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Lecture # 2

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Romin Tafarodi

PSY427H1:Lecture #2 20/09/2011 12:08:00 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 In the age of mass communication, the right to speak is not important but rather your ability to broadcast/disseminate your message Freedom of expression is great if you own a printing press Reaching vast amounts of people matters; Political clout gives you the reach to communicate with ppl not close reach to you Following this, media advocates push towards public ownership of media; rise up or take control of mediachange message/content/practices to what we think morally our society should be served by Eco says: there will be limited returns with that particular strategy; not everyone will end up in power to regulate the use of media; what we can exercise more direct and proximal control is the reception site (how we receive whats given to us). o Eco tries to focus on how we draw meaning from what is given from us o Eco arguing for focus on uptake: how we decode the messages we consume on a habitual basis gorilla semiotics is how he refers to this 1. APPROACHING THE MASS MEDIA 1.1 How can fish understand water? Fish can understand water through: a) critical distance, b) interruption, c) decoding, and d) reattachment A. Critical Distance -Fish can understand water when he lays dying on a fishermans boat Once we become separated from the elements were immersed in, we know their full nature We have to detach ourselves from the umbilical of communication Detachment as a final position or stance is required to do good media studies BUT a transitory detachment is necessary in order to apprehend certain significances that cant be discerned through everyday mindless conception B. Interruption -In baseball, the batters swing must be decomposed and then recomposed; Decomposing is painful for batter because hes asked to become aware of what he did not pay attention to at all (he doesnt think about the angle of batting/power because its so habitual). Now, hes told to think about angles, distributing weight, etc and its hard to do. Almost handicapping because the skills we develop are not developed through analytic treatment but just DOING. In baseball, the habitual act must be broken down to be better understood. This affords the team traction greater autonomy over the swing: willful decisions about what you want your swing to becomeanalytical goal Related to media because our everyday immersion to media involves us being tethered to media. This defines our relationship to media, withdrawing from media in a way is withdrawing from cultural citizenship There is an intimacy for how we relate ourselves to the media McLuhan: media are extensions of our humanity -We need to stop doing what were doing, the way we do it; Mental disengagement to create a critical distance in order to discern things that were not visible before Transitory distance/interruption will help you return to the media changed (Same with batting swinging more purposefully with more repertoire of outcomes than the batter had before) This interruption helps you see things that werent clear before C. Decoding (dominant, negotiated, oppositional) -In the media, the meaning of text (aka semiotics) is pregnant with meaning and there is no limit to the meanings we can draw - E.G. In violent video games, there is reason to suspect it has harmful effects for young adolescent boys How do you separate the violent elements from the video game? Some elements are more violent than others Consensus of violence: builds upon the conventions from your time For media texts, when looking at a causal efficacy, we need to isolate some aspect of media to test for causal violence -George Gerbner found of cultivation theory argues that when we think about violence on TV, we must understand it not as violence but MESSAGES ABOUT VIOLENCE Television communicates and in the course of communicating it may refer to what you may think of as violence and in doing so, it casts violence in a certain way: legitimates it, criticizes it, and makes it more aberrant We have to be sensitive to the message about violence NOT violence itself Message of violence is hard to bracket because how do we understand what the producers of television are saying about violence in 30 minutes? o What producers say are context bound, depends on a lot: characterization, expectations, sense of right or wrong, prior episodes in that series o I.E. Imagine 2 characters: one=bad guy, other=hero: suffer the same deathwill emotional reactions be the same to both cases? There will be more grieving of the hero vs. villain Response depends on understanding of who it is and the context on which it occursform background of interpretation that we apply to make sense of whats happening on the screen and what emotional reactions are o Can we blind to this when doing research? We cant bracket violence/physical acts. NO physical acts that provide a consensual act of violence (killing through euthanasia vs. homicide are different actions/showing boxing to regular audience vs. showing it two pugilists pugilist see the craft dont see violence) Violence=outcome of interface of a person and a mediated message
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