Chapter 11: Erotic Analysis
Media Erotics: an Overview
- Media Erotics
- An approach that explores the array of resistive pleasures that audiences derive from media by examining various sensuous, creative, and transgressive ways in which
persons use and experience media.
1. Tendency after studying the topic of resistance to see it in everything. This has the effect of weakening the force of the concept along with the transformative potential it holds.
2. Tendency to romanticize the role of resistance in society and thus under estimate hegemony and its capacity to co-opt and commodify resistance.
- Any symbolic or material practice that challenges, subverts, or suspends 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.
1. resistance is contextual
- it is always ―specific to particular times, places, and social relationships‖
2. resistance is tactical
- tactics (or the art of the weak), which contrasts with strategies (the practices of institutions and structures of power), are maneuvers within the enemy‘s field of vision
- ―maneuvers‖ is a helpful term because it serves as reminder that resistance is an action or practice (that occurs temporarily), not a product or outcome (that exists spatially)
- because resistance always occurs within the dominant social structure, it does not operate from a particular spatial or institutional location, and therefore has no place of its
own to stockpile its winning
- a tactic seizes propitious moments, turns events into opportunities, and exploits cracks in the system
3. resistance is creative
- turning the rules to one‘s advantage, and about the diversion of dominant resources for personal benefit (la peruque)
- resistance does not free one from domination (i.e. social structures and the way they constrain our wants, desires, and behaviors)
4. resistance is cumulative
- multiple acts of resistance over time have the potential to accumulate
- while a lone act of resistance may seem innocuous and insignificant, numerous acts can bring about more permanent change
- critics should not judge the character (i.e. importance) of a resistive practice according to its immediate effects
5. resistance is incremental
- because resistance depends upon the cumulative influence of numerous ―small wins‖ to bring about change, it rarely results in rapid or foundational social change
- resistance remakes society gradually and subtly, unlike revolution, which brings about change suddenly and (almost always) violently
- social change fueled by resistance occurs slowly and in increments
- the resistive actions of media audiences are almost always modest and because they are frequently motivated by personal benefits or desires, they are also often unconscious
- closed text
- A text that is structured to elicit a particular, usually singular, response from audiences.
- open text
- A text that is structured to call for active participation of the behalf of audiences in the production of meaning.
- A hegemonic pleasure; a comfortable and comforting pleasure that reproduces dominant culture/subjectivity.
- A radically disruptive pleasure; an elusive and ecstatic pleasure that destabilizes culture/subjectivity.
- interpretive play
- An improvisational mode of reading that ignores dominant interpretive codes in favor of pursuing immediate bodily desires.
- The interpretive practice of reading with one‘s body.
- Provides a useful way to understand the pleasure of horror film.
- Abjection results when cultural boundaries are crossed and defiled – the living and the dead
- Our bodies provides a boundary between internal and external and what we discharge from our bodies evokes disgust: snot, vomit, slime, excrement, ooze . . .
- The pleasure of abjection lies within its transgressive nature and its power to repel and fascinate, attract and disgust.
- ritual spectacles, comic verbal compositions, and billingsgate typical of the culture of folk humor seen at popular (as opposed to ―official‖) festivals/feasts in the Middle Ages
- central to carnivalesque‘s three basic forms is the concept of grotesque realism, which concerns degradation, debasement, or uncrowning: ―the lowering of all that is high,
spiritual, ideal, abstract‖
- through grotesque imagery and language, lofty things are brought down to a material, earthly level, while lowly or less privileged things are valued and celebrated
- texts refer to other texts
- gesture to other texts is purposeful: an intentional allusion or reference included by the text‘s author
- this type of intertextuality might be called strategic because it resides in the text itself, and exists for anyone to find
- tactical intertextuality describes associations to other texts produced by the reader
- tactical intertextuality arises not from the text, but from a reading practice: one in which the audience reads laterally as opposed to linearly
- rather than ―following the text‖ along with its calculated allusions, the text ―follows the reader‖ as she forms connections and makes personal links
- tactical intertextuality originates from a deep focus on elements within the text
- when one reads with this sort of intensity, one does not see associations, one makes them
- attitude or sensibility
- in philosophy, adopts a particular issue to assess all angles
- the ironic attitude is neutral, though not disinterested; it refuses to take sides because of the ―realization that anything can be made to look good or bad by being redescribed‖
- the pleasure irony comes from recognition that no view is right or wrong; lacking a definitive positive or perspective, the ironist is never fully interpellated by ideology
- concerns (occupying, imploding, or dissolving) the boundary itself
- ―liminal entities are,‖ writes Victor Turner, ―neither here nor there; they are caught betwixt and between the positions assigned and arrayed by law, custom, convention, and
ceremonial‖ - more about sensuous surfaces and less about underlying structures
- depthlessness creates novel opportunities for resistance, as audiences can now ―consume images without consuming their meanings, whether referential or ideological‖
Fandom and cultural production
- Organized communities or subcultures comprised of persons who share a special affinity for or attachment to a media text, which they, in turn, express through
their participation in communal practices (fan fiction, etc.) and events (conventions).
- cultural production
- The generation of semioti