Media and Collective Identity KEY QUESTIONS BLACK BRITISH COLLECTIVE IDENTITY How do the contemporary media represent nations, regions and ethnic / social / collective groups of people in different ways? How does contemporary representation compare to previous time periods? What are the social implications of different media representations of groups of people? To what extent is human identity increasingly ‘mediated’? WHAT DO YOU NEED FOR THE EXAM?
What is Identity? “The term [identity] (by convention) references mutually constructed and evolving images of self and other" (Katzenstein 1996, 59). “people's concepts of who they are, of what sort of people they are, and how they relate to others" (Hogg and Abrams 1988, 2). SOCIAL PERSONAL “the way individuals and groups define themselves and are defined by others on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, language, and culture" (Deng 1995, 1). “Identity emerges as a kind of unsettled space, or an unresolved question in that space, between a number of intersecting discourses. ... [Until recently, we have incorrectly thought that identity is] a kind of fixed point of thought and being, a ground of action ... the logic of something like a `true self.' ... [But] Identity is a process, identity is split. Identity is not a fixed point but an ambivalent point. Identity is also the relationship of the Other to oneself" (Hall 1989) “refers to the ways in which individuals and collectivities are distinguished in their social relations with other individuals and collectivities" (Jenkins 1996, 4). A CONSTRUCT CULTURAL http://www.stanford.edu/~jfearon/papers/iden1v2.pdf
What is Identity? On the one hand, identity is something unique to each of us that we assume is more or less consistent (and hence the same) overtime.. our identity is something we uniquely possess: it is what distinguishes us from other people. Who am I? David Buckingham (2008).He argues that identity is complicated and complex. Yet on the other hand, identity also implies a relationship with a broader collective or social groupof some kind. When we talk about national identity, cultural identity, or gender identity, for example, we imply that our identity is partly a matter of what we share with other people. Here, identity is about identification with others whom we assume are similar to us (if not exactly the same), at least in some significant ways.
What is Collective Identity? It is a perception of a shared status or relation, which may be imagined rather than experienced directly, and it is distinct from personal identities, although it may form part of a personal identity. A collective identity may have been first constructed by outsiders, who may still enforce it Collective identities are expressed in cultural materials -names, narratives, symbols, verbal styles, rituals, clothing, and so on “Garms” “Wha gwan” ‘Multi-ethnic London English’ “You get me?”
What’s this got to do with media? Think about how we form our identities and where the information comes from. The influence of mass media shapes our concepts of who we are, what is important to us and how we live our lives. Everything concerning our lives is seen to be ‘media saturated’. How does the media aid identity formation? Identity is something that is constructed over a period of time and can be updated or changed completely. In today’s world the choosing of one’s identity is a multi layered experienced, consciously and unconsciously influenced by countless factors
What’s this got to do with media? “…media representations of ‘race’ and ethnicity are constructed in accordance with dominant ideological positionings which serve to shape and control how individuals understand others’, and their own, identities.” Fatimah Awan Stuart Hall proposes that the media, as a principal form of ideological dissemination, produces representations of the social world via images and portrayals. Fatimah Awan Establishing that the media have the power to dictate which representations of ethnic minorities are chosen and circulated in the public arena, research into minority representation has revealed two fundamental issues underlying the area: underrepresentation and stereotypical representation. It is suggested that through such representations, ethnic minorities continue to be subordinated in accordance with white ideological hegemony Fatimah Awan We must also consider Hall’s (1990) notion that identity is not necessarily ‘fixed’, but a fluid phenomena; ‘Perhaps instead of thinking of identity as an already accomplished historical fact … we should think, instead, of identity as a “production”, which is never complete, always in process… Fatimah Awan
Ethnic minority viewers commented that an ethnic individual alone (for example, a solitary black character in a soap) cannot represent the richness of an entire community. Channel 4, Race, Representation and the Media 2007, Research Report Various characters within “Kidulthood” are shown to be involved in criminal activities such as drug dealing and gun making. It can be said that “black people, particularly Afro-Caribbeans are portrayed in the media as criminals” as “the media are highly selective in the way in which they construct and represent the world back to us” Kruger, Stephen. Rayner, Philip. & Wall, Peter. (2004). Media Studies: The Essential Resource Joseph Harker wrote that “when it comes to imagery surrounding black people; I’m used to relentlessly negative - knife crime, underachievement representations” http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/oct/05/london-black-children-awards The repetitive framing of particular images in certain ways eventually leads to those images being seen as the definitive statement on ‘those’ people and the groups to which ‘they’ belong . http://www.newinfluencer.com/mediapedia/black-and-white-media/ What’s this got to do with media?
“The hegemonic model acknowledges that much of the media is controlled by a relatively small group of people (who are generally male, middle class and white) and that the viewpoints associated with these groups inevitably become embedded in the products themselves.” This suggests that these small groups of people use their own views of ethnic minorities in order to represent them, due to the fact that they may not know how to represent them if they are not part of that social group themselves. This shows that audiences are being provided with already established views on a social group thus reiterating the hypodermic needle theory. http://jaleesadenton-mest4.blogspot.com/ & Baker, James. Clark, Vivienne. & Lewis, Eileen. (2003). Key Concepts & Skills for Media Studies It can be said that the media choose to represent ethnic minorities in ways which reinforce stereotypes in order to maintain a hegemonic society relating to how “a dominant class or group maintains power by making everyone accept their ideology as normal or neutral, through cultural influence rather than force.” http://jaleesadenton-mest4.blogspot.com/ & Williams, Kevin. (2003). Understanding Media Theory What’s this got to do with media?
Define the social category Black British In the past what did it mean to be Black British? Hypothesis what it means to be part of the collective group ‘Black British’ in contemporary Britain How do the media represent contemporary ‘Black Britain’? How can music artists be seen as anti-hegemonic in their representation of ‘Black Britain’? How can the music industry been seen as hegemonic? How do people use the media to help form an sense of collective identity? Get thinking?