Popular in Course
Popular in Communication
This 14 page Class Notes was uploaded by Tatyana Bartell on Saturday September 19, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to COMM200 at University of Delaware taught by Staff in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 32 views. For similar materials see /class/207171/comm200-university-of-delaware in Communication at University of Delaware.
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Date Created: 09/19/15
9809 COMM 200 Politics and Popular Culture Republicans conservatives Democrats liberal Van Zoonen 0 Preface 0 World of Entertainment Us World of Politics 0 Scientists and Philosophers have condemned connection between entertainment emotions images Eros and politics words text logic logos o Postman o The separation results in o Distinction between language of politics and vernacular o Disconnection of politics from citizens o Nostalgic yearning 0 Go beyond the assumptions of the doomsday hypothesis Propositions 0 Consider the implications of entertainment and citizenship 0 Does it provide I A context to contemplate citizenship I An environment in which citizenship can ourish 0 Does it make citizenship fun Politics 0 Not just about politicians and what they do but about power relations in society 0 Pierre Bourdieu 0 French sociologist 0 field of politics 7 broader idea I de ned in terms of differences oppositional o democrats vs republicans o liberals vs conservatives I definitions and issues are uid and changing 0 like environmentalism moving from a conservative to a liberalprogressive cause I systems and languages are complicated 0 pool of participants is limited I Ivory Tower is not a part of a nefarious plot instead it s an outcome of how political discourse evolves 0 Breaking down the elite and isolating nature of political discourse 0 Popular anti political attitudes o Cynism apathy o Revolt against what 0 Women s movement of 1960s 0 The personal is political domestic violence 0 Movements bring private sphere issues public 0 Gender race sexuality 0 Looking at elite vs popular discourse 0 Traditional political discourse I Abortion 0 Two sides constructed proLIFE vs proCHOICE 91009 Citizenship 0 De nition of Marshall 1950 o The rights and duties of citizens to participate in the formation and decisions of government 0 Fluidity of citizenship 0 Cultural 0 Sexual 0 Political I Van Zoonen focus 7 democratic project Entertainment 0 How do we de ne it 0 Content 7 hard vs soft news 0 Audience 7 young people watch entertainment 0 Effect I If defined in terms of effect then entertainment journalism and information all overlap 0 Outcomes knowledge attitude change belief formation behavior change 0 Can result from all kinds of content The culture scholars vs the social scientists entertainmen term used by social psychologists and media effects scholars assumes content elicits effects diversion and escape content does things to people agency largely rests with powerful message produces popular culture term used in sociology history cultural studies treats popular culture as a form of expression generated by people to run in opposition to elite discourse content is created by people purposefully agency largely rests with empowered individuals A note on Popular vs Mass Culture 0 Dwight Macdonald 1957 0 Post war era mass production 0 Concerns over the threats to high culture posed by low culture I Comic books TVs Radios Kitsch iunldstuff 0 Here popular mass bad no distinction 0 since mass culture is not an art form but a manufactured commodity it tends always downward towards cheapness 7 and so standardization 7 of production Stuart Hall 1981 o deconstructing the popular 0 culture is a way of life 0 popular culture is one of the sites where this struggle for and against a culture of the powerful is engaged 0 popular culture is a process in which a negotiation of power is played out o acknowledges the powerful role of the cultural producers but suggest that people recognize this and actively engage in a struggle against it o Encoding and decoding 0 Meaning rests in how people interpret decoding Television Malaise Theory 0 Malaise 7 a feeling ofunease or depression Television destroys thoughtful deliberative political discourse Hence Televised journalism is an oxymoron Postman Amusing ourselves to death Hart Neo Puritanism o Resisting the vanity of television 0 Reach personal obligation 0 Van Zoonen 7 these arguments are simplistic and appeal to the reader s desire to be smarter than the duped masses Good Citizen informed citizen rational citizen rise above the base world of TV 0 Van Zoonen 7 What kind of civic virtues can be evoked and maintained through popular culture Schudson Politics as cultural practice 0 Examine phenomena as located in space and time with out a preconceived notion 0 Draw what you see 0 Politics is not unchanging in time and space 0 Politics is a set of symbols meanings and enacted rituals 0 Always changing EX 1800s party system in US 0 Politics was about emotion loyalty comradeship 0 Not about policies and issues Things change at the turn of the century 0 Mugwumps and Progressives 0 Late 19 century reformers Emphasizing the rational over the emotional Emergence of the Australian Ballot o All candidates on ballot not just your party Voters encouraged to become informed on the issues rather than emotionally motivated party loyalists Schudson s point 7 The concepts of political and citizenship are uid and change over time 91509 Jackson What is political socialization o Competing de nitions 0 All share common ideas Socialization is a process Occurs over time Individual obtains knowledge Individuals political believes attitudes towards polices values what you uphold and norms what is appropriate are affected 0 Sources Parents schools peers churches news 0000 And entertainment 0 Are attitudes and beliefs shaped by cognition alone 0 Or by emotionsfeelings o Eros vs Logos 0 Maybe entertainment operates via eros 0 Political communication 0 Beginning to incorporate the role of emotion into theories of human behavior and attitude change Political socialization 0 Parents schools churches news public affairs info 0 Learning 0 Persuasion 0 Most notably through subtle indirect cognitive effects I Framing priming agenda settings Entertainment effects on Political Socialization o Fictional TV 0 Gender roles 0 Appropriate behavior 0 Political attitudes 0 Validation of own political beliefs 0 Popular film and music less explored Jackson s Method 0 Survey research 0 Young people 0 Causality or correlation 0 Correlation 7 there must be a relationship 0 Temporal order 7 cause must come before effect 0 No other variables responsible for the effect no third variables Theories of Media Effects 0 Direct effects hypothermic needle 0 TV says Think this So we think it I NO unlikely and uncommon Classic conditioning o Pavlov s dogs Unconditioned Stimulus gt unconditioned response mmm steak gt drooljingling keys gt no drool o Conditioned stimulus jingling keys gt drool because keys signify food Desensitization violence 0 An extension of classical conditioning 0 Chronic pairing of violence and comfortable viewing experience gt lack of negative response Social learning theory 0 Behavior is a result of interaction between 0 Prior behavior 0 Nature biologicalpersonality o Nuture environmentparenting TV Cultivation o Ove Itime people begin to believe that the world is like it is on TV 0 Mean world syndrome 0 Beliefs about types of behavior Schema Theory 0 Memory is organized in schemes 0 Models or networks of information 0 Way of organizing info in the mind 0 Efficient heuristics cognitive shortcuts filling in the blanks making assumptions Cognitive Theories often applied in political communication 0 Agenda setting 0 Mass media tells us what is important 0 They set out agenda Construct salience 0 From frequent and recent activation 0 Priming 0 Media content establishes criteria on which we judge politicians and institutions 0 Framing o Pointing out certain facets and making connections 0 proLIFE vs proCHOICE 0 91709 Putnam 7 television and the disappearance of the American eitii en bowler Social capital 0 Central to a healthy public sphere o Accrues collectively like nancial capital 0 We all gain together from our investments Features of social life that enable people to act together more effectively 0 Social networks 0 To activate and articulate interests 0 Facilitates collective action I The strength of weak ties I Infrastructure 7 support system 0 PTAs churches etc 0 Social trust how you trust other people 0 Integral to getting things done I Integral to producing efficient outcomes 0 Social Norms 0 Support open discussion 0 Willing to share and listen to opinions Why social capital matters 0 Theoretically central to democratic life 0 Enables public discussion 0 Fosters civicmindedness 0 Thinking for the good of the whole not just the self 0 Helps effective grass roots democracy 0 Tocqueville French author noted US s strong voluntary associations from early 19 century Research on social capital 0 Putnam s study of 15 Italian regional governments o Examined institutional success in different regions 0 How quickly they pass budgets o How innovative legislation is 0 Predictions of such success I Economic development I Social stability I Civic culture voting reading associations American social capital Survey suggests decline Less time socializing in clubs and social groups more time spent at home 25 decline in group membership since 1972 drops in trust 0 trust in institutions government media medicine and education has dropped 0 interpersonal trust 30 decline since 1972 Why the declines Putnam s list of suspects 0 time and money 0 now we have more time though mobility and suburbanization 0 but overall mobility rates have not drastically changed Changing role of women 0 Working women have higher social capital than non working women Marriage and decline in nuclear family divorce rates increase 0 Even not divorced families have a decline White ight desegregation 0 But there is a decline in all races The case against TV 0 The timing ts 0 Post war generation grew up with TV temporal order 0 TV viewing lower social capital 0 Controlling 3rd variable relationship still holds 0 How causal does TV decrease social capital 0 Time displacement 7 physically watching TV instead of doing other things 0 TV displaces sleep and out of home activities 0 Cultivation of outlooks 7 content of TV 0 Low trust etc 0 Childhood socialization 0 We do not learn to participate in basic social organization Criticisms of Putnam 0 Trends may not tell the whole story 0 Social capital IS transforming I Movement from civic to commercial organization I Movement towards issue centered activities AARP o Mainly mailing list diffuse 0 Baseline for comparison l940sl950s may be problematic 0 Levels of social capital were freakishly high then 0 Before WWII the levels were low 0 The case against TV may not hold 0 Maybe types of TV viewed makes a difference 92409 Fan communities and political groups both respond to performances Van Zoonen s three analogies 0 Fan community and political groups both 0 Respond to performances 0 Share similar behaviors and activities 0 Require emotional investments I affective intelligence based on emotion o Professionalization of politics 0 Campaign marketing I Focus groups I Branding I Electorate segmentation 7 most likely voters o Partiescandidates produce constituencies 7 actively pitching framing motivating Constituencies as audiences 0 Popular fiction 7 performances not rooted in reality 0 Spectacle involved in campaign 0 Media events 7 Obama threw out first pitch 0 Obama doesn t play baseball so him throwing a pitch was a fictional event Fears of a spectator democracy 0 Watching instead of acting 0 Political consumes not activists o This assumes audiences are passive 0 Van Zoonen says NO audiences are NOT passive Fan communities and political groups 0 Fans stereotyped as mindless followers 0 Research says fans actively creatively and communally engage with their favorite stars programs genres and media 7 Soap Operas 0 Fans are skilled and competent Both rest on emotional investments 0 Political scientists assume 0 Entertainment 7 eros 0 Politics logos 0 Van Zoonen says both involve 0 Fantasy I Voting based on fantasy I Don t know what the candidate will do I Imagining what candidate may do I Emotions Fear of emotional citizenry 0 Secondary to political life 0 Good for strategy but worrisome and undermining for democracy 0 BUT emotions can be rational o Affective intelligence 0 For example anxiety provokes critical thought Entertainment might help citizenship o Schudson piece motionally invested 0 Entertainment shapes how we think about politicians and politlcal narratives The Fan Democracy Kanye vs Swift Fan response The personal becomes political President calls Kanye a jackass and people ip out Jones an opportunity to re ect o Putnam o Schudson 0 Key questions 0 How are TV narratives involved in the construction of political meaning making Jones reminds us 0 What we think of as participation is distant from what we actually do 0 Textual people readhearsee it mediated 0 Choosing attending to process engage media 0 Putnam and television malaise theorists o Normative idea of a citizen rational critical actor 0 Jones says this is rarely found unrealistic expectation o Narrative involve people drama Citizens 0 As bricoleurs 7 take snippets of info 7 tinker o Informed by personal relationships with pop culture 0 Use TV stores in discussions 0 People talk to TV aloud or silently 0 People reference TVMovies 0 People talk with TV 7 using its narratives Fact or ction 0 Integrate content into real life 0 Debate about content real or not 0 Iran Contra trials 0 People were dissatis ed at the level of discourse it was too complicated formal o Frustrated by regular ltered discourse TV ction 0 Appeals to common sense 0 Narrative structure 0 Humor monologue skits talk shows 0 Build on traditional political information Suggestion 0 Jones says rethink what it means to be politically engaged 0 Information alone may alienate citizens needs to be made meaningful Narcotizing dysfunction 0 Never mentioned by Jones 0 Calls into question his underlying arguments o Lazarsfeld and Menton 1948 7 identify a potential dysfunctional role that is played by mass media 10609 Amusing ourselves to death 7 Neil Postman 7 great symbol of postmodem America The Medium is the Metaphor o Decalogue 2quotd commandment 0 Clock rede nes our relationship with the world 0 Eyeglasses have the power to change how G d made us we can x problems we are improvable our fate is no longer sealed by nature 0 each medium like language itself p 10 Not all modes are created equal p 29 Typographic America 0 early American colonies 0 high literacy rates 7 90 males 0 unique society 7 created with all intellectuals o calvanist puritans 7 central role of bible 0 faith in the printed word as a place for truth values and intellect 0 reading was not reserved for the elite even conversation imitated the linear structure of printed word 0 styled to be consumed by many unknown recipients 0 De Tocqueville says Americans like to lecture Media as epistemology the origins of nature and knowledge Postman says 0 Our concept of the truth and the mode of expression are connected I Grad student citing a conversation people can change their opinions when things are not notated Culture moves from oral written print audio visual 7 our concept of truth moves with it TODAY 7 the symbolic environment that determines the form of our ideas and epistemology is TV The Typographic Mind 1858 LincolnDouglas debates postman says people had long attention spans oratory based on written language arguments appeal to rational minds BUT YET o Emotional 0 Interactive 0 Backdrop was a festival 0 the good citizen 10809 Preeminent Role of the Printed Word The written word has content a propositional content It is very hard to say nothing when employing a written English Sentence You can refute it or agree with it Religion Law Advertising p 59 All of which Postman says 0 Used to Highlight rational linear argumentation 0 Foster reasoned thought not emotional reactions Individuals are rational actors truth value in capitalism Postman Text encourages analytic thought Readers are emotionally detached Reading is impersonal and isolated Good readers do not emotionally react Print culture and the Age of Reason in America coincide not an accident Even the emotional language of religion was driven by reason during this time V The PeekaBoo World Technologies the annihilation of space p64 expands the connection of community instant ability to transmit information over huge distances The telegraph 0 Wire services transmit through Morris code information across huge distances 0 Introduce large scale Irrelevance impotence and incoherence o P 69 The principal strength of the telegraph was its capacity to move information not collect it explain it or analyze i 7 opposite of text 0 Henry David Thoreau We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas but Main and Texas it may be have nothing important to communicate We are eager to tunnel under the Atlantic and bring the old world some weeks nearer to the new but perchance the first news that will leak through into the broad apping American ear will be that Princess Adelaide has the whopping cough p 65 Irrelevance o Contextfree information 0 News 7501b shark found 0 Devoid of social and political function 0 Attached only to novelty interest and curiousity 0 Information as a commodity a thing an end in itself No action no participation 0 In a sea of information there was very little of it to use P 67 0 Neighborhood of strangers 0 Knowing superficial facts about each other Impotence o Impotence powerlessness o In oral and typographic cultures information derives its importance from the possibilities of action p 68 o ActionValue 0 But in a PeekaBoo world 0 Information glut oversupply 0 Result you plan to do nothing 0 See quiz page 68 o Narcotizing dysfunction Incoherence 0 Public conversation becomes 0 Sensational fragmented impersonal 0 Messages are unrelated to one another 0 Knowing facts instead of I Understanding implications background or connections There is nothing wrong with playing PeekaBoo p 77 o Postman does not bemoan the junk of television 0 Rather he is condemning the fact that television has become our culture 0 Transforming our culture into an arena for show business The Age of Show Business 0 Television has made entertainment itself the natural format for the representation of all experience 0 Problem I Mot that TV presents ente1tainment I But that all the subject matter is presented as entertainment 0 All content is for amusement and pleasure o P 92 Everyone goes to television for all ofthese things The Day After 0 1983 Film about nuclear holocaust made for TV height of Cold War 0 discussed on news and in school 0 no musical score 0 no commercials during original broadcast Postman discusses 0 Post show conversation 0 Henry Kissinger Robert McNamara Elie Wiesel BUT o What would Van ZoonenJones say 0 Passionate about their beliefs 0 Let us consider the political meaning of the movie itself 0 Impact ofthe film 0 Nearly 100 million Americans watched this a record audience for a made for TV movie distributed all over the world Ronald Reagan wrote in his diary the film left me greatly depressed and it changed his mind on a prevailing policy about nuclear war WHAT CAN I DO 0 Perhaps we should look for political meaning in the fictions themselves In that film itself 10 1309 Intellectual discussion and TV Thinking does not play well on TV Postman thinks discussion after The Day After movie was not good discussion used the talk of show business no profound linear discussion Postman thinks political meaning should rest in formal conversation VZ says CAN gain political knowledge from ente1tainment Thinking is not a performing art POSTMAN there are other programs such as Meet the Press or The Open Mind which clearly strive to maintain a sense of intellectual decorum and typographic tradition but they are scheduled so that they do not compete with programs of great visual interest since otherwise they will not be watched p91 low choice media environment political junkies would watch political shows during peak times NOW THIS Postman you ve thought long enough on the previous matter now OSCAR MEYER WIENERS back to you so and so used to disconnect stories are fragmented from one another there is no tie together its just this and this and that and the other thing ok bye CNN headlines shark crazy kid Afghanistan many things wrong with no way they fit together Randomized order Presented without context or consequences what can you do with this Feel bad Not take a train What do you do Just a bundle of numbers hard to make use of information no action can be taken pure entertainment cabaret showfragmented and disconnected consequence p 104 7 this notion of desensitization If news becomes a performance then performance reality So what happens to issues of credibility 7 how do you know who is credible 7 how credible they project themselves to be anyone at all regardless of the reality if they perform in a way that seems credible then that becomes the reality we accept the performance as real devoid of issues we vote for people based on who we like who we think has better personality characteristics there is nothing more open to manipulation than the construction of an individuals character no empirical evidence of character but evidence of where they stand on issues how they voted public statements about their position emotional connection to a projected image Voting for the best man for the job devoid of party loyalty or platform people who are in the middle become devoid of opinion based on facts Television does not reveal who the best man is p 132 Tom Patterson describes the press as the Miscast Institution to illustrate this same point TV doesn t do contradiction well Why Contradiction requires that statements and events be perceived as interrelation aspects of a continuous and coherent context p 109 How can press be watchdog without linking the past with the present How can they expose and keep track of everything with out linking the past and the present
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