From single male guest worker to Muslim: An archaeology of iterating archival footage on Dutch television
Author(s): Meuzelaar, Andrea
Over the course of more than 50 years Dutch television has produced an enormous amount of stories and images of Muslim immigrants. These stories and images are preserved in the Institute of Sound and Vision, the Dutch national audiovisual archive-, where they are constantly available for reuse. This article presents an archaeology of iterating archival footage that has come to represent a pivotal moment in the Dutch televisual narrative of Islamic immigration. The footage – an item from the current affairs magazine TELEVIZIER that was broadcast in 1969 – depicts the recruitment of cheap labour forces in Morocco by a Dutch official. Due to its evocative nature and its capacity to illustrate the beginning of postwar immigration the footage has been recycled extensively over the course of time. This essay traces the iterations of the TELEVIZIER footage through 50 decades of Dutch television history and demonstrates how the televisual discourses on Muslim immigrants have changed over time. The study departs from a constructivist paradigm of archives and cultural memory and demonstrates how the TELEVIZIER footage has adopted, absorbed, and added new meaning through time. The analysis of how and when the meanings of the footage shift sheds light on the changing televisual discourses of Muslim immigrants, on television’s modes of representing and transforming the past, on television’s symbiotic relationship with its own history in the shape of its archive, and on the canonisation of archival footage.
Meuzelaar, Andrea: From single male guest worker to Muslim: An archaeology of iterating archival footage on Dutch television. In: NECSUS. European Journal of Media Studies, Jg. 5 (2016), Nr. 2, S. 15–48. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25969/mediarep/3355.
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