CMN 3104 Chapter Notes -Intersectionality
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CMN 3014: Reading #2 Jan 12 2014
Laying a Foundation for studying Race, Gender, Class and Media
Rebecca Ann Lind
A primary assumption underlying media research is that the media do matter- what we see, hear and read
have some type of affect on us.
Ultimately the media help maintain a status quo in which certain groups in our society routinely have access
to power and privilege while others do not.
Gender and Class matter
According to sociologist, Joesph Healy (2006), we make snap judgments about people and things. This is
necessary because we live in a complex social world and we simply don’t have time to ruminate about all
the fine points of everything and everyone we encounter.
Stereotypes reflect our erroneous beliefs that the few traits we stress are the most important and that they
apply to all members of the group.
Prejudice- the tendency of an individual to think about other groups in negative ways and to attach negative
emotions to those groups, and to prejudge individuals on the basis of their group membership.
Prejudice has both a cognitive and emotional element
Discrimination occurs when people are treated unequally because they belong to a certain group
Markers of race include skin and hair colour.
Markers of ethnicity include religious practices, language use, mode of dress, dietary habits and cuisine.
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Key concepts and recurring themes:
Framing: is the process by which we make sense of the events around us/ Frames are like story lines
that allow us to interpret new information in the context of something we already understand.
Facts have no intrinsic meaning. They take on their meaning by being embedded in a frame of story line
that organizes them and gives them coherence, selecting certain ones to emphasize while ignoring others.
Symbolic annihilation: concept often associated with sociologist Gaye Tuchman but which was
presented by George Gerbner in 1972 an George Gerbner and Larry Gross in 1976.
Rooted in two assumptions:
Media content offers a form of symbolic representation of society rather than any literal portrayal of society
And that to be represented in the media is in itself a form of power- social groups that are powerless can be
relatively easily ignored, allowing the media to focus on the social groups that really matter.
The media reflect a social world in which women are consistently devalued.
Intersectionality: the variety of social groups noted earlier raises an important issue: no one is a
member of just one social group.
We all experience multiple identities that combine, or intersect to understand who we are, and who others
are and to help others understand who we are. Our unique combination of identities affects all of our
interactions with others.
Cultural social identity: we all have the sense that we belong to a particular group (or several), even if
we haven’t consistently thought about it.
Social construction of reality: the previous discussion of social identity at least implicitly highlights the
fact that identities are negotiated within a social context.
Sometimes identities are forced upon or denied to people
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