Trandall6’s Blog

Archive for May 2009

Macken-Horarik, M 2003, ‘The children overboard affair’, Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, Feb. pp. 1-16.

 

Tim Randall

 

3265318

 

Hi guys this week I will be talking about the text “A telling symbiosis in the field of hatred” by Mary Macken-Horarik. The text is concerned with news reports that make use of multiple mediums to create meaning such as picture and written word. The author argues that while seeming unbiased media outlets use discourse to promote an agenda. The text explains that grammar, which is tools for analysing such texts has not been developed. Newspaper reports concerned with the “children overboard” controversy in 2001 are used as an example. The author uses this example to argue that while seeming unbiased media discourse is used to portray asylum seekers as an immoral faceless other while their accusers are portrayed positively.

 

The text firstly gives background of the event. In short reports of asylum seekers throwing their children overboard were on the front pages of many newspapers during the 2001 election when the Liberal party was re-elected. When the government heard of the story from an unreliable source they made it known to the public aiding their re-election by justifying their conservative policies. I personally find it more troubling that Australian prejudice was the deciding factor of the election regardless of the flawed information; this however is not really relevant in a discussion on media discourse.

 

The author also analyses how media discourse can promote an agenda, it is argued this is done in three ways. Firstly people in both mediums of the report are portrayed in either a general or specific fashion. The asylum seekers are portrayed in a general fashion by being referred to by their group such as “boat people” and their accusers are referred to individually. The author argues this contributes to asylum seekers being portrayed as a faceless other. Furthermore the author suggests the category the groups are put into in the report contributes to this bias. The accusers are defined by what role in Australian society they have for example PM John Howard which is described as a functionalist categorisation. However the asylum seekers are simply defined as boat people, an essentialist categorisation. This further contributes to a sense of otherness. Finally the role the groups are playing is argued to contribute to this bias. When active agents the asylum seekers throw children overboard when accusers are active they rescue them and provide food and shelter.

 

Overall I find this very interesting and was not aware how perhaps my opinions perhaps are shaped by subtle bias. It made me aware there is a further level of media literacy that most people do not possess including myself which could be taken advantage of.

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Schirato & Yell, “Signs and Meaning”, in Communication and Cultural Literacy, Allen and Unwin, pp. 18-33.

 

Tim Randall

 

3265318

 

Hi this week I will be talking about the text “Communication and Cultural Literacy” by Schirato and Yell. The text is discussing the theory of semiology, the discipline of studying signs. The author while admiring the theories of Saussure is proposing some improvements.

 

The text firstly explains that communication is not controlled by the sender, and that it is interpreted according to context such as the receiver’s perspective on certain issues. It outlines Saussure’s theory of semiology that explains that there is no inherent meaning to a sign, it differs. There are three aspects of signs.

1. Signifier, the written or spoken form e.g. Tree.

2. Signified, what concept is invoked e.g. Concept of Tree, is green has leaves, etc.

3. Sign, the combination of Signifier and Signified.

 

He believes there is no reason or system between the signifier and what it signifies (it is arbitrary), as such there is no basis for argument to change what a signifier signifies. Therefore Saussure argues that there is an underlaying unchanging system of signs that people use everyday. Moreover these signs do not represent the world rather change the way we look at it as we often consider the signified concept when looking, for instance at a tree.

 

The author points out numerous problems with this theory. Firstly that a signifier simply signifies another signifier for instance a tree simply signifies the concept of a tree not the essence. I had never considered this and it makes me question where may of my signified concepts come from. Furthermore the belief that all signs are intentional communication is question as, for example you could wear your last clean T shirt not knowing that the print on the front is communicating something to someone. Finally the word may be arbitrary yet it may be aspiring to invoke/promote a certain concept.

 

The belief of Marxist Linguist Volosinov that any symbols meaning is the result of an ideological struggle is raised. The concept that is invoked from the signifier “woman” is used as an example of this. Concepts could be signified of either domestic housewife or adult female with a different role in society. Another example is given, a newspaper article on British colonisation in Australia emphasising a certain signified concept for the word “violence”. These examples raise the important question of where the meaning of symbols is derived from in the majority society, who has this power. Overall I feel the author’s argument is logically consistent and can be witnessed empirically such as the struggle to have derogatory signifiers of social groups lose their power. It is also very relevant for those that study media as it makes us aware that if we communicate to large audiences our words will be interpreted in different ways.

Couldry, N. 2005, ‘The Extended Audience: Scanning the horizon’, in G. Marie (ed.), Media Audiences, Open University Press, Berkshire, pp. 184-220.

 

Tim Randall

 

 3265318

 

Hi this week I will be talking about the text The Extended audience by Nick Couldry. The author is primarily discussing how there is a different type of media audience than in the past in today’s media world. This is the result of new technologies that have led to different mediums and different locations of use. The author mentions the view of Abercrombe and Longhurst that there is now a “diffused” media audience which is always around some type of media. Furthermore Abercrombe and Longhurst argue that technology has lead to the power relationship of the media producer over the audience as being no longer relevant. While the author acknowledges that there has been a proliferation of the mediums and locations of media use he argues these power relationships remain. Therefore he proposes that we rename this period of audience activity that of “extended” audiences. While I agree with the author’s argument I feel to some extent the power of traditional media producers is slightly less in today’s media climate.

 

The author uses evidence to support the assertion. Firstly he uses a statement by the philosopher Foucault to support his argument that states that those that hold power in society do so by it being supported by the activities of everyday people. He argues this is how media institutions keep their position of power over today’s extended audience. I found this to be a very good point but it raises the issue of did the public give the media the power first or has the media convinced the public to support it. Furthermore the author argues that even today the media institutions still decide on what is considered news. I notice the same news across a vast number of different outlets so I agree that in this era that power remains. Moreover it is outlined that currently audiences make trips to film sites. The author argues this is because they enjoy the unusual experience of being at a place that they usually view from a distance, an example of an audience/producer distinction remaining. The author also discusses web cam technology and argues that even when using it the distinctions of celebrity producer and everyday audience member remain. While I find both of these points interesting I feel that further evidence is necessary to convince the reader of the thesis. Overall however I find the thesis logical and believable.

Couldry, N. 2005, ‘The Extended Audience: Scanning the horizon’, in G. Marie (ed.), Media Audiences, Open University Press, Berkshire, pp. 184-220.

 

Tim Randall

 

 3265318

 

Hi this week I will be talking about the text The Extended audience by Nick Couldry. The author is primarily discussing how there is a different type of media audience than in the past in today’s media world. This is the result of new technologies that have led to different mediums and different locations of use. The author mentions the view of Abercrombe and Longhurst that there is now a “diffused” media audience which is always around some type of media. Furthermore Abercrombe and Longhurst argue that technology has lead to the power relationship of the media producer over the audience as being no longer relevant. While the author acknowledges that there has been a proliferation of the mediums and locations of media use he argues these power relationships remain. Therefore he proposes that we rename this period of audience activity that of “extended” audiences. While I agree with the author’s argument I feel to some extent the power of traditional media producers is slightly less in today’s media climate.

 

The author uses evidence to support the assertion. Firstly he uses a statement by the philosopher Foucault to support his argument that states that those that hold power in society do so by it being supported by the activities of everyday people. He argues this is how media institutions keep their position of power over today’s extended audience. I found this to be a very good point but it raises the issue of did the public give the media the power first or has the media convinced the public to support it. Furthermore the author argues that even today the media institutions still decide on what is considered news. I notice the same news across a vast number of different outlets so I agree that in this era that power remains. Moreover it is outlined that currently audiences make trips to film sites. The author argues this is because they enjoy the unusual experience of being at a place that they usually view from a distance, an example of an audience/producer distinction remaining. The author also discusses web cam technology and argues that even when using it the distinctions of celebrity producer and everyday audience member remain. While I find both of these points interesting I feel that further evidence is necessary to convince the reader of the thesis. Overall however I find the thesis logical and believable.



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  • trandall6: Thanks alot for that comment. I had never even considered the potental loss of data which could occur under such a model. Like you said, differnet per
  • indie69: Excellent part 3. You make some great points and bring up ideas that I hadn't thought of before. Different perspectives. The one thing I'd point o
  • indie69: Thanks for the comment on my blog. You've challenged some of my ideas, too. But really I just agree with you on the subscription model with the only r

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