COMM feb 6 les 5.docx

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February 6, 2012
Gender and Race
Who are you?
o Male? Female?
o Transgender?
o Canadian?
o White?
o Disababled?
o How do you know who you are
o How does being you might react to things that you see or hear
o Who we are
o How we communicate with others
o And the way that others communicate to us who we think they are
Questions about identity have become overtime a powerful form of intellectual critique
What do these questions have to do with the study of communication
A discussion about identity is a:
o Discussion about experience
What does it mean to go through life as you
o Discussion about differences
What does it mean to be different?
To be treated different because you are a woman, black, first nations
o Discussion about oppression
That you feel that you are treated differently because who you are- the
opportunities that are afforded to you and those that are not because
who you are
o Discussion about biology
o Discussion about determinism
Why did this happen
Biology is the determinant of your behaviour
Features of your identity determine your pathway through social life
Fair pay, maternity leave, desegregation, voting rights, recognition of gay marriage
1960’s conscious raising about women’s right
at the heart of consciousness raising is the rise of liberalism
liberal Institutions are based on equality- they are governed by the same rules. People who
created rules of equality were all white men, not everyone was equal- African Americans +
women couldn’t vote
With consciousness raising all liberal institutions can do is give certain group tokens…
But doesn’t mean we are all treated the same way-
Just because you say its fair doesn’t mean it is
In the case of race and gender, there has been an explicity biological determinism
February 6, 2012
Race is a system of caterogration that classifies populations by reference to physical
attributes such as skin colour and other perceived bodily distinctions. An implication of such
a system is that different races inherit common behavioural and emotional traits
Provided justication for:
o Slavery
o Land appropriated
o Interment
o Segreation
o Eugenics
o Apartheid
o holocaust
Judith Butler:
o Gender is in no way a stable identity or locus of agency from which various acts
proceed: rather is it an identity tenuously constituted in time- an identity
instituted through a stylized repletion of acts. Further, gender is instituted
through the stylization of the body and hence, must be understood as the
mundane way in which bodily gestures, movements, and enactments of various
kinds constituted the illusion of an abiding gendered self. This formulation
moves from the conception of gender off the ground of a substantial model of
identity to one that requires a conception of a constituted social temporality.
Significantly, if gender is instituted through acts in which are internally
discontinuous, then the appearance of substance is precisely that, a constructed
identity, a performative accomplishment, which the mundane social audience,
including the actors themselves, come to believe and to perform in the mode of
o Gender is something you perform- you’ve been taught to play this roll over and
over again
A woman writes with her body, a man writes with her hand
o The difference is a good thing
The media are not the only powerful source of ideas about race. They are a place where
these ideas are articulated, worked on, transformed, and elaborated- Stuart Hall
o Critique of media is not that different from liberal institutions
o People that own the media are the same as these institutions- white males
Modes of representation
o Minorities as invisible
o Minorities as stereotypes
o Minorities are a problem
o Minorities as white washed
o Minorities as adornments
the media of communication serve to communicate and perpetuatve assumptions about
race and gender