Chávez is an Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon where he also directs the Center for Latina/o and Latin American Studies. His publications include a previous book Reinventing the Latino Television Viewer: Language, Ideology, and Practice (Lexington Books, 2015).

Daniella Campos served as editorial assistant for this podcast.

Susan Liebell is Dirk Warren '50 Professor of Political Science at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.

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