Changing culture, stable structure: Segmented pluralism on the Dutch airwaves
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SourceEuropean Societies, 16, 4, (2014), pp. 594-614
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI CW
SubjectCommunication and Media
In this contribution we deal with the contradiction between changing culture and stable structure, i.e., the phenomenon that a social structure that developed to accommodate a certain culture may remain stable over a long period of time, even when that culture changes. We do so for the case of the Dutch public broadcasting system, that was designed in the 1920s to fit with the segmented pluralism of Dutch society, in which a number of religiously and ideologically different groups had to peacefully co-exist. In the mid-1960s, Dutch society started to change rapidly and segmented pluralism started to wane. The public broadcasting system, however, hardly changed until today. First we explain how structure and culture initially matched and how the concept of path dependency can explain how over time culture and structure can grow apart. Then, with data of six national surveys between 1979 and 2005, we explore the possible cultural grounds for the fact that the segmented public broadcasting system has outlived the segmented pluralism of Dutch society that it was originally designed to match.
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