Media And Collective Identity Notes (OCR Media Conference 2009)

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Media And Collective Identity Notes (OCR Media Conference 2009)

  1. 1. G325: CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES IN MEDIA MEDIA AND COLLECTIVE IDENTITY - ‘BRITISHNESS’ James Baker Hurtwood House School
  2. 2. MEDIA AND COLLECTIVE IDENTITY • The specification asks for students to choose a specific topic area to be studied through specific case studies, texts, debates, and research. • To cover at least two media and a range of texts, industries, audiences and debates • Candidates must be prepared to answer an exam question related to one or more of the following prompts: o How do the contemporary media represent nations, regions and ethnic/ social/ collective groups of people in different ways? o How does contemporary representation compare to previous time periods? o What are the social implications of different media representations of groups of people? o To what extent is human identity increasingly ‘mediated’? • An emphasis on the historical, the contemporary and the future – study materials should be up to date and relevant • Candidates might explore combinations of any media representation across two media, or two different representations across two media.
  3. 3. Definitions of Collective Identity “Although there is no consensual definition of collective identity, discussions of the concept invari- ably suggest that its essence resides in a shared sense of ‘one-ness’ or ‘we-ness’ anchored in real or imagined shared attributes and experiences among those who comprise the collectivity and in relation or contrast to one or more actual or imagined sets of ‘others’.” Collective Identity and Expressive Forms – David Snow http://repositories.cdlib.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1016&context=csd “…collective identity [is] an individual’s cognitive, moral, and emotional connection with a broader community, category, practice, or institution. It is a perception of a shared status or rela- tion, 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 (for example, as in the case of “Hispanics” in this country), who may still enforce it, but it depends on some acceptance by those to whom it is applied. Collective identities are expressed in cultural materials –names, narratives, symbols, verbal styles, rituals, clothing, and so on – but not all cultural materials express collective identities. Collective identity does not imply the rational calculus for evaluating choices that “interest” does. And unlike ideol- ogy, collective identity carries with it positive feelings for other members of the group” Collective identity and Social Movements – Francesca Poletta and James M Jasper http://www.unc.edu/courses/2005fall/geog/160/001/GEC’05/Polletta_Jasper.pdf Some Examples: Area of Collective Identity Specific focus of study Possible media/examples Gender: Ethnicity or regional identity: Age: Class: Sexuality: Ability/Disability:
  4. 4. Representations of Britishness:
  5. 5. British Cinema – some suggestions: Historical Perspectives – key eras and Relationship with Hollywood and Euro- movements in British Cinema pean Cinemas Versions of Britishness – Definitions of British film: variety and instability • Institutional • Content or style • Themes and values Genre, Narrative, Audience, Media Language Other suggestions: “Defining a British film, then, may be achieved more usefully through its content and its values rather than its institutional background. This kind of definition allows us to group together films as diverse as A Room With A View (James Ivory, UK, 1985) and Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, UK, 1996), or Bend It Like Beckham (Gurinda Chadha, UK, 2002), and Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright, UK, 2004). Each of these films presents us with a recognisably British environment and characters, while at some level defining or questioning those qualities which we understand as ‘Britishness’. Indeed, in an era in which the boundaries of British nationality are constantly being challenged by regionalism and multi-culturalism it seems only appropriate that British film should reflect this variety and uncertainty.” Teaching Film at GCSE – James Baker and Patrick Toland (BFI, 2007)
  6. 6. British TV News - some suggestions: PBS and Commercial News Historical Perspectives – development programming in the UK of television news Developments in news delivery – News gathering, selection and technology, citizen journalism, treatment for British audiences infotainment Genre, Narrative, Audience, Other suggestions: Media Language “News is to freedom as breath is to life. It is, in Ian Hargreaves’ words, “the hard-wiring of our democracy”. But access to trustworthy, informative news can no more be taken for granted than clean air. It requires conscious acts of public policy to guarantee it. This research identifies television as ‘the supreme news medium’, used and respected by almost everyone; one of the few shared experiences across the whole of British society. Yet news is expensive and audiences, with access to more channels and entertainment, have declined. There is increasing evidence that many, especially the young, are not engaged in the news agendas offered.” Broadcasters are tempted to push news to the margins or reduce it to headlines. Patricia Hodgson’s introduction to Ian Hargreaves and James Thomas’s report – New News, Old News (ITC/BSC, 2002) http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/jomec/research/researchgroups/journalismstudies/fundedprojects/
  7. 7. The Theory Test: Is this going to be useful for my students? Jurgen Habermas - The Public Sphere “…a space…formed and realised between the economy and polity where people could be informed and discuss, so as to form decisions and act upon them. The instruments of this sphere were newspapers, books, salons and debating societies that allowed an arena relatively separate of the Church and the State, characterised by openness to all citizens” Intellectual Scaffolding: On Peter Dahlgren’s Theorization of Televi- sion and the Public Sphere - Minna Aslama “Mass culture has earned its rather dubious name precisely by achieving increased sales by adapting to the need for relaxation and entertainment on the part of consumer strata with relatively little education, rather than through the guidance of an enlarged public toward the appreciation of a culture undamaged in its substance…The world fashioned by the mass media is a public sphere in appearance only. By the same token the integrity of the private sphere which they promise to their consumers is also an illusion.” The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere – Jurgen Habermas “Habermas’ position reflects the ambivalence felt by many towards the mass media – that there is a great power, but can it be harnessed for the public good? We suggest that pessimistic answers tend to underestimate the complex and contradictory or frag- mented nature of the contemporary mass media which opens the way for some escape from institutional control, while more optimistic positions often set too high ideals for the public sphere. Those alternative formulations of the public sphere which recognize and build on the complex and fragmentary nature of the media suggest more positively that the media could facilitate and legitimize the public negotiation – through com- promise rather than consensus – of meanings among oppositional and marginalized groups.” Talk on Television. Audience Participation and the Public Debate – Sonia Livingstone and Peter Lunt “Television and other media have generated a new type of public realm which has no spatial limits, which is not necessarily tied to dialogical conversation and which is accessible to an indefinite number of individuals who may be situated within privatized domestic settins. Rather than sound- ing the death knell of public life, the development of mass communication has created a new kind of publicness and has transformedfundamentally the conditions under which most people are able to experience what is public and participate today in what could be called a public realm.” The Media and Modernity: A Social Theory of the Media – John B. Thomp- son

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