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Lecture # 1

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University of Toronto St. George
Romin Tafarodi

PSY427H1: Lecture #1 13/09/2011 12:07:00 1. INTRODUCTION Critical engagement: the battle for the survival of man as a responsible being in the communications era is not to be won where the communication originates, but where it arrives-Umberto Eco (1983) 2. MEDIA AND MASSES -We are studying Media psychology NOT psychology of mass media MEDIA comes from Medius (Latin): in the middle; to be medius=to be in the middle MEDIA: agency that mediates in two points: the SENDER (generative origin) and the RECEIVER (reception process) In the bridge metaphor (refer to section 3.1), the media is the bridge -The threat of the media is to become seduced by that vision of media/mediation in thinking that medium itself counts for nothing and we should only focus on the content Marshall McLuhan: One must place as much emphasis on the MEDIUM ITSELF and the MEDIA o The MEDIUM constrains the content I.E. Peter Jackson made film about LOTR: Was Tolkens LOTR untainted through that process? The way that we engage with that story, and the forms of experience are ENTIRELY different (Each one of us reading imaginatively actively creating a landscape that are implied within the story; thats not what happens when you watch a film; cinema attacks your perceptions; psychologically different than reading experience) -MEDIUM has to be understood in its own right if we need to know what its doing to us (i.e. what is TV doing to us independent of the content it is carrying) We should give EQUAL focus to medium and content -MASS MEDIA: phrase that is wedded to a sociological conception of society: transformation of society from community to virtual strangers It is marked by a sociological shift ; Mass society came from sociology Interests today: dont revolve around traditional mass media (like TV: not large amount of people watching the same broadcast) o Change from BROADCAST to NARROW CASTING: channels that cater to particular interest groups marked by a fragmentation of audience pool Carries a notion of impotence; one way-street (suggesting that television is a passive experience: cant speak back to the audience) o Today, we have forms of PATICIPATORY ACTION in TV (voting people off/choosing an ending); TV is no longer 1 way: forms of participation that are democratic; Twitter (constructing your own images/representations and sharing with others: becomes bi-directional) -Summary; transition from one way broadcast/mass media to a more fractionated and diverse set of media; diverse in properties and the types of people that use them and the context in which theyre used Example: Boombox is incongruent with the contemporary landscape; Engineering hasnt changed but its SOCIOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE has. o Boombox not intended as a personal medium but as a SOCIAL MEDIUMthat is bought to entertain others; Marketed as a way to exercise social life: used to influence othersthe greatest boom box=greatest status in inner-city groups o Contrast to ipod: ipod is marketed to the INDIVIDUAL; It is made small and as inconspicuous as possible (you want to hide the seams from you and the media); Size is important being inconspicuous, it melds with your body, you wear it on your body, making it into a CYBORG Donna Haraway -Donna Haraway: from this notion there is a tacit belief that merger between body and machine enhances your own capabilities. People want to conquer: A. The Challenge of Space o I.E. Electric/wireless telegraph: enabled decoupling of communication and transportation; Newspaper had to be transported somehow but constrained by transportation and the amount of space you have to traverse to do that; Space has ceased to be the obvious challenge that it used to be in communication B. The Challenge of Time 3. COMMUNICATION, INFORMATION, AND MEANING 3.1 Communication -The notion of space is also important in communication Space is required to occupy an audience: Hitler had a million people at his rallies; He was only able to broadcast himself through LOUDSPEAKER o How effective would he have been without the auditory communicative experiences of a loudspeaker? His POWER would not be effective without space He was conquering space by: auditory/face-to-face interaction via loudspeaker To understand media, we need to understand POWER -The person who holds POWER over communication, holds the power of a lot Sometimes power is claimed by people who have never intended to hold it (I.E. Viacom or Disney: dont intend to hold political power); Exercise control over our imaginations o I.E. Lego: means for a kid to make something him/herself, to exercise their own imagination and creativity: adding to the world what wasnt there; NOW, when you buy lego, everything is a corporate alliance with a major studio/other company and it comes with INSTRUCTIONS -Communication is NOT about transmitting information from place to place but by forming the minds of others -COMMUNICATION: to make something common; try to get ideas in someones head; replicate in another what is already in our own intentional/mental world Socially binding function
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