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MDSA01H3 Lecture Notes - Reproductive Rights, Intertextuality, Agenda-Setting Theory

Media Studies
Course Code
Michael Petit

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7. Psychoanalytic Analysis
-Psychoanalysis approach is grounded in the genesis of individual psychology, the psychology of the
media text and the way in which the two interact in the process of media consumption
-Pleasure principle is the uncontrollable human drive to satisfy desire
-Desire is an appetite for something that promises enjoyment, satisfaction and pleasure in its
-pleasure doesn’t refer only to aspects of comfort or joy but also allows us to transcend everyday
existence and reality
-ecstasy carries connotations of literally being beside oneself with powerful emotion
-id- inherited or instinctual part of psyche
-ego- regulatory part of the conscious mind
-reality principle- constant curbing of desire according to possibility, law or social convention- it
intercedes and regulates the individual’s experience of pleasure- associate with ego
-2 ways to consider the relation b/w pleasure and reality principle: Repression and Lack
-Repression- proposed by Freud is the process of mentally containing our desires below conscious
recognition or expression
-unconscious- For Freudpart of mind acts as reservoir for desire and attempts to make repressed
desires felt again. For Lacanshared realm of pleasures and desires that remain beyond our access b/c
of the insufficiencly of language in knowing these pleasures
-Freudian slip-repressed desires break through the conscious ones
-Lack- proposed by Jacques Lacan- there is not so much struggle b/w pleasure and reality as there is a
gap that separates them
-Freud- infants are born- Polymorphously perverseability to experience pleasure in infinite ways
-oral=union b/w mother and childbreastfeeding (comforting fantasies)
-anal=retention and expulsion of waste (sadistic fantasies)
-phallic=shifting libidinal concentration to genitals (fantasies of control and self-sufficiency)
-Oedipus complex-splitting of libidinal materials of 3 stages into conscious and unconscious desires
-Lacanian psychoanalysis recognizes 3 separate orders of human existence: Real, Imaginary and symbolic
-Imaginary- similar to pre-Odedipal stage, infant feels whole and connected to everything via the bond
to mother
-mirror state= child catches its reflection in mirror misrecognizes as autonomous and whole-link b/w
outside images and individual subjectivity
-Symbolic- cultural place of social meanings and relationships. Analogous to reality principlelanguage
structures , orders and constrains the impulse for the Imaginary desire

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-Law of father-Symbolic- social convention and norms that represent patriarchal power to child
-Lack dominates the ways we understand life and decisions we make
-Phallocentrism is a social condition where images or representations of the penis carry connotations of
power and dominance
-Apparatus theory- Jean-Louis Baudryactual environment and machinery of the cinema activates a
number of psychoanalytic desires within spectators. Reconstructs the situation necessary to the release
of the mirror stage
-Scopophilia- passion for perceiving- pleasure that comes from the process of looking- Freud calls it one
of the primary sexual pleasures
-Voyeurism- process of experiencing pleasure by watching a desired object of person from a distance
-Fetishism- psychic structuring of an object or person as a source of sexual pleasure. It is an important
part of navigating the Oedipus complex and castration anxiety. Child overcome the contradictions and
fears inherent in the Oedipal stage
-male gaze- male/subject/looker and female/object/looked at. Spectators experience scopophilic
pleasure in 2 ways 1) by identifying with the male gaze 2) identifying with male characters
-fantasy- mental representation of conscious or unconscious wish fulfillment. Primary function
intrinsically tied to issues of desire and pleasure in the infant psyche. 2 very important concepts-
desiring creates fantasy and fantasy is a scene of desire
8. Feminist Analysis
-Feminism is a political project that explores the diverse ways men and women are socially empowered
and disempowered. It is focused on deconstructing sexist oppression
-Sexism is discrimination based upon a person’s sex.
-Sex refers to the innate, biological differentiation between men and women: anatomy, reproduction,
harmones, etc
-Gender refers to the culturally constructed differences b/w men and women: tastes, roles, activities etc
-Essentialism- the belief that gender distinctions are innate and natural
-Patriarchy- system of power relations in which women’s interests are subordinated to those of men
-Stereotype- misleading and simplified representation of a particular social group. They help individuals
make sense of an increasingly contemporary society. They often blend realistic aspects of life into
inaccurate assumptions and false of trains- “kernel of truth” to every stereotype
-stereotypes of masculinity are defined by power, significance, agency and social influence
-Stereotypes of femininity are defined by powerlessness, insignificance, passiveness and limited control

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- four interrelated stereotypical binaries are active/passive, public/private, logical/emotional and sexual
subject/sexual object
-Post feminism- refers to a conceptual shift within popular understanding of feminism: an evolution in
feminist emphasis from the systemic oppression of all women to the empowerment of individual
-First-wave feminism- 19th-20th- fought for women rights to vote
-Second wave- 1970s who fought for women’s workplace and reproductive rights
-One of the most prevalent effects of mediated gender stereotypes is the proliferation of eating
disorders- construct women as passive or sexually attractive tend to emphasize the absolute necessity of
a slender figure
-representations of men with slender waists, rock-hard abs and huge biceps place pressure on individual
men to live up to standards of masculinity
-these texts also influence the make-up of social institutions and stereotypes also reinforce those
attitudes and help shape them through workplace and govt. policies. Ex. Issue of pay- gender
expectations cause fewer women to pursue higher paying jobs
-glass ceiling- informal, gendered workplace policies that allow women to progress only so far in
promotion. The logic is that women lack qualities of assertiveness and rational thinking that
management positions require
9. Queer Analysis
-Queer media scholars attempt to understand how media texts contribute to the ordering of human
understandings of gender, sex and sexuality
-Queer Theory is an interdisciplinary perspective that seeks to disrupt socially constructed systems of
meaning surrounding human sexuality
-Queer is used as an umbrella term to refer to any and all people whose individual sexualities do not fit
into the traditional understanding of heterosexuality
-Sexuality is an enduring emotional, romantic or sexual attraction toward others based upon their
gender or sex
-just as mistaking gender expectations for inherent biology gives rise to sexist social systems, assuming
that heterosexuality/homosexuality binary represents human sexuality results in the unequal
distribution of social power
-heteronormativity or heterosexism- the system of inequity derived from the heterosexual/homosexual
binary- it refers to a diverse set of social practices that function to perpetuate the
heterosexual/homosexual binary and privilege heterosexuality. These social practices maintain
distinction b/w heterosexuality and homosexuality out of necessity and must convince people that the
distinct categories of heterosexuality and homosexuality do exist even if they are not as easily
demarcated as biological sex. Constructed institution of heterosexualitycompulsive
-sexual othering- process of stigmatizing homosexuality or any non-heterosexual practice as abnormal
to privilege heterosexuality
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