Thursday, 2 February 2012


You'll have seen this in class p5, so if you're looking at it it before the lesson and thinking you;ve forgotten something, you haven't. Just me being organised. And a little bored. More topics than pupils so, hopefully, we'll be able to give everyone a choice in their top three.

You need to do the following tasks:

1) A presentation using whatever media format you like (including vlog if you wish) on the theory, what it is, what it means, and how it applies in general to Media Studies; then
2) if you can, extend your presentation to apply the theoy/concept to representation in British TV drama; and then / or
3) if you can, extend your presentation to apply the theory/concept to the film industry and/or the films you are researching for your Section B case studies. It can be any stage of the process from production to exhibition. Probably lots you can do just on marketing. And a lot could be applied to the notion of the audience too.

All can (and must) do part one, and depending on what you choose, you might be able to do part 2 or 3 or maybe even both (some of them can be applied to both).

These must be posted to your blogs by Thursday 9th Feb.

The choices were (I'll add your names next to each one when you've chosen):

1) POST STRUCTURAL THEORIST - Jacques Derrida, looking specifically at his notions of 'difference', 'violent hierarchies', 'Edenic nature' and 'fallen culture'.
2) POST STRUCTURAL THEORIST - Jacques Lacan, looking specifically at his notions of 'lack', 'the mirror phase' and his Freudian roots.
3) MARXIST THEORIES - A general piece of research on the general principles of Marxist cultural theory;
4) MARXIST THEORIST - Theodor Adorno and his concept of 'the culture industry';
5) MARXIST THEORIST - Louis Althusser and his specific interpretation and theory of 'ideology';
6) MARXIST THEORIST - Antonio Gramsci and his concept of 'the organic intellectual';
7) MARXIST THEORIST - Mikhail Bakhtin and his theory of 'the carnivalesque';
8) MARXIST THEORIST - Herbert Marcuse and his theory of 'the one dimensional man';
9) FEMINIST THEORIST - Laura Mulvey and her concepts of 'visual pleasure and the male gaze';
10) FEMINIST THEORIST - Janice Radway and 'Reading Romance';
11) FEMINIST THEORIST - Ien Wang's 'Watching Dallas';
12) POSTMODERNIST THEORIST - J-F Lyotard and 'The Post Modern Condition'
13) POSTMODERNIST THEORIST - Jean Baudrillard and his concepts of 'hyper-reality' and 'the simulacrum';
14) POSTMODERNIST / MARXIST THEORIST - Frederic Jameson and his concept of the 'consumer society'
15) POSTMODERNIST THEORY - What is postmodernism and what is meant by the 'plurality of value'?


  1. Sir, I had a shot at putting something together using the stuff I found in P6; though I don't understand most of my findings.

    I've tried to write something from piecing together the bits I do understand, though now it's looking completely irrelevant - would you mind just giving me a few suggestions as to more specific things to look up and write about?

    Thanks :D

  2. Sure thing. Which theorist did you take? Was it Adorno? My hastily scribbled note is barely legible.

  3. Althusser it is. Essentially what I'm after is:
    What are the ideological state apparatuses?;
    What are the effects on people / how can this be applied to the notion of an audience?;
    How does the media perpetuate or sustain these apparatuses?;
    How does the material practice of these apparatus turn individuals into subjects of the dominant ideology of the media IN our case film institution).

    I have a book you can borrow.

    I'll post some links to help in a minute.

    Anyone else need a hand?

  4. Me please! I've got the theories and stuff that Derrida said, but I'm not really sure what some of it means. I get the whole violent hierarchy thing (I think) but I cannot get my head around différance or fallen culture. I do not like this man.

  5. Differance - two stages:

    1)Signs can never be fully interpreted as, in order to interpret a sign we need to employ our undertsanding of other signs in order to create a frame of reference meaning that finding some ultimate truth is impossible.
    2) ...ties in with the violent hierarchies...

    Fallen Culture ties in with this. A less good example, perhaps, a less reliable version. Writing is an example of fallen culture as it contains too many possible interpretations yet some claim a text carries with it a definite meaning. So if
    we apply this notion of differance to the act of interpretation then anything which claims to have a single meaning is an example of fallen culture.

    I think.

    Does that make sense?

    To be honest, I threw in fallen culture to make sure there was a nice chunky university level extension in there and then went home going 'oh bum, oh bum, where've I ut my Derrida books? Oh bum, better bone up on him, haven't taught any Derrida since 2004, oh bum, oh bum'. I'll try and get a better response to you if this one above is garbled nonsense. Though that's a bad joke abut Derrida. What's the difference between Derrida and the MAfia? The Mafia make you an offier you can't refuse; Derrida one you can't understand'.

    Obvious problems there though as it relies on interpreting what is signified by 'Mafia' etc.

  6. That makes sense, I think. Thank you!
    I do not like Derrida, he is a horribly confusing man.

  7. He he. He provokes that reaction. Love him or hate him (would he agree though, is that not an example of a violent hierarchy? Anyway...)

    When Cambridge went to offer him an honorary doctorate in something like the 1990's there was a massive contra temps between, essentially, the older academics who regarded him as a pointless upstart who offered nothing but the undermining of academic rigour and knowledge and thought he was merely fashionable versus the younger academics who thought he was spot on and the notions of ultimate meaning were elitist.

    Glad it was vaguely helpful. /pauses to shine halo-cum-academic-mortar-board.

    I like Derrida's more political stuff - he tore in to a bloke called Francis Fukuyama in response to his endist philosophy on the triumph of capitalism and the end of History (basically the Berlin Wall has fallen, Capitalism wins, nothing will change from now on as nothing will challenge the dominant Western hegemony).

    Fukuyama has gone on to make himself a millionaire by regularly going 'oooh, I was wrong...but here is something else that has ended...oh, well, that didn't end because _________ but now it has ended because _____________'. The September 11th attacks caused him no end of problems for his theories but he just keeps declaring the End of everything whenever he gets a chance.

    Rant over.

  8. Oh, Sarah, violent hierarchies...he doesn't like Levi-Strauss and thinks binary oppositions are that basically it?