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MDSA01 - Lecture 2.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Media Studies
Michael Petit

MDSA01 – Lecture 1 Prof’s Speech - Purple Slide 2 – What do you do? - i.e. receptionist, profession – when we define ourselves as our profession, we are accepting an economic definition of ourselves o defining self by the work that you do, but we are much more dynamic than simply the roles of a receptionist, for example - economics is at the root of how many define themselves Slide 3 – Marxist Analysis Slide 4 - Types of questions that a Marxist analyst of the media might ask: - What is the economic system behind media? - Who owns and controls the media? - What role do the media play in society? - What ideas are spread/neglected by the media? - What kind of heroes are shown in the media? o Who does the media promote as possible role models for us to follow? o We will be using Marx to examine communism Slide 5 - ―In the social production which men carry on they enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will (things that are outside of us); these relations of production correspond to a definite stage of development of their material powers of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of reality--the real foundation, on which legal and political superstructures arise and to which definite forms of social consciousness correspond. The mode of production of material life determines the general character of the social, political and spiritual processes of life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being determines their consciousness.‖ o Marx, Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1859)  In the above quote, Marx: economic relations/production define reality - Marx – 19 century thinker - Communism has continued to develop past Marx‘s time Slide 6 - The mode of production (economic relations) is the base or the ―determinant element‖ of our thoughts - Feudalism – a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour o We live in capitalism, not feudalism o People in feudalism may then have a different mindset if this statement is right Slide 7 - King - appointed for protection and to handle territory o Granted powers through god o 1% - Lords - appointed to protect both the lord and the king - Knights – appointed to work the land - Serfs – pay taxes that go back to the king o 99% Slide 8 - Everything is shaped, ultimately, by the economic system of a society - Capitalism is not only an economic system but also something that affects attitudes, values, personality types, and culture in general - According to Marx, the economic system is the determining factor of your consciousness o but we are more dynamic than just that Slide 9 - Totalizing claim (which is 100%) - Base (mode of production) ^ superstructure o Marx totalizing claim: The base, the mode of production of everything, the economics, is the underlying ontology, the very root of everything o The superstructure is everything else  Including Culture, arts, ideas, religion, philosophy, legal system, institutions  Education - In general, we want to avoid totalizing claims because we know there are always exceptions, nothing is 100% Slide 10 - ―The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas… The individuals composing the ruling class possess among other things consciousness and therefore thinks. Insofar, therefore, as they rule as a class and determine the whole extent of an epoch, it is self-evident that they do this in their whole range and thus, among other things, rule also as thinkers, as producers of ideas, and regulate the production and distribution of the ideas of their age. Consequently their ideas are the ruling ideas of their age.‖ o The German Ideology, Marx and Engels, 1845-49 - Ideas get disseminated through media - If we are the 99%, and the 1% is the ruling class, and the ruling class is in control of the production of ideas and their dissemination Slide 11 - The ideas of any given age are those promulgated and popularized by the ruling class in its own interests o Human beings are very self-interested creatures, we can be incredibly selfish o If we have power, we are going to use that power to further our own power - The ruling class believes its own message o Did the king believe it was right for him to be at the top of the system and that he should have all those people working for him? Yes - It has within itself a group of conceptualizing ideologists who, as Marx puts it, ―make it their chief source of livelihood to develop and perfect the illusions of the class about itself‖ o The ruling class believes it has a right to be the ruling class; they must have gotten there for some reason o They believe their own interests are best for everyone o As the 99%, we tend to just follow along and believe those things to be true as well - The ruling class justifies its status and makes it difficult for ordinary people to recognize that they are being exploited and victimized Slide 12 - VIDEO Slide 13 - Center for American Progress o How the media ignores mainstream people in news o The news leaves out a lot Slide 14 - The ruling class – what Marx called the bourgeoisie – try to convince everyone that capitalism is natural and therefore eternal o Margaret Thatcher – TINA: there is no alternative  There is no alternative to economic liberalism  Example of the idea that capitalism is inevitable, natural, eternal, and it makes sense  i.e. There is no alternative in feudalism – the King is the only ruler Slide 16 – Neoliberalism - Main points (see slide) o The rule of the market  The 99% are having less and less of the pie than the 1%  Let business loose from regulations, they will be job creators, let us pay less tax, we will create jobs – SELF SERVING  The system is invested in keeping itself stable o Cutting public expenditure for social services o Deregulation o Privatization  Everything is becoming more privatized o Eliminating the concept of ―the public good‖ or ―community‖  Replacing it with individual responsibility  ―If you are poor, it‘s your fault‖ Slide 17 - The mass media perform their job of distracting people from the realities of society and of creating ―false consciousness‖ - False consciousness: a Marxist theory that people are unable to see things, especially exploitation, oppression, and social relations, as they really are; the hypothesized inability of the human mind to develop a sophisticated awareness of how it is developed and shaped by circumstances o Any belief or view that prevents a person from being able to understand the true nature of a situation o Marx argues that we are all subject to false consciousness Slide 18 - Generally speaking, the media serve to mask class differences and/or act as apologists for the ruling class in an effort to avert class conflict and prevent changes to the social order. Corporate media has everything to lose and nothing to gain by overturning the system – and so they don‘t - Going back to how the ruling class always promulgates its ideas and does so through media o The ruling cl
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