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Combined Lecture and Activity Notes for Comm 121 RAP

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University of Massachusetts Amherst
COMM 121

Media and the Social World Wednesday, September 19, 2012 10:34 AM Media and the Social World Ch1 9/10/12 examine what the key characteristics of media and how did it develop historically? what is media's presence in daily life? how do we approach media as communication studies? WHAT IS MEDIA?? -mass distribution of technology? -comes from the latin word for "middle" - plural of medium -medium in this respect refers to the connection between things, an in between idea that interferes and translates Importance of Media: -general refers to television, news, film, etc -incredibly pervasive in society today" -avg household has 8 radios and 2.8 tvs -avg adult spends 4.4 hrs watching t -2010 cellphone rate: 85% -2010 internet access rate: 71% -How does media influence or affect the message that I am receiving -language -situation -political correctness -the way in which we all think, or rather how we all think differently. -we have to translate from whatever the message we get is, and then translate it into something we personally can comprehend Rise of Mass media: - Book: Social Construction of Reality (Berger and Luckmann)- 1966 -Reality exists insofar as you understand it -The way in which things are constructed and react form reality -not just physical: racism, sexism, other people's realities -the way in which you navigate your reality is developed by this "negotiated system" -Milestones in print media: (First really social media, clock tower, group idea of time, so that people could organize together) Print tech begins - 15th century Cast Metal Type, Korea - early 15th century Moveable type, gutenberg - 1450 1st newspaper in europe - early 17th century penny press - early 19th century -Milestones in Sound recoding and film: 1877- phonograph 1895 - cinematography 1948 - LP record 1920s - magnetic tape 1960 - cassette tape 1970s - VCR 1980s - CDs 1990s - MP3, DVD, and other digital formats -Milestones in Broadcast media: print - collapses time (written hundred of years ago, remains unchanged) telegraph - collapses space (information instantly from thousands of miles away) radio - first wireless broadcast, beginning of popular culture (theoretically, we the people should OWN the airwaves, but the Comm 121 Page 1 radio - first wireless broadcast, beginning of popular culture (theoretically, we the people should OWN the airwaves, but the government kind of rents it out for you, possibly incorrectly) television sets digital tv broadcast -broadcast fundamentally alters patterns of media consumption by creating the possibility of a largely privatized media -nobody really cares about the author's intention anymore, because how it is interpreted in a social context is the importantpary. The different social interpretations are the interesting bits. The internet and New Technologies: -the distinction between all of the individual media have become somewhat blurred with the advent of the internet -in an interesting way, though, they are all a part of the same new media, the Internet -each new media build upon each of the previous, putting them together -created by the Department of Defense so they could have a series of backups in case a nuclear explosion destroyed something -exists as a gigantic web of independent nodes that interact with one another, passing along data packets -WWW invented by Sir Burners Lee, using a computer designed by Steve Jobs (during hte time he war fired by Apple) Structure and Agency -Structure and Agency are core concepts of comm studies -structure any recurring pattern of social behavior ex family structure, rules for the road -agency intentional and undetermined human actions ex students under an educational system, choosing how far to drive to get food -structure limits the agency, but agency reproduces and changes the social structure -Re: structure and agency -structure is the defined rules and and expectations that occur in a certain situation, whereas agency is something like doingthe unexpected or rebelling against the structure. Legal structure - breaking laws Social structure - faux pas economic structure - market structure - liking random, unpopular things ^the above all combine to influence your "decisions" think about it: how much do YOU actually influence your own decisions, and how much have the systems that are in place influenced them? For wednesday: -Think about the choices in life they I have made, and how media structure and agency have influenced them? -Why do I know the pop culture, but not the REALLY GOOD BANDS? Why are they not within my purview of music? Think about it. Comm 121 Page 2 Media Influence and the Political World Wednesday, September 19, 2012 10:39 AM MEDIA INFLUENCE AND THE POLITICAL WORLD Political -- Polis -- people/community politics can refer to government and whatnot, but it can also be about image politics: focus on what is going on in SOLELY THE IMAGE, not really about the issues -ex. Michelle Obama at the DNC, in her not-quite-red-white-and-blue and newmode 50's mom-bob, support the family stance and whatnot yet you don't even have to listen to her speech, her photo by itself is screaming "AMEEEEERICA, AMEEEERICA, MY COUNTRY 'TIS OF THEEEEEEEE" -this is all social constructed, but the question also lies in the "how much of this is contrived by PR reps?" -Campaigning and politics has degraded into the equivalent of selling a product, marketing the Marketing claims with no evidence = platitudes -the idea of an empty campaign promise is a platitude -more importantly, the empty idea of how a politician's image affects the vote is also a platitude. Its just a contrived, empty -political message to try and motivate the voters -this actually alienates the voters, because just yelling empty, democratic or republican keywords is supposed to incite the masses, but that doesn't necessarily make them BELIEVE or even fact-check PR companies are actually heavily influencing the "trusted" media -Newspapers use PR news line for free articles, but those articles are obviously spun somewhat toward a certain bias -News stations hire people, some who are actually a part of current campaign trails -Media treats politics like celebrities, politics becomes a spectator sport Hypodermic Model : YOU, in your specific demographic that I know about because I studied you, EMPATHIZE Mass Media : Broad generalized swaths to make you feel pathos - like the ASPCA video with sad puppies -Guess which one campaign trails are using ATM? Mass media, using pathos because many times people vote with emotions over logic RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MEDIA AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS Occupy Wall Street: -nobody is reporting on them anymore, despite the fact that they are still active -Media is the "gatekeepers of information" -the celebratization of politics If its not sensationalist enough, the Media won't cover it who is the green party candidate? what information is being left out? is the information I'm getting even factually accurate? Does the Media make information more democratic? Always be analytical of the information you receive, because you will have to make choices, and the choices you make based on the information you have can and does shape you and your reality. Inflation- the fact that we don't have enough gold in the treasury to back up the dollar -The market is really only influenced by the faith of the people- they rise and fall by how much the people believe in the economy -after 9/11, people weren't investing because they didn't have faith, and without investments, there is no capital to build things for more people to invest in. -the Republican view is that "people with money drive the economy because they make the investments" -this is the trickle-down effect. If you do tax breaks for the rich, they will invest more, so the economy will surge. Theoretically. Comm 121 Page 3 Active Audience and the Construction of Meaning Monday, September 24, 2012 10:10 AM Audience are constructed at every moment: -foradvertisements on the wall -forPandora ads -forZack during comm 121 class -they are in a constant state of construction and reconstruction, and you can be an audience for multiple things at once ActiveAudience: Media consumers are competent (o.0) -an active audience can use media texts a material to fashion their own narratives -they want audiences to be interested and involved -an active audience can become a creator Ex: fanfiction,memes The line between producer and consumer is blurred -prosumer; users; user-generated contents How are audiences active? -Interpretive freedom: audiences may not construct the meaning intended by the producer, and not all audience members constructs the same meaning form the same media texts -the Death of the Author: nobody cares what the author thinks anymore, because the audiences reinterprets things all the time, and how the audience interprets things has become more important than what the authorwantedinterpreted The case of the Cosby Show -p261 in Media and Society -different interpretations by race White audiences: end of racism Black audiences: positive movement, but no end to racism because they are all acting like white people Commercial Media and Openness of Interpretation -lovethe characters and interpret them however, because it means morepopularity and more money for us! Structure and Interpretive Constraints -audiences interpret things differently depending on their current situations and their personal realities Decoding Media and Social Positions -the media encodes a message, the audience decodes it -Case of Dallas Americans, Japanese, and 4 minorities in Israel all interpreted incredibly differently Social Contexts of Media Use -why do women read lowbrow romances/sops? -fantasy escapism -reading the novel was a "time out" -women feel there is a severe inequality, and slashfic is taking people in a very traditionally masculine role, and making them "gentle" -reversing gender roles -culture sharing on the internet Active Audiences and Interpretive resistance -oppositionalreading of popular media texts Culture jamming (parody/criticism) Case of "No comment" -"recycling news" by interpreting news and creating new news and sharing it Commenting "share" or "like" "reblog" 'retweet" Blogging Etc. Comm 121 Page 4 Media Technology Monday, October 01, 2012 10:11 AM We missed class on Friday. Apparently it was just memes. Straight up, for an hour. Awesome. MIDTERM: What does McLuhan mean by "media is the message?"
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