23rd april


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23rd april

  1. 1. How identity is shaped by media thus goes through a process of mediation and how hegemonic discourses decide which identities are more dominant, and so shape a collective identity for a group which that group of people might not necessarily relate to.
  2. 2. Defining terms <ul><li>Mediation </li></ul><ul><li>Hegemony </li></ul><ul><li>Collective Identity </li></ul><ul><li>Black Britons </li></ul><ul><li>Post-Colonialism </li></ul>
  3. 3. Mediation <ul><li>The process by which the media select, alter, interpret, edit or invent aspects of the world before presenting it to the audience in the form of representations. There is an important difference between mediated experience and one’s direct personal experience. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Mediation <ul><li>“… our knowledge of the world is constructed by media representations” (Andrews, Maggie. Burton, Julia. & Stevenson, Elspeth. (2009). AQA A2 Media Studies: Student's Book (Aqa Media Studies for A2) . Surrey: Nelson Thornes Ltd.) </li></ul><ul><li>The media, in its own right is a learning tool, and can be described as a “window on the world” (Kruger, Stephen. Rayner, Philip. & Wall, Peter. (2004). Media Studies: The Essential Resource . London: Routledge, London and New York. ) </li></ul><ul><li>“ 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 . London: Routledge, London and New York. ) </li></ul>
  5. 5. Hegemony <ul><li>Antonio Gramsci and the concept of hegemony </li></ul><ul><li>Put simply ‘hegemony’ refers to the supremacy of one social grouping over the other </li></ul><ul><li>Gramsci argued that the ruling elite always makes great efforts to persuade the rest of the population that maintaining the status quo is ‘ common sense ’. This involves convincing them that supporting the interests of the elite is in their own best interests. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>Fatimah Awan , Young People, Identity and the Media , PhD Research Project, 2008 http://www.artlab.org.uk/fatimah-awan-phd.htm </li></ul>
  6. 6. Collective Identity <ul><li>“… collective identity [is] an individual's cognitive, moral, and emotional connection with a community, category, practice, or institution. 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, 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 &quot;interest&quot; does. And unlike ideology collective identity carries with it positive feelings for other members of the group“ </li></ul><ul><li>COLLECTIVE IDENTITY AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS. </li></ul><ul><li>Annual Review of Sociology, January 01, 2001, Polletta, Francesca; Jasper, James M </li></ul>
  7. 7. Black Britons <ul><li>Definitions of blackness are complicated by the political context of the term black, which in the 1970s included people of Caribbean, African and South Asian descent </li></ul><ul><li>Modood (1994) emphasizes the complexity in using the term black to refer to people of African, West Indian, and Asian descent. He suggests that the term in Britain is not inclusive enough to identify and mobilize different groups that have been categorized. In his opinion, black cannot be a viable political category, as this category does not address the historical, cultural and political differences between people of African, West Indian and Asian descent. I will limit the discussion to blackness as it relates to people of African descent. </li></ul><ul><li>The Homegrown: Race, Rap and Class in London, Raymond Codrington, MacMillan Centre, African Studies, 2005 </li></ul>
  8. 8. Post-Colonialism <ul><li>Refers to a complex and competing set of discourses that consider the legacy and intellectual ramifications of colonialism. By colonialism we are talking about the process of colonisation intrinsic to Empire building: one country’s claim to sovereignty over another. When referring to colonialism there is therefore a tendency to make implicit reference to the British Empire. </li></ul><ul><li>Stephen Hill, Media and Cultural Theory, 2010 </li></ul>
  9. 9. What does it mean to be British? Mediated frame of reference Personal frame of reference
  10. 10. What does it mean to be Black and British? Mediated frame of reference Personal frame of reference
  11. 11. Taken from Fatimah Awan (PhD Thesis) <ul><li>a significant body of research suggests that the media, as a key transmitter of representations and as a major source of information within society, has the power to control and shape attitudes and beliefs held in the popular imagination </li></ul>
  12. 12. Taken from Fatimah Awan (PhD Thesis) <ul><li>research by Karen Ross (1992) on white perceptions of ethnic minorities on television demonstrates that attitudes of whites towards non-whites are influenced by media representation. Her study revealed that although the white participants acknowledged stereotypical representations of ethnic minorities on television, they continued to attribute negative characteristics to ethnic minorities in real life. Ross therefore concludes that for a majority of white people who do not have direct experience of black culture, their attitudes will be grounded exclusively on media representations </li></ul><ul><li>Thus, Ross’ study indicates that the media play a key role in attitude formation as they select information the public receive, and that selection is ideologically motivated. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Media (textual) examples
  14. 14. Taken from Fatimah Awan (PhD Thesis) <ul><li>images of ‘blackness’ do not represent the social reality of being black, rather they position us into a ‘way of thinking about blackness’. Although Ross and Playdon note that different representations vary in their ‘accuracy’, they maintain that all representations are culturally constructed and positioned in a specific historical context. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Taken from Fatimah Awan (PhD Thesis) <ul><li>Ethnic minorities, in particular, are marginalised by a white ideology that naturalises itself as ‘common sense’ and the norm. Specifically, Hall (1990) argues that the methods in which black people and their experiences are represented and subjugated under white ideology is not only a result of political and economic agendas, but also, in accordance with Edward Said’s (1978) principle of Orientalism, functions to construct blacks as ‘Other’. Furthermore, Hall claims that the insidious and ‘invisible’ nature of this ideology leads black people to understand themselves as ‘Other’ </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore, as Hall demonstrates, representation not only affects the understanding of ethnic minority groups within society as a whole, but also how ethnic minority groups come to perceive their own identities. </li></ul>
  16. 16. So what counts as historical? <ul><li>Although blacks have been in Britain for at least 100 years, our case study reference starting point is the 1950’s. </li></ul><ul><li>In a nostalgic bid to keep the idea of Empire alive, the British establishment first created the Commonwealth and, in 1948, voted through Parliament the Commonwealth Act whereby all citizens of the ex-Empire could come to the mother country: the United Kingdom. Indeed, during the 1950s there were several waves of immigration into the UK — mostly at the behest of the British government in a need to make up its shortfall in man- and womanpower primarily in the health and transport areas. </li></ul><ul><li>Susan Hayward, Jump Cut , no. 41, May 1997, pp. 49-58 </li></ul>
  17. 17. Taken from Fatimah Awan (PhD Thesis) <ul><li>Sarita Malik (2002) illustrates how documentaries of the 1950s and 1960s contributed to the positioning of black people within the media as a social ‘problem’. Malik links this with a number of factors including: changes in technology that freed programme makers from the studio and allowed them to film on location; the ideals of the Reithian project to educate and inform; and the liberal humanist agenda of social realist producers, who aimed to make sympathetic documentaries on ‘race issues’ with the aim of facilitating black assimilation into ‘British’ culture. This is of particular significance as integration and assimilation of ‘immigrants’ was to become the central theme of race relations policy. However, Malik’s analysis reveals that the specific issues these programmes focused on – such as ‘arrival’, ‘employment’, ‘housing’, ‘crime’, ‘miscegenation’ and ‘overcrowding’ (p. 30) – in effect, framed blacks as social problem from their inception by reinforcing the binary of ‘them’ (blacks) and ‘us’ (whites). </li></ul>
  18. 18. Taken from Fatimah Awan (PhD Thesis) <ul><li>The theme of ‘black as problem’ is not contained exclusively within ‘factual’ programming, but paralleled in comedy, as Marie Gillespie (2002) illustrates. Using Andy Medhurt’s (1989) analysis of comedy in which he states that ‘one of comedy’s chief functions … is to police the ideological boundaries of a culture, to act as a border guard on the frontiers between the dominant and the subordinate, to keep laughter in the hands of the powerful’ (p. 16), Gillespie demonstrates how comedies of the 1960s and 1970s reflected anxieties over assimilation by integrating antagonisms between black and white characters as central components of the narrative. She proposes that this not only positioned blacks as a ‘problem’, but also as a ‘threat’ to national unity. For Gillespie, these positionings were a consequence of larger political concerns – most notably those voiced by Enoch Powell in his (in)famous ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech (1968) – which sought to deny diversity in favour of a collective ‘British’ identity grounded in essentialised notions of white English Britishness. Thus, according to Gillespie, race relations policy, in which assimilation was integral, fostered the abandonment of immigrant cultural identities. </li></ul><ul><li>Till Death Us Do Part (BBC, 1960’s – 1970s) </li></ul><ul><li>Love Thy Neighbour (Thames Television 1972 – 1976) </li></ul>