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Media Theory Toolkit 2016


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English and Media Centre course, 11.11.16

Published in: Education
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Media Theory Toolkit 2016

  1. 1. Media Theory toolkit (1) Texts & Literacies (2) Concepts & Debates
  2. 2. Right here, right now
  3. 3. Disclaimer / Mediation
  4. 4. The plan: •The point of it all and the what and the how; •Texts and literacies – key concepts •Still image analysis •Moving image analysis (breaks as and when) Spot of lunch downstairs •Debates and perspectives: •Audiences, effects, reception •Power, democracy, ideology •Media 2.0 and ‘We Media’ •Postmodernism (breaks as and when)
  5. 5. Recommended
  6. 6. Using … 90 slides with many links Lots of images, moving images and sounds Some modelled learning plans Some Key Readings Lots of Charlie Brooker Some Zizek
  7. 7. Texts and Meaning Reception Genre, Narrative, Representation Democracy Effects Regulation v Responsibilities Futures and utopia / dystopia Funding, access and citizenship Global Culture Identities Mickey Mouse?
  8. 8. Understanding Media by Marshall McLuhan, Television by Raymond Williams Mythologies by Roland Barthes Simulacra and Simulation by Jean Baudrillard The Image by Daniel Boorstin Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman Dialectic of Enlightenment by Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno Manufacturing Consent by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky No Sense of Place by Joshua Meyrowitz Television Culture by John Fiske NB - The notable name missing is Stuart Hall, who sadly never authored a 'text' as such (only edited them), but clearly warrants a place in a list of important media thinkers. ‘Laughey’s Canon’
  9. 9. Sociocultural literacy (Bhabha and Gutierrez’s conceptions) Curriculum and power (Yandell) Cultural capital (Bourdieu) Funds of knowledge (Bourdieu, Marsh, Moll but also Parry et al) Semi permeable membrane (Potter, McDougall & Potter) The “Third Space” of learning
  11. 11. Doing Text / Being Text
  12. 12. Texts: Transmedia • Doctor Who has encompassed television, radio, literature, cinema and videogames, across 50 years. • All adds up to a rich metatext, with multiple access points – although television is clearly the dominant medium.
  13. 13. Key Concepts: Genre | Narrative
  14. 14. Representation Key Reading: Laura Mulvey
  15. 15. That the more restricted forms of textual engagement that English offers remain at the core of the National Curriculum and that English retains a relatively elevated academic status are testament to the strange but powerful grip of an educational order that has been and remains difficult to shake off. The so-called ‘long revolution’ has indeed been ‘long’ as the young people say. We don’t know if the happy playground of Media Studies might in the very long run have some serious impact on the established academic order and might seriously challenge what Derrida has called the ‘violence’ that attends ‘the legitimization of canons’. Nick Peim, Preface to Doing Text.
  16. 16. Key Concepts: Representation
  17. 17. Image Literacy | Semiotics From Saussure and Barthes.From Saussure and Barthes. Signs.Signs. Symbols.Symbols. Myth.Myth. Micro to macro.Micro to macro. Polysemy and fluidity at level ofPolysemy and fluidity at level of connotationconnotation
  18. 18. Mythology
  19. 19. Moving Image Literacy
  20. 20. Camera Helps to Deliver Meaning • Shot Types – what meanings do a long shot and a Point of View (POV) shot help deliver? - Long shot – establishing shot, shows the viewer where they are in the scene. POV –feel as though you are part of the scene Shot Types Helps to Situate the Viewer • Angle – (high angle POV shot = superiority, low angle POV shot = weakness) • Movement - Zoom can highlight emotion on a character, Jerky hand held POV shot can provide tension and involvement in action sequences (e.g. Cloverfield) • Focus / Detail – Used to highlight important elements to the narrative / storyline
  21. 21. Editing Helps to Deliver Meaning • Manipulation of Time / Space – flashbacks, Jump Cuts, Cross Cuts, etc • Rhythm and Pace – Fast paced / frequent cuts = action, slow paced / infrequent cuts = drama / romance • Persuasion – Edit tries to influence your view of the events • Ellipsis – When parts of the story (narrative) are edited out (can be explicit and implicit) • Dialectical montage (Eisenstein) – 2 different shots put together to construct meaning
  22. 22. Sound | Image Helps to Deliver Meaning • Provides Anchorage (Romantic music + 2 people staring into each others eyes tells you that you are watching a romantic scene) • Contrast or Flow (can provide an indication as to whether the direction of a movie is changing or staying the same) • Diegetic Sound (sound that originates from within the movie narrative – e.g. the sound of a CD playing when an actor presses play.) • Non-diegetic sound (sound that is not part of the narrative – e.g. background music) Contributes to Mise en SceneContributes to Mise en Scene
  23. 23. Mise en scene helps to deliver meaning •Refers to the overall Atmosphere / Ambience of a scene •What contributes to mise en scene? - Costume - Lighting - Props - Sound - Actors •Moving image = still images moving (Semiotics can be applied to help explain meaning) •Versisimilitude? - Where the scene provides a sense of realism (2 types:- Generic = realistic for the type of genre, Cultural = realistic because it mimics real life)
  24. 24. Micro to Macro • What are Micro elements? – individual elements (such as camera angles, editing, sound, elements of mise en scene) Elements can be diegetic and non-diegetic. • What is Macro? What meaning the individual elements amount to • But always remember THE ACTIVE AUDIENCE MAKESTHE ACTIVE AUDIENCE MAKES THE MEANINGTHE MEANING (based on cultural experiences and literacy). There may be many ways a film can be interpreted (PolsyemyPolsyemy)
  25. 25. Decoding: Bound up in identity Your examples of curation? Putting texts to work:
  26. 26. Media Theory Toolkit: (2) Concepts and Perspectives @JulianMcDougall
  27. 27. Theories of Culture Adorno: ‘Culture industry reconsidered’in New German Critique, 6, Fall 1975, 12-19 Hesmondalgh: ‘Creative and Cultural Industries’ in Bennett, (2008): The Sage Handbook of Cultural Analysis 552–569
  28. 28. The Culture Industry or Cultural Industries? Adorno – standardisation (of cultural products and consumers) •Popular music (and jazz) – mass consumption, formula, subjugation •THE culture industry = monolothic, standardised •Political economy account – sets up mass production against the creative (high) artist. Hesmondalgh – plural cultural industries •Symbolic creators – degrees of creative autonomy, complexity and difference •Socio-cultural account – looks at structure / agency dynamics •Compares creative workers’ levels of freedom to other industries •Emphasises “contested ground’ upon which different kinds of cultural texts are produced” (Laughey, 2007: 126)
  29. 29. Culture | Industry Adorno: ‘mass culture’ is structural: The cultural commodities of the industry are governed, as value, and not by their own specific content and harmonious formation. Anti-enlightenment Only their deep unconscious mistrust, the last residue of the difference between art and empirical reality in the spiritual make-up of the masses explains why they have not, to a person, long since perceived and accepted the world as it is constructed for them by the culture industry. Hesmondhalgh: ‘Cultural Industries’ = an attempt to pluralize Adorno’s flawed theory. Emphasis on contradiction and complexity in neo-liberal context. Those who prefer the term ‘cultural industries’ tend to be much more sober in their claims regarding the role of culture or creativity in modern economies and societies, and, as we shall see, considerably more sceptical about the benefits of marketization in the domain of culture, than what we might call the creativity or creative industries theorists.
  30. 30. Work Adorno: transformations in the industrial production of art (Frankfurt School neo-Marxist tradition – along with Benjamin’s ‘mechanical reproduction’). Hesmondalgh: creative labour as “communication of experience through symbolic reproduction” (from Raymond Williams’ ‘Long Revolution’). Key ideas: autonomy (workplace + creative), self-realisation, divisions of labour.
  31. 31. Culture Industry, Creative Industry, Creative Work Mass media central to consumer economy since 1950s. Internet, social media and inter-active media – paradigm shift? Lopez (2012) – 4 elements to neo-liberal hegemony of culture: •Privatisation •Commodification •Crisis for control •Enclosure of creative commons – by corporations. Autonomy of the creative worker: Policies that argue for a radical expansion of these industries under present conditions, without attention to the conditions of creative labour, risk fuelling labour markets marked by irregular, insecure and unprotected work. (Hesmondalgh) Sociological focus in STRUCTURE and AGENCY (Bourdieu, Giddens).
  32. 32. Discussion • Creative Labour • Authenticity • Autonomy • Culture • INDUSTRIES – Art, Film, Museum, Graffiti Group 1 - What would Adorno say? Group 2 - Apply Hesmondalgh?
  33. 33. Discuss
  34. 34. Complex
  35. 35. Audience, Effects, Reception Although we might think of media habits as mundane and idiosyncratic, the fact that we all have them shows structural forces afoot. (Ruddock: 77)
  36. 36. Models of Mass Media ‘Classic’ (outdated or timeless?) models: • Shannon and Weaver, 1949 • Galtung and Ruge, 1965 • Blumer and Katz,1974
  37. 37. Ideology and Interpellation Key example = gender based magazines Nuts does four things: 1. Represents men to men. 2. Represents men to women. 3. Represents women to men. 4. Represents women to women.
  38. 38. Men’s magazine covers = women Women’s magazine covers = women Why?
  39. 39. Complicity Key Reading: Althusser: Interpellation (misrecognition) Winship: complicity and (false) belonging Gauntlett – irony / play
  40. 40. Feminism (Butler) Gender is not natural, it is learned and PERFORMED Playful renegotiation of gender = gender trouble (a subversive act) Madonna, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift Grayson Perry See Gauntlett – Media, Gender, Identity
  41. 41. Moral Panics Cohen, S, 1972. Key Reading: Charles Krinsky
  42. 42. The Other
  43. 43. Murder of James Bulger by two boys Shocked public reaction Trial: search for blame Father’s videoshop membership info CP3 picked on by press Spurious links with narrative offered
  44. 44. Recent panics Videogames Online activity Campus killings / knife and gun crime / gangs and Youtube Texting, internet and literacy Electronic media and obesity Screen / web addiction Social skills in decline due to internet
  45. 45. Identity: British Social Realism
  46. 46. National Identity? Films do not present a neutral, transparent view of reality, but offer instead a mediated re-presentation of it. Types of Realism Discourses Ideology Othering Plural readings Key Reading: Paul Gilroy
  47. 47. Text-Case 1 Types of Realism Discourses Ideology Othering Plural readings
  48. 48. Text-Case 2 Types of Realism Discourses Ideology Othering Plural readings
  49. 49. Text-Case 3 Types of Realism Discourses Ideology Othering Plural readings
  50. 50. Text-Case 4 Types of Realism Discourses Ideology Othering Plural readings
  51. 51. Text-Case 5 Types of Realism Discourses Ideology Othering Plural readings
  52. 52. Postcolonial power Laughing at oneself is an extension of the subjective positioning of the colonized that – internalization of inferiority. But other examples of resistance – women on screen in hybrid game shows.
  53. 53. Ownership and Media Power A Marxist view of media will focus on the relationship between the providers of media, broader power structures and the messages in media products circulated by these power-holding institutions. This is media hegemony / ideology theory.
  54. 54. Marxist ideology theory presents the media as a controlling force. Effects theories tend to assume a passive audience. Reception theory sees audiences as active makers of meaning. Audiences may read the media as the producers intended (preferred reading - hegemonic). They may partly share the preferred response (negotiated reading) They may interpret the text in an alternative way (oppositional, counter- hegemonic reading). But ideology doesn’t go away. Ask Zizek.
  55. 55. We Media | The Empire Strikes Back
  56. 56. The benchmark Bold claims
  57. 57. Media Ideology – Chomsky
  58. 58. it’s complicated
  59. 59. Media Theory Toolkit: Media 2.0? @JulianMcDougall
  60. 60. Modalities
  61. 61. Media 2.0 Lots of DIFFERENT IDEAS on this. Very much a CONTESTED view.
  62. 62. Merrin | Gauntlett Media 1.0 • Celebrates key texts produced by media moguls and celebrated by well-known critics • Vague recognition of internet and new digital media, as an 'add on' to the traditional media • A preference for conventional ideas where most people are treated as non-expert audience 'receivers', or, if they are part of the formal media industries, as expert 'producers'.
  63. 63. Merrin | Gauntlett Media 2.0 • Interest in the massive 'long tail' of independent media projects such as those found on YouTube and many other websites, mobile devices, and other forms of DIY media Recognition that internet and digital media have fundamentally changed the ways in which we engage with all media • Media now more democratic through people making and connecting
  64. 64. So – for Media Studies: WHAT COUNTS?
  65. 65. RELATIVISM?
  66. 66. New frameworks? ). Apply new framework to: Lego Movie Talking dog Fake JL ad Your two choices of media 2.0 viral
  67. 67. Merrin (2014) Mass media and computing converged at the end of the 20th century with material, ecological, cultural and personal transformations. What are these, for you? Media Studies is a product of the analogue, broadcast era, emerging in the early 20th century as a response to the success of newspapers, radio and cinema and reflecting that era back in its organisation, themes and concepts. Does it seem this way to you? If so, how? If not, why not? Digitalisation takes us beyond this analogue era (media studies 1.0) into a new, post-broadcast era. This era demands an upgraded academic discipline: one reflecting the real media life of its students and teaching the key skills needed by the 21st-century user. Media 2.0 demand a media studies 2.0. What do you think this would look like? If digital media are the result of the meeting and merger of computing and mass media then we need to teach our students computing to enable them to produce software and products for themselves. One thing at least is certain: filling students’ time by teaching them how to use a video camera or making them pretend to be a newsreader in a fake studio is a waste of their fees and an inadequate training for the 21st century. What about your fees, then?
  68. 68. Merrin (2014) Print, radio, cinema and television have been transformed in their material basis, ecological position and relationships, cultural production, distribution and consumption and their individual use. Each medium has had to Realign itself to meet the demands of a different era and different market conditions, changing their economic models, content creation, modes of distribution, relationship with other forms and even their own idea of what they are doing and how their forms will be used. Apply to television - discuss. Whilst media studies 2.0 privileges digital media as a revolutionary force in consuming older forms and practices and creating new modes of media experience, it isn’t an uncritical celebration of these forms or these modes. McLuhan commented how ‘ many people seem to think that if you talk about something recent, you’re in favour of it’ and discussions of digital media attract the same reaction. Manovich already argued in The Language of New Media (2001) that ‘ new media calls for a new stage in media theory’ , suggesting that ‘ to understand the logic of new media, we need to turn to computer science. It is there that we may expect to find the new terms, categories and operations that characterise media that became programmable.’ Computing can serve as a key research tool for the digital environment, with data visualisation software allowing the analysis of large collections of information. In order to be able to write media today our students need to know how to produce software, how to employ or create digital tools and platforms, and how to navigate and use the digital ecology. ‘ Media practice’, therefore, needs to be reorientated towards training students in computing and the digital ecology. Today’ s user needs up- to-date, practical knowledge of how to best take advantage of digital technologies and, like the hacker, how to secure their communications, anonymise or hide their activities and delete and control their digital footprint. These may well be the most important ‘ practice’ skills of the 21st century. How are we doing here?
  69. 69. Imagine OK, but Unthinkable now ….
  70. 70. Morozov • View that the web is emancipatory is a “mis-reading of history” • Part of the technologically deterministic, cyber-utopian “Google Doctrine” or “Twitter Agenda”, ie a mirror image of a moral panic… • Governments are actually using the web for propaganda, control, surveillance, censorship and suppression • Big Data - an algorithmic panopticon?
  71. 71. Present Shock? Alvin Toffler’s radical 1970 book, Future Shock, theorized that things were changing so fast we would soon lose the ability to cope. Rushkoff argues that the future is now and we’re contending with a fundamentally new challenge. Whereas Toffler said we were disoriented by a future that was careening toward us, Rushkoff argues that we no longer have a sense of a future, of goals, of direction at all. We have a completely new relationship to time; we live in an always-on “now,” where the priorities of this moment seem to be everything. Wall Street traders no longer invest in a future; they expect profits off their algorithmic trades themselves, in the ultra-fast moment. Voters want immediate results from their politicians, having lost all sense of the historic timescale on which government functions. Kids txt during parties to find out if there’s something better happening in the moment, somewhere else. Douglas Rushkoff
  72. 72. • Many scholars very much against the media 2.0 hypothesis • It is very cynical about theory, but does draw heavily from theorists such as Bourdieu and McLuhan • Celebrates the “power of active users” , ignoring the commercial structures that help to shape those powers • Ignores real material and cultural constraints? – Gender inequality? – Poverty? – Who’s online?
  73. 73. Back to …. The story of text Radical democracy or not, something is happening to text ‘after the media’ …
  74. 74. Games and Media Concepts 1.0 Genre Narrative Representation Audience Effects 2.0 Ludology Play Flow Immersion Identity Key Reading; Frasca
  75. 75. Reading Games as (Authorless) Literature
  76. 76. FLATTENED TEXTUALITY Key reading: Videogames as (authorless literature)
  77. 77. The Postmodern: Baudrillard’s hyper-real? neither dream nor reality but simulacrum – fetishised reality
  78. 78. Virtual reality = product deprived of its substance. “Just as decaffeinated coffee smells and tastes like real coffee without being real coffee,Virtual reality is experienced as reality without being so.What happens at the end of this process of virtualization, however, is that we begin to experience ‘real reality’ itself as a virtual entity”. (2002:231)
  79. 79. Thanks for coming! More stuff in Dropbox … Slides with links Learning plans Links to resources / further reading