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COM 121: Introduction to Media & Culture

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allison butler

on 12 January 2014

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Transcript of COM 121: Introduction to Media & Culture

COM 121: Introduction to Media & Culture
~ We take the media for granted
~ Simultaneous fear & fascination

Important vocab:
Ideology: All cultural texts have distinct biases, interests and embedded values; they reproduce the POV of producers and often the values of the dominant social groups (broadly speaking in US: white, middle class men)
Socialization: Process where we learn to internalize the values, beliefs and norms of a culture; thru this, we develop a sense of self
Structure vs. Agency:
structure: deep rooted organizing principles
agency: independently operating individuals
05 sept: Why study the media?
telephone vs television: ways to understand the growth and change in mass media
10 sept: What are the mass media?
(traditional) interpersonal communication:
face-to-face communication among 2 (or a small number) of people who are familiar with each other; communication is 2-way, response is generally immediate and spontaneous

(mediated) interpersonal communication: communication among 2 (or a small number) of people who may be familiar with each other, where communication may be enabled by technology (such as IM, commentary on facebook, texting, Skype, etc); response is generally immediate and spontaneous
before there were mass media...
mass communication: 1-way communication from a known sender to a massive quantity of anonymous receivers; receivers are believed to be passive recipients of messages sent with little opportunity for immediate feedback*

* this changes with digital, interactive media, such as the internet, where immediate commentary is encouraged
enter mass communication
mass communication: HOW we communicate

mass media: with WHAT we communicate
distinction between
mass communication & mass media
mass communication only possible with mass media
surveillance: information about the processes, issues, events, and developments in society.
correlation: the media are conduits of data
cultural transmission: the media help ppl learn society’s rules and how to fit into them
entertainment: content designed specifically to please us; entertainment isn’t value-free: our media of entertainment are imbued with and transmit powerful cultural values
what do the mass media do?
shannon & weaver:
source -->(sends a message) -->transmitter --> channel --> receiver
source (encodes) --> message transmitted (via medium) --> receiver (at destination, decodes)
models of communication (thru mass media)
Raymond Williams on culture:
"one of the two or three most complicated words in the English language"
12 sept: What is culture?
Marx & Engels: the ruling ideas reproduced dominant social interests and serve to naturalize and normalize existing institutions and values. Those in power are able to introduce (and control) the new ideas
Horkheimer & Adorno: the culture industries: to understand any specific form of media or culture, one must understand its production and distribution and how it is situated in relation to the dominant social structure
Althusser: Ideological State Apparatuses: interpellate (bring into being) individuals to preconceived forms of subjectivity that leave no space for opposition or resistance
Critical, cultural studies
17 sept: mass media history I: print to sound
radio: an invaluable mass medium that has gone through many changes and helped shaped the face and formation of governments, military, science, news and culture; what we listen to today is almost nothing like what was invented originally
sound recordings: sound recording culture includes not only the history of recorded music, but also the ways recordings were made, and the ways recordings influenced other aspects of society.
radio & sound recordings
books: the ability to mass produce books contributed to massive changes in society, in part because information could be exchanged in a uniform way over great distances. The “speed” that print enabled helped in bring the globe together
newspapers: through the newspaper that much of what we know as “American culture” developed
magazines: magazines, with their blend of graphic and writing style -- whether on paper or on the web -- reflect the taste and character of a community of people who create and read it.
books, newspapers & magazines
19 sept: mass media history II: visual media
was public before it was private: TV in pubs, taverns
was technically available before we knew what to do with it: TV developed before WWII, but not released/popularized until after WWII
owes invaluable debt to radio for content, format, genre
adopted rapidly: in 65% of households within 10 years
Louis Lumiere: The Express Train at Ciotat
DW Griffiths: The Birth of a Nation
Sergei Eisenstein: Battleship Potemkin
Charlie Chaplin: Modern Times
Robert Flaherty: Nanook of the North
effects research:
direct effects: (aka magic bullet &/or hypodermic needle theory) belief that the mass media had powerful effects on people and those effects were immediate, direct and uniform; ca 1920s-30s
limited effects: acknowledges individual differences and personal needs --> attitudes, values, intelligence and other personal attributes; some people, in some situations, will be negatively hurt by the media (generally: children, women, the poor); ca 1940s
cultivation analysis: mostly focused on violence; belief that people who are heavy viewers of TV will see the world as more violent and a more fearful place than it actually is; ca 1960s-onwards
24 sept: mass media research I: what the media do to us
uses & gratifications: explores why people use certain media - and what they gain from their choices; audience is a collection of individuals; assumes an active audience; ca 1970s
encoding/decoding: developed to challenge the 'scientific' evidence of media effects; media are encoded with certain meaning, which are then decoded by audience --> dominant/hegemonic, oppositional, negotiated; ca 1970s-80s
reception analysis: how do audiences make meaning of chosen media texts/activities?
political economy: answers what reception analysis cannot: the force of media production --> what is produced, how, why, for whom and with what power?
26 sept: mass media research II: what we do with the media
format: multiple choice
date: 01 oct, 4-5.15pm
responsible for: all reading & lecture notes from 05 sept - 26 sept
what's REALLY important?
test review!
on TEST DAY be prepared to PLEASE....
turn cell phones OFF (not just the ringer)
remember your student ID number; fill out form last name first, first name last
put all books, notes, etc AWAY
have multiple pencils at the ready - you will not dig thru your bag or disrupt your neighbors during test
when finished, please leave quietly so as not to disrupt classmates
all tests must be completed by 2.15 unless prior arrangements have been made
white, middle- to upper-class heterosexual men have largely dominated both the production and presentation of media and their perspective generally dictates what we see -- not necessarily what we think

race is a social construction: there is no place where race 'exists' in tangible form -- race was made up to mark differences between people & to legitimize power of some over others

stuart hall: overt & inferential racism
03 oct: race & ethnicity
women and people of sexuality alternate to the heterosexual 'norm' have largely been marginalized in the media

women and non-heterosexuals are given limited roles: wives/mothers, sexually available/eager at all times, sexual criminals, fun sidekicks

larry gross: gay people have largely received the fate of invisibility and demeaning stereotypes in the mass media
08 oct: gender & sexuality
class is rarely discussed in media - in large part because class is rarely discussed in American culture

TV families are wealthier than 'real life' families

even in midst of recession, most TV families are middle class

the news (re)presents middle- to upper-class interests positively while working- and lower-class interests are portrayed negatively
10 oct: social/economic class
concept of the child: focus of adult fears -->is the child disappearing or is the child taking over?

'childhood' is a social construction; contemporary notion of 'child' is Western, post-industrial capitalist ideal

children's leisure time is caught up with consumption
17 oct: youth
"real food" boring --> how to make it more exciting?

food budgets are mostly used on food production; who has massive advertising budget?

"real food" is boring ... and also going thru a bit of a renaissance right now: signs point to natural, organic, local
22 oct: food cultures
format: multiple choice
date: 24 oct., 4-5.15pm
responsible for: all reading & lecture notes from 05 sept - 22 oct
what's REALLY important?
midterm review!
on MIDTERM DAY be prepared to PLEASE....
turn cell phones OFF (not just the ringer)
remember student ID number; on test sheet, last name first, first name last
put all books, notes, etc AWAY
have multiple pencils at the ready - you will not dig thru your bag or disrupt your neighbors during test
when finished, please leave quietly so as not to disrupt classmates
all tests must be completed by 2.15 unless prior arrangements have been made
29 oct: advertising & public relations
most successful in affluent society
generates the bulk of revenue in mass media
illusion of choice
public relations
management tool for businesses & government institutions, a "go-between" between companies and consumers
especially helpful when companies need to fix image and/or when particular message needs to be crafted
developed from need to manage information for the public
gloria steinem, ms. magazine and women's issues
jean kilbourne on advertising's treatment of girls & women
mass media play different roles in different countries

there is an international flow to mass media: where does that flow originate?

in favor of globalization: spread of modernity, force of progress, increased wealth, freedom, democracy & happiness; generate fresh economies

opposed to globalization: globalization = cultural imperialism; imposition of capital is negative; increase wealth and power of already wealthy and powerful

does globalization = westernization?
05 nov: globalization
one way to explore the connection between globalization & media: music
ownership & control: megacorporations (with 'independent' branches)
content: values and images of western society are embedded in western media products
consumption: globalized media culture of first world media culture?
authoritarian: ruling elite will guide masses
libertarian: government exists to serve people and works best by staying out of the peoples' way
social responsibility: press has the right to criticize the government; preserve democracy by preserved thru informing and responding to the people
soviet model: media are owned by the people and represented by the state; works best in controlled, closed societies
developmental: government mobilizes media to serve national goals
07 nov: politics
1960 race between Richard Nixon & John F Kennedy:
the first time we "watched" our presidential candidates on TV
crystallized the difference between seeing the candidate and hearing the candidate
connection between politics & media
"the science and art of protecting and improving the health of communities through education, promotion of healthy lifestyles, and research for disease and injury protection" ---> whatispublichealth.org
12 nov: public health
roots of public health can be found in water: when water treatment became more scientific & uniform, there were dramatic increases in health, especially among women and children
connection between public health & media:
if informing people of preventive measure is good, how to inform more people as quickly, uniformly and simply as possible?
news (specifically newspapers) contributed to the following:
independence from government censorship & control
shape of government policy
belief in seeking truth, no matter the potential hurt
should be independent & free
organized for profit

news is constructed: things happen, news is made

journalists & journalism: part of the value system/ideology in which they work

24 hour news: the way to capture audience - consistently - by convincing them that something is always happening
14 nov: news
format: multiple choice
date: 19 nov, 4-5.15pm
responsible for: all reading & lecture notes from 29 oct -14 nov
what's REALLY important?
on TEST DAY be prepared to PLEASE....
turn cell phones OFF (not just the ringer)
remember your student ID; on test form, last name first, first name last
put all books, notes, etc AWAY
have multiple pencils at the ready - you will not dig thru your bag or disrupt your neighbors during test
when finished, please leave quietly so as not to disrupt classmates
all tests must be completed by 2.15 unless prior arrangements have been made
test review!
"we should see media products as the result of a social process of production that occurs within and institutional frames" ---> croteau & hoynes

concentration: where fewer and fewer parent companies own more and more media outlets

conglomeration: media companies are subsumed into much larger corporations which appear diverse, but ultimately are shown not to be
21 nov: political economy & institutional organization
development of the internet: started by the department of defense as communication system in the face of global emergency [grew from cold war concerns]

distinction b/w internet and world wide web

the internet & www are the one mass medium we have witnessed the growth of
26 nov: 'new' & interactive media
LGBT have been ignored or ridiculed in the media: can that treatment be connected to increased violence against women and LGBT?

LGBT characters are generally in supporting roles that do not challenge sexual politics; presented as individuals, not as part of community

link between sex and violence found most obviously in porn industry ---> no longer a sleazy, back room business, instead is part of mainstream media culture/conglomerate
03 dec: sexuality & violence
radical feminist who argued against misogyny & patriarchy
outspoken critic of pornography: complicit in woman-hating dehumanization
helped pioneer anti-porn movement
andrea dworkin
chyng sun & miguel picker
an MEF film
the price of pleasure
format: multiple choice
date: 05 dec, 4-5.15pm
responsible for: all reading & lecture notes from 16 april-23 april
what's REALLY important?
test & FINAL review!
patricia hill collins
all women are treated poorly in porn industry; women of color are treated especially poorly
black women (and by extension, all women of color) experience overlapping forms of oppression: sexual, racial & physical oppression
format: multiple choice
date: TBD
responsible for: all reading & lecture notes from 5 sept-3 dec
what's REALLY important?
Full transcript