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2/29/2016 notes

by: Becca Hanel

2/29/2016 notes COMM 1210100-127:Perspectives on Human Communication

Becca Hanel
GPA 3.8

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notes covering the 2.29.2016 lecture and the Engstrom reading
COMM 1210100-127:Perspectives on Human Communication
dr. ruth hickerson
Class Notes
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Becca Hanel on Monday March 7, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to COMM 1210100-127:Perspectives on Human Communication at University of Colorado taught by dr. ruth hickerson in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 13 views. For similar materials see COMM 1210100-127:Perspectives on Human Communication in Art at University of Colorado.

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Date Created: 03/07/16
2/29/2016 >Engstrom reading  How we talk about experiences influences and is influenced by societal  change   This is a difference in how comm scholar (versus a sociologist) would explore a social phenomenon  Are societal changes reflected in media representations of the college  experience? >Campus life in movies: Example  Then: o Animal House released in 1978 but was meant to depict 1962 o Women on campus in the 60s were still a minority o Women often depicted as attending to earn MRS degree  Now: o Today, women outnumber men in college enrollment  o Are women now more often depicted as being serious and high­ achieving students? o Do women in the film still engage in mostly stereotypical “feminine”  behavior? *Comm scholars regularly explore issues related to representation of identity  So, we get ideas about what “normal” is (i particular social spaces contexts)  from a variety of sources o Conklin argues that Animal House changed the expectations first­year  college students had of the college experience (including appropriate  and acceptable behavior) *Key concepts:  Gender v. sex  Masculinity v. femininity   Gender as performative  Speech community  Speech code  Communicative competence  >What is a man? What is a woman?  Sex: biological features (physical fact)  Sex refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men  and women >What is masculine? What is feminine?  Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and  attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women  Gender: what various social groups know to be a recognizable man/woman  (human/social fact)  Comm scholar Julia Wood attempted to answer the question, “What does it  mean to us as individuals to grow up feminine or masculine in present­day  America?”  What does research have to say about these experiences? >Feminine 1. Appearance still counts: women are still judged by their looks. Desirable=  pretty, slim, and well­dressed 2. Be sensitive and caring: BE NICE, deferential, and helpful.  Care about and  take care of others 3. Negative treatment by others: Women are more often targets of sexual  assault, are more likely to live in poverty, and more likely to face bad job  salary discrimination  4. Be superwoman: you must have it all.  It’s not enough to be a homemaker,  you must also have a career and be a great mother 5. There is no single meaning of feminine anymore.  No matter what you do, you will be applauded by some and criticized by others. >Masculine 1. Don’t be female: do not act, look, think, or feel like a woman or a girl.  Do not  show sensitivity or vulnerability 2. Be successful: achieve status.  Don’t just be good­­be better and more  powerful than your peers.  Be a good provider. 3. Be aggressive: you will be rewarded for being a daredevil and a roughneck.  Take a stand; don’t run from confrontation. Be tough. 4. Be sexual: interested in sex at all times.  Have a number of sexual partners.  Sexual conquest is a cornerstone of masculinity 5. Be self­reliant: don’t need others.  Depend on yourself.  Take care of yourself.  Rely on yourself. >Gender as Performative  How do we “do feminine” or “do masculine”? o Speech o Dress o Appearance o Language o Nonverbals o Behavior o And so on.. *Most of us have been socialized to understand that masculine and feminine traits  and behaviors are and how to appropriate and perform them >Gender as Performative (in Engstrom’s article)  Men performances of hegemonic masculinity include aggressiveness,  toughness, lewdness  Within the college context, women can also reinforce hegemonic masculinity o Seeking relationships only with “strong men” o Leaving men’s problematic practices unchallenged when they  reference o alcohol usage to explain another practice (fighting, destruction of  property, rape) >Engstrom cont.  To understand human/social facts we have to looks at how they appear in  conversation  What kinds of speech codes shape how people talk? o Speech code: rules for producing culturally recognizable , appropriate  speech >Engstrom’s Communication Problem  The perception of college drinking is that the problem is the alcohol  consumption itself.  Engstrom wants to explain how certain habitual ways of  speaking normalize college­age drinking and justify bad choices  Data show that students’ patterned ways of speaking especially about  drinking, mitigate problematic student behaviors.  Although such mitigating statements are, at times, by themselves  problematic, they (re)produce a much more troubling masculinity. Engstrom’s theory  Shifts the focus from how we can stop binge drinking on campus and asks  instead: o “How do students, through everyday talk, collectively make sense of  these actions?”  >How is this related to shared social space?  Speech codes are created and recreated in particular speech communities. o Speech community­­a cultural group that has shared rules of speaking and interpretation of speech performance  Understanding of what is normal or acceptable (i.e. the rules of drinking  culture) is learned and practiced through social interaction (i.e. talking about  drinking, and actually drinking) >Engstrom’s Findings  Students adhere to the cultural patterns of speaking regarding alcohol  references, which have at least four identifiable rules.  If you are part of this particular speech community, you likely know the rules  (speech codes) >4 Identifiable Rules   Rule #1: Accept references to alcohol “as is”  Rule #2: Validations of references to alcohol   Rule #3: Refer to alcohol positively   Rule #4: Referencing alcohol should point to normalcy  >Rules in action  Alcohol use excuses behavior that, in any other context, would be seen as  antisocial and dispreferred o Urinating in public o Vandalism o Sexual misconduct   “But I was drunk!” >Communicative Competence  If you know the rules, you can participate without incident in the  communicative event  o Engstrom did not understand the rule about not asking for specific  details (like how much someone drank) o This marked him as communicatively incompetent in this context o It also marked him as someone who was not part of this particular  speech community (college­age students discussion drinking and  drinking­related behavior) >Practices that reinforce hegemonic masculinity  Men engage in more aggressive, violent, and risk­taking behavior  “That's just how they are”  Talking about this behavior in this way and then using alcohol consumption to excuse it only reinforces it as acceptable gender behavior   >Dominant view: students drink too much, and they often engage in misconduct as a result  Engstrom: this is a misrepresentation of what actually happens  In talking about alcohol consumption, students create a “natural” relationship  between excessive drinking and misconduct (“yes, I did that, but I was drunk”) >Engstrom conclusion  People use human/ social facts about masculinity (and femininity) to  accomplish social goals through communication (such as “being cool”)  Engstrom: not all college­age males enact (or support) the dominant type of  masculinity   Many college­age women enact (or support) the dominant type of masculinity  >Communication and social change  Constitutive view: change the way people talk­­change human/social facts­­ change (social) reality  Engstrom: change the way students talk about alcohol, they will be less likely  to engage in (or support) drunken misconduct    


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