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Chapter 11.pdf

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Media Studies
Michael Petit

Chapter 11: Erotic Analysis Pleasure - key to understanding contemporary media audiences (who are consumers + producers = prosumers) Media Erotics: an Overview Media Erotics - explores the array of resistive pleasures that audiences derive from media - examine the various sensuous, creative, and transgressive ways in which persons use and interpret media Erotics or Eroticism - two principal characteristics: - 1. Repressed Desire = disruptive: of the status quo + established order (prohibition, taboo, transgression) - 2. Seminal Fluids = productive: of something new (production, expenditure, dissemination) - Sexual Behaviour of Animals = purely instinctual (serves the purpose of procreation) - Sexual Behaviour of Humans = concerns the subject and her/his individual desires (not simply an innate urge to reproduce) Cultural Resistance Resistance - symbolic and material practices - challenge, subvert, and suspend the cultural codes, rules, or norms which through their everyday operation create, sustain, and naturalize the prevailing social structure in a particular space and time Five Principles of Resistance 1. Resistance as Contextual - context = time + place of an act - resistance = not an act with a fixed quality but specific to particular times, places, and social relationships 2. Resistance as Tactical - tactics = the art of the weak - strategies = practices of institutions / structures of power - tactics= seizes propitious moments / turns events into opportunities / explores cracks in the system - fleeting (disappearing as quickly as it appears) 3. Resistance as Creative - the way we take advantage of the system for our own ends - “making do” = turning the rules into one’s advantage - diversion of dominant resources for personal benefit (does not free one from domination) 4. Resistance as Cumulative - individual acts of resistance = rarely constitute a serious threat to the prevailing social system - multiple / group acts of resistance = over time have the potential to accumulate (bring about more permanent change) 5. Resistance as Incremental - revolution = brings about change suddenly (almost always violently) - resistance = remakes society gradually + subtly + in increments (i.e. gay rights movement) Resistive Pleasures - media erotics interest = transgressive / counter-hegemonic (as opposed to dominant / hegemonic pleasures) - hegemonic pleasures = passive consumption of media 1. Hegemonic Visual Pleasures = scopophilia (involves objectification and voyeuristic pleasures) 2. Dramatic Pleasures = desires created and satisfied by form / genre / narrative 3. Positional Pleasures = identification with text’s preferred subject position - resistive pleasures = active production of meaning - consumption = perceiving a media text as a finished whole - prosumers = consumers + producers (active in how they both use + interpret media) - prosumptive practices = potential to yield resistive / productive pleasures Major Prosumptive Practices 1. Interpretive Play - Polysemy = spectrum: closed text open text (degree to which they constrain or empower audience interpretation) - closed text = constrain audience interpretation (eliciting a sort of obedient cooperation) - open text = empower audience interpretation (wants the reader to make a series of interpretive choices) - Audience Activity = spectrum: highly passive highly active (degree of audience activity of as interpreters) - highly passive = vessel (waiting to be filled with meaning) - highly active = bricoleur (invents their own meaning out of raw materials found in text) - Matrix = continua: open/closed texts + active/passive audiences - different interactions = different types of pleasure - Plaisir = comfortable + comforting pleasure (conforms to the dominant ideology + subjectivity it proposes) - i.e. seeing a film - Jouissance = ecstatic pleasure: subjectivity breakdown + evasion of ideology (disruption of momentary release of social order) - i.e. playing a video game - Quadrant I = passive audience consumes a closed text - strong plaisir = work (reproduces doxa: prevailing hegemonic order) - Quadrant II = passive audience consumes an open text - weak Jouissance = dislocation (induces boredom + confusion) - Quadrant III = active audience consumes a closed text - weak plaisir = rejection (creates opposition + not pleasurable) - Quadrant IV = active audience consumes an open text - strong Jouissance = text (produces para doxa) - interpretive play = improvisational reading: ignores dominant interpretive codes (in favour of pursuing immediate bodily desires) - cruising = practice of reading with ones body Ways of Cruising (reading with one’s body): that has the potential to produce jouissance 1. Abjection - what disturbs identity / system / order (desires the very thing it casts out) - i.e. compulsion to stare at a horrific traffic accident (the abject registers and appeals) 2. Carnivalesque - inverting hierarchies (bringing privileged / powerful down to earth + elevating less powerful / privileged as superior) - pleasure = subordinate escaping from rules + conventions that are the agents of social control 3. Intertextuality - strategic intertextuality = writer intentionally reference to other texts (planned + deliberate) - tactical intertextuality = reader produced references to other texts - reader reads laterally rather than literally - forms connections and makes personal links - deep focus on elements within the text - does not see associations but makes them 4. Irony - literary device = author means the opposite of what is explicitly said - ironic attitude = neutral (refuses to take sides because it realizes that anything can be made to look good or bad) - pleasure of irony = recognition that no view is precisely right / wrong (lacking a definite position / perspective) 5. Liminality - caught between the positions assigned by law, custom + convention - i.e. Androgyny = gender identity that combines masculinity + femininity in an ambiguous way 6. Depthlessness - ↑ information technology = ↑ depthlessness - more about sensuous surfaces + less about underlying structures - texts not rationally interpr
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