Date of Award

Spring 2021

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Cultural Studies, PhD

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Eve Oishi

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

David Luis-Brown

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Joshua Goode

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.


access, distribution, geoblocking, globalization, internet, media


Where we access the internet dictates what we see or, more importantly, do not see online. Access to online media content and information on the internet is controlled worldwide by a process called geoblocking. The term geoblocking refers to the process whereby a website blocks a user's access to digital media content or other information based on their geographic location. While it is possible that openness can exist on the internet, this dissertation asserts that the internet is not a completely free and open space as it continues to be shaped and bordered by media corporations, governments, and audiences. This dissertation further argues that geoblocking media content is an economic, political, and social reaction against the perceived danger of digital permeability of national borders through the internet. This dissertation examines how traditional, older models of media distribution and exhibition based on national borders, persist when the internet allows for global media access. Because of globalization, media corporations, governments, and the audience are in a connected loop where each are negotiating the real and virtual positive and negative effects of economic, political, cultural, and technological globalization. This dissertation finds that media corporations, governments, and the audience are responsible for using geoblocking to serve their varying motivations for maintaining control over accessibility of content and information. Examining geoblocking from the perspectives of media corporations and governments and the audience gives us further insight into the larger whole of the digital and real infrastructure of the internet -- where it is located, who has power over it, and who has access or not and why. By analyzing the relationships between media corporations, and motivations this study shows an uneven power distribution exists with media corporations and governments maintaining most of the control with the ability to dictate audience behaviors online to match their expectations and offline model. It is determined that what is at stake when geoblocking borders off the world by censoring content on the internet is: balance or power, access, and freedom.