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MDSA01H3 (310)
Chapter 6


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Media Studies
Michael Petit

MDSA01 INTRODUCTION TO MEDIA STUDIES CHAPTER 6 – CULTURAL ANALYSIS  How media texts shape the way we think about the world as cultural, political, and social beings  Media texts represents a skewed version of society in relation to class, race, gender, sexuality, age, disability  Media texts represent particular perspectives on the world and society at the cost of excluding other views o Worldviews represented in the media are often those of socially powerful or privileged groups Cultural Theory: an Overview  Culture: What human beings produce and the means by which we preserve what we have produced  Constructed  Multi-faceted  Uniquely human  Building Blocks of Culture o Physical  Physical objects -> artifacts: any of the material aspects of daily life that possess widely shared meanings and manifest group (national, social, political) identification to us  Clothing  Music  Shows  Automobiles  Anything manufactured  Physical symbol that identifies who we are as a culture o Social  Codes and rules govern the creation of artifacts  Practices and customs of daily life  Habitual performance o Attitudinal  Ways of understanding the world  Displays the overarching ways a culture makes sense of the world  Qualities which define culture o Collective  Individuals can be part of a particular culture, but they cannot inhabit a culture on their own  Must be shared  Does not include everyone  Society is a collection of cultures  Individuals are members of multiple cultural groups at one time o Rhetorical  Culture functions symbolically  Culture is not natural or inherent to our biology as human beings  Culture is a result of our shared symbol systems which allows for communication  Sustained through words and images which are significant for members of the culture o Historical  Changes, evolves, mutates, fades, and disappears 1 | P a g e MDSA01 INTRODUCTION TO MEDIA STUDIES  Subject to whims and shifts of history o Ideological  Taught to see the world in some ways and not in others  Culture is a collection of artifacts, practices, and beliefs of a particular group of people at a particular historical moment, supported by symbolic systems and directed by ideology Functions of Ideology  Cultures give rise to ideologies  Ideologies influence how individual members of the culture see the world  Ideology: A system of ideas that unconsciously shapes and constrains both our beliefs and behaviours  Four ways that ideology structures our social world o Limitation  Limits the range of acceptable ideas that a person may consider within a particular cultural context  Promotes and legitimates certain perspectives and values while obscuring and devaluing others o Normalization  Ideology often makes social relations and arrangements between individuals seem normal  Hierarchies o Privileging  Informally confirms that the perspectives, qualities, or needs of socially powerful groups are more important or valid o Interpellation  Ways which ideology controls individuals  Ideology is so infused into the social structure that it serves as the force to interpellate us  The force that calls us into existence as social subjects  Forming identity is a process of ideological recognition Ideological Processes: Myth, Doxa, and Hegemony  How ideologies within a culture become widespread, common, or dominant  Myth and Doxa: how ideology works and why certain ones are more widespread than others  Hegemony  Myth: A sacred story of “type of speech: that reaffirms and reproduces ideology in relation to an object o Higher level of meaning of a particular object o Cultural myths normalizes the ideologies of the ruling or socially privileged groups and reinforce power differentials between classes o Preservation through myths  Doxa: Represents knowledge which is beyond question and which each agent tacitly accords by the mere fact of acting in accord with social convention o Constructed aspects of a culture that its members do not really challenge or critically reflect on o Common sense o Supports and makes certain ideologies seem natural 2 | P a g e MDSA01 INTRODUCTION TO MEDIA STUDIES o Ideologies of socially dominant groups o Social power: preserve cultural “common sense” o Without power: resist or alter o Expressing minority opinion =/= resisting common sense ideologies o Preservation through silence  Hegemony: The process by which one ideology subverts other competing ideologies and gains cultural dominance o Evolution of dominant ideologies o Process of convincing people to support the continued existence of a social system that does not support them in return o Spontaneous consent o Dominant ideologies reflects the desires and interests of socially powerful groups  Less powerful groups interpret it to benefit them in some way o Hegemonic ideologies will absorb marginalized
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