My Media Theory class will be covering quantitative methods this week, which include content analysis and surveys. The in-class group activity was to compare 1995 comics to 2015 comics and share the differences. Students were asked to examine the comic strip’s content of the setting, the plot, the facial expressions of characters, types of speech bubbles along with what shapes were used to show movement in a scene, and lastly the context of the language used. One main issue with content analysis is knowing how to define an operational topic like humor or violence, as everyone may interpret and understand it differently.
Next, we will examine how surveys can be used to draw quantitative conclusions. For homework, each student will be creating a survey of questions for their own research papers. The students will be asked to analyze and share their results within their final paper and present stats along with a conclusion to the class. Students are finishing up their brief prospectus and starting their bibliography for their final research papers.
This week my Media Theory and Methods class will be studying Chapter 10 Ethnomethodology and Chapter 11 Participant Observation. Students are reading about how, ‘Love is a Game’ and how humor can add to a story. Their first group activity include creating a conversation by using Harold Garfinkel’s experiment method on what it is like to be a boarder at a dinner party where you know no one. Each group added some sort of implied humor to their creative dialogue.
Students will be comparing older comics to today’s comic strips for an assignment. One of their discussion forums for participant observation is to take a series of photographs throughout their day and than analyze them. Students are to compare their photos with other students and clarify what’s similar and different in the photographs. Each student is also working on their brief prospectus and preliminary bibliography for their media research project.
This week my Media Theory class covered two qualitative methods, which are interviewing and historical analysis. The first group activity included interviewing a martian from Mars whose spaceship just landed on Earth, as an investigative reporter. All the students quickly realized asking open ended questions do not work well in the interviewing process.
Next, we explored the time differences between modernism and postmodernism theories, as well as, the importance of using both primary and secondary sources for different views points. The second group activity was researching Arnold Toynbee, a famous British author and historian. He was often criticized for his Christian biased point of view. The class learned that while history is usually based on past facts, that historians will often tend to put their own spin on previous events to change our perception of past reality.
This week’s forum assignment is to create a list of 10 questions that they would ask the President of the United States of America. This should be a very interesting discussion because of the current turmoil of the War between Russia and Ukraine.
This week in my Media Theory class we will discuss the psychoanalytic theory. Students will be writing about their favorite horror films. We will be covering Freud’s philosophy of one’s identity, ego, and superego. Students are also starting their midterm essay based on what they have learned about media and communication research methods so far this semester based on Chapters 1 through 7.
Chapter 6 Focus Questions:
Psychoanalytic theory tells us about the human psyche is divided into 3 spheres – the conscious, the unconscious, and the preconscious. See Psychotherapy – Sigmund Freud Video.
What did Freud write about the unconscious? How is the psyche like an iceberg? 1. The conscious part is like the tip of the iceberg that we can see. 2. The preconscious part is light below the surface that we can see partially. 3. The unconscious part is way below the surface that we cannot see.
What are the four stages we go through in our sexual development? Freud used the term Libido for by which the sexual instinct is represented in the mind. Oral Phase – Baby stage, rely on our parents for everything like food. Anal Phase – Toddler or potty-training stage, around the early age of the terrible 2’s by often testing the limits. Phallic Phase – Young child to the age of 6, sexual impulse Oedipus Complex – love one parent & hate the other, causes feelings of jealously or anger, shame & guilt. Genital Phase – Puberty Teenage Stage – can cause issues with loyalty, love, distance, and making relationships as a young adult. Can cause anxiety, worry, or depression internally or towards others.
See Pleasure principle vs. Reality principle Video.
Pleasure principle – (ID) In Freud’s psychoanalytic theory of personality, the pleasure principle is the driving force of the id that seeks immediate gratification of all needs, wants, and urges. In other words, the pleasure principle strives to fulfill our most basic and primitive urges, including hunger, thirst, anger, and sex. Reality principle – (EGO) in classical psychoanalytic theory, the regulatory mechanism represents the demands of the external world and requires the individual to forgo or modify instinctual gratification or to postpone it to a more appropriate time. Both the reality principle and pleasure principle pursue personal gratification, but the crucial difference between the two is that the reality principle is more focused on the long-term and is more goal-oriented while the pleasure principle disregards everything except for the immediate fulfillment of its desires.
What is the Oedipus complex? How does it shape texts such as King Kong and Bond novels? The Oedipus Complex – was Freud’s notion that we all experience, when we are young children around the age of 3 Oedipal strivings.
We all desire to have the undivided attention and love of our parent of the opposite sex. This resembles the myth of Oedipus, the Greek hero who unwittingly killed his father and married his mother. Some people overcome this complex so as not to cause trouble, but others do not. It is built upon fantasy and dream fulfillment as we go grow from infancy to a young adult. Freud believed that there is a battle within us in our unconscious as to be a hero or a villain. We all want to be the hero, as we desire to have the ultimate power to control the world.
Define the Id, Ego, and Superego? Id – is the element of the psyche representative of a person’s drives. Freud called chaos, a cauldron of seething excitement. It is also the source of energy, but lacking direction, it needs the ego to harness it and control it. It is connected with impulse, lust and I want it all now kind of behavior. Ego – the ego functions as the executant of the ide and as the mediator between the id and the superego. The ego is involved with the perception of reality and the adaptation to reality. Superego – is the agency in or psyches related to conscience and morality. It is involved with the processes such as approval and disapproval of wishes on the basis of whether they are moral or not, critical self-observation, a sense of guilt over wrongdoing. The functions of the superego are largely unconscious and are opposed to id, elements in our psyches. Mediating between the two, trying to balance them is the ego. See Id, Ego, & Superego Video.
How is the id, ego, and superego typology applied to media and society? The typology can be applied to media and society as we can find characters that tend to be like either the id, the ego, or the superego. The same can apply to books, magazines, films, television shows, cities, heroes (fictional), and heroines (fictional). See Example on Pages 168-169.
What does the most important defense mechanisms? The ego uses a number of defense mechanisms to help people ward off anxieties and maintain psychological equilibrium. Defense mechanisms include the following: Ambivalence, Avoidance, Denial, Fixation, Identification, Projection, Rationalization, Reaction formation, Regression, Repression, Sublimation, Suppression, & Undoing. See Defense Mechanisms Video.
What does psychoanalyst Martin Grotjahn say about horror films and mysteries? Grotjahn states that horror films relate to both our conscious and unconscious because we fear scary ghosts as a child, and as adults, we get a thrill out of watching danger without having to experience it, Television is a symbol and a form of escapism and fantasy for us. Television has become a new field of communication and expression. Horror movies bring out our defense mechanisms like repression and projection, that we obtain pleasure from regressing to another time and place in our minds when life was simpler and uncomplicated. Check out his artwork and his book Beyond Laughter via Google.
What did Freud say about masculine and feminine symbols? A symbol is anything that can be used to stand for something else. Symbols enable us to mask or disguise unconscious aggressive or sexual desires and thus avoid the feeling of guilt that would be generated by the superego if it recognized what we were doing. Freud explains that in our dreams the id uses symbols to trick the superego and obtain the desired gratification. Both men’s and women’s organs can be symbols to represent other objects in life.
What was said about addiction to smartphones? Smartphones can be both positive and negative addicting. The smartphone is a symbol of connection and security that some people become obsessed with it. We have the natural desire to connect with others. Cellphones help to battle loneliness, isolation, and alienation, so we have become dependent on these devices.
How are the theories of Erik Erikson applied to smartphone use? Erikson’s perspective, we all must deal with developmental crises at different stages in our lives. The countless text messages young people send one another have a deeper and more significant meaning than we might imagine, for they are attempts at self-definition, among other things. He states today’s youth are looking for their identity and fall into temporarily over-identify trying to fit in or be accepted by their peers. See chart on page 175. See Erikson’s stages of psychological development Video.
What did Jung and Jungains say about archetypes, the collective unconscious, and the myth of the hero? According to Jung, archetypes are images found in dreams, myths, works of art, and religions all over the world. They are not transmitted by culture but are passed on, somehow, genetically, in a collective unconscious. We are not conscious of them directly, but they reveal themselves in our dreams and works of art. One of the most important archetypes is the hero. See Carl Jung Video.
What was said about the anima and animus?The anima represents the female element found in all males. The animus represents the male element found in all females. Meaning the duality of symbolization of hermaphrodites people with sexual organs from both sexes and in witches, priestesses, medicine men, and shamans. It can affect our personality, the arts, and related phenomena. Both help to find the right partner, to form our inner values, other influence us both positively and negatively, we realize our inner strength as we learn to relate to one another.
What did Jung write about the Shadow element in the psyche? The Shadow represents the dark side of the psyche, which we attempt to keep hidden. It contains repressed and unfavorable aspects of our personalities as well as normal instincts and creative impulses. Thus, in all people, there is a continual battle between shadow aspects of our personalities and our egos, which also contain some negative features.
This week in my Media Theory class is covering the Karl Marxist’s theory of Capitalism and how the conflict theory affects the mass media. Students will be analyzing The Hunger Games movie based on a Marxist’s ideology viewpoint to see how class systems works in film.
Chapter 5 Focus Questions:
Ideology – is defined as any kind of criticism that bases its evaluation of texts or other phenomena on issues, generally political, socio-economical, of consuming interest to a particular group.
Marxism – is a system of thought developed by Karl Marx and elaborated on by many others deals with the relationship between the economic system in a country (the base) and the institutions that develop out of this economic system (the superstructure). Marxist media critics focus on the role of the media in capitalist societies, especially on the way the media help prevent class conflict and defuse alienation by generating consumerist cultures. See Karl Marx Political Theory Video.
What does Mannheim say in the passage from his Ideology and Utopia?
Mannheim argues that utopians often come from repressed subcultures and other groups and see only the negative aspects of the societies in which they find themselves. Mannheim’s ideologists see no evil in their societies, and his utopians see no good; both of course are deluded.
Background: What is the difference between relativism and relationism? As nouns the difference is that relativism is (uncountable|philosophy) the theory, especially in ethics or aesthetics, that conceptions of truth and moral values are not absolute but are relative to the persons or groups holding them while relationism is (philosophy) (karl mannheim)’s idea, proposed as a response to relativism, that the recognition of different perspectives according to differences in time and social location appears arbitrary only to an abstract and disembodied theory of knowledge.
How is ideology defined by the authors quoted?
The concept of ideology forces readers to perceive that all cultural texts have the distinct basis, interests, and embedded values, reproducing the point of view of their producers and often the values of the dominant groups.
The ideological analysis argues that the media and other forms of communication are used in capitalist nations, dominated by a bourgeois ruling class, to generate false consciousness in the masses or in Marixt’s terms the proletariat. Marxist Criticism points out that there is usually a hidden ideological message that is mediated and other forms of communication. These hidden messages shape the consciousness of those who receive these ideological messages. In other words, shapes how we tend to think. ie. the latent or hidden in mass-mediated texts, artifacts, or forms of collective behavior such as fashion.
What points does Roland Barthes make in his Mythologies about the media and about wrestling? Barthes was a critic of pop culture. He believed that myths have a relationship to bourgeois- (meaning middle or upper-middle-class) culture and society. See Roland Barthes – How to read the signs in the news and mythologies videos. His view of wrestling: The quality of light in wrestling generates extreme emotions. Wrestling is not a sport but a spectacle. Wrestling is an excessive portrayal of suffering. Wrestling is full of excessive gestures. Each sign in wrestling is endowed with absolute clarity. The bodies of wrestlers are signs about the way they wrestle. Wrestling provides the image of passion, not passion itself. In America, wrestling represents a sort of mythological fight between good and evil.
What is Hegemony? Why is it a problem for Marxist critics? Hegemony – refers to the notion that ideological domination is invisible because it is all-pervasive. See Karl Marx & Conflict Theory Video.
Marxist problem – They believe there is an ideological content in everything, it becomes impossible to see this domination because we have nothing to compare it to, no way of isolating it. The situation is made worse because, Marxists argue the forces contending against this domination, if any exist at all are relatively weak and powerless. Status Quo – is the existing state of affairs, especially regarding social or political issues. The media tends to manipulate the masses into accepting the status quo economically and in many areas as well. Marixts argue manipulation is too simplistic and even old-fashioned. Manipulation suggests that the people who do the manipulation, run the newspapers and television stations and make the films, actually recognize the ideology it is peddling and therefore does not recognize it as ideology.
Are Debord’s ideas in his Society of the Spectacle still valid? What would he say about the Super Bowl and the 2018 Winter Olympics?
Spectacle – according to the French theorist Guy Debord, capitalist societies are based on the use of spectacles to distract people from recognizing their exploitation. He explained his idea in a book, Society of the Spectacle 1970. Debord believed that sports can be viewed as a society of the spectacle. Today, sports still play an important role in our lives because we enjoy being entertained. See Society of the Spectacle Video.
What points were made in the Marxist interpretation of the Fidji Snake advertisement? Key Points: Everything in a text such as a commercial is important. The more you know, the more you can see in a text. This is because texts store a tremendous amount of information in themselves and are a great deal more complicated than we might imagine. The idea is also that those print ads and TV spots can be seen as popular or commercial art. The notion is that, like other art such as paintings, music, sculptures, and poems, you can see, notice, even appreciate, new things in more complex commercials and ads. Such ads are often rich in symbolism and interesting material for those who have the keys- that is, theories and conceptual framework- to unlock their meaning. Ads and cxs are richer in meaning than we might think. And it takes a good deal of work to understand how they communicate ideas and meaning and, to the extent that they are successful, shape our behavior.
The more critics know, the more they can find in commercials or any kind of artistic or literary text. The book’s author uses six different theories to analyze this Fidji “Woman with the Snake” perfume ad.
Semiotic Analysis – What signs, symbols, and codes are found in the text?
Psychoanalytic Theory – How does the text make use of the basic elements of the human psyche to sell goods and services? Id, ego, superego?
Sociological Analysis – What does the text contain that is relevant to such matters as socioeconomic class, gender, race, status, and role?
Historical Analysis – If the ad or cx is part of a campaign, what is the campaign like? Where and how does this text fit into the campaign?
Political Analysis – What role does the ad or cx have in the political process? What techniques are used, what appeals are made?
Myth/Ritual Analysis – What mythical or ritualistic aspects of the texts are of interest? How does it relate to ancient myths? Pages 141 -150.
Fidji Perfume Advertisement:
Snake is a phallic symbol (Freud)
Flowers are sexual organs of plants
Myth of passion in Polynesian islands (Gauguin)
Adam & Eve (and snake)
Dark hair and ideas about sexuality
Perfume as magic (and like venom?)
Fidji and sophistication: cost and advertisements
Design of ad: leads eyes to perfume
Fingers grasping perfume in a strange way
Sex found hidden in images
What does John Berger say about glamour and the way advertising uses it? Berger used the word publicity for advertising, creating a sense of glamor. it promotes competing messaging. Yet, publicity persuades us to transform ourselves, our lives by buying something more because we want to be envied by what we have or by others. Thus, publicity is the process of manufacturing glamour. It feeds our desire for pleasure. Advertising is not about the product it is selling, but the pleasure of ownership.
Mimetic Desire – people are motivated by mimetic desire to have. Mimesis means imitation, which plays a major role in social relationships. We often want what we cannot have, which invokes envy in us, so we want to imitate what others have. ie. Celebrities are selling products in advertisements and we desire those things in our own everyday lives. See John Berger Subliminal Advertising – Ways of Seeing Video.
What are the basic issues raised by feminist critics of the media? Feminist Criticism – focuses on the roles given to women and the way they are portrayed in texts of all kinds. Feminist critics argue that women are typically used as sexual objects and are portrayed stereotypically in texts, resulting in negative effects on both men and women.
What does Mannheim discuss in his analysis of the “Social Conception of Knowledge?”
The social conception of knowledge recognizes that education, the media, our families, and other parts of society play a major role in giving people the ideas they hold. Socialization – refers to the processes by which societies teach people how to behave what rules to obey, roles to assume, and values to hold. Traditionally, socialization was done by the family, educators, religious figures, and peers. The mass media seem to have usurped this function to a considerable degree with consequences that are not always positive.
The subculture rejects many of the basic norms of the societies in which they find themselves. A subculture is a cultural subgroup whose religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, beliefs, values behaviors, and lifestyle varies from those of the dominant culture. In any complex society, it is normal to have a considerable number of subcultures. Some subcultures are deviant and others criminal. Phallocentric Theory – refers to men assuming that the power relationships they find in society in which men are dominant are natural.
What is the grid-group theory? How does it get its 4 political cultures or lifestyles? Grid-Group Theory – is based on the work of social anthropologist Mary Douglas 1970, this theory argues that in modern societies there are four mutually antagonistic lifestyles that shape people’s choices in consumption and other areas of social and political life. The group involves the strength of the bounds in the units in which people find themselves song or weak, and the grid involves the number of rules that they must obey many or few.
How are our pop culture and media references tied to the 4 political cultures or lifestyles? Pop Culture is a term that identifies texts that appeal to a large number of people, that is texts that are popular. But mass communication theorists often identify or should we say confuse popular with mass and suggest that if something is popular, it must be of poor quality, appealing to some mythical lowest common denominator. Popular culture is generally held to be the opposite of elite culture, that is arts that require sophistication and refinement to be appreciated, such as ballet, opera, poetry, classical music, and so on. Many critics now question this popular culture – elite culture polarity.
4 Types of Political Cultures are: Fatalists – group boundaries are weak, prescriptions numerous. Decisions are made for them by people on the outside. Being a controlled culture. Individualists – group boundaries are weak, prescriptions few. Competitive individualism encourages ever new combinations. Elitists – group boundaries are strong, prescription numerous. Various social roles combine to form hierarchical collectivism.Egalitarians – group boundaries are strong, prescriptions few. The shared life of voluntary consent, with coercion or inequality.
1. People wish to reinforce their beliefs and thus tend to choose films, television programs songs, books, and other similar material that are congruent with their beliefs and support their values. 2. People wish to avoid cognitive dissonance – and thus tend to avoid films, television shows, and other forms of mass-mediated culture that challenge their belief system. Cognitive Dissonance – refers to sounds that clash with one another. According to psychologists, people avoid ideas that challenge the ones they hold or that create conflict and other disagreeable feelings. It also refers to ideas that conflict with people’s views and generate psychological anxiety and displeasure.