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CCT300: Critical Analysis of Media. September 15: Media analysis and McLuhan’s laws of media. Administration. Get on the course wiki if you haven’t already First in-class assignment is to create personal *wiki* - not a page.

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cct300 critical analysis of media

CCT300: Critical Analysis of Media

September 15: Media analysis and McLuhan’s laws of media

  • Get on the course wiki if you haven’t already
  • First in-class assignment is to create personal *wiki* - not a page.
  • Should look like vs. cct300-f11.wikispaces/xxx.
  • Using previous personal wikis encouraged – build a portfolio!
  • Comic analysis questions?
forms of media analysis
Forms of Media Analysis
  • Analysis of media form and genre
  • Technological/media effects determinism
  • Critical political economy
  • Mass and public media
  • Cultural studies
  • Sociotechnical systems approach
  • Future forecasing
media form and genre
Media form and genre
  • Analysis of essential elements – e.g., McCloud’s first chapter on “what is comics?” and six-step model (to be discussed end of month)
  • Attempts to define classificatory boundaries and identifies canonical and ideal type constructions (why?)
  • Little consideration of consumer/producer impact – culture often deliberately left out (e.g., Manovich, which we’ll look at near the end.)
  • More on genre construction next week
media effects determinism
Media effects determinism
  • Media as pervasive causal force
  • Often done with reductionist scope (e.g., X media consumption causes Y social effect- hard to prove since most connections aren’t really as simple as X->Y (examples?)
qualified media effects model
Qualified media effects model
  • Two-step process – X causes Y through intermediating factor Z
  • Cultivation theory – pervasive media exposure causes Y – not one example of X but prolonged sustained exposure to X
  • Examples?
critical political economy
Critical political economy
  • More of an economic determinism model – capital, relations of power and ownership structure determines media
  • Often Marxist based, but libertarian/capitalist models may also qualify (e.g., critiques of public broadcasting)
  • Often similarly reductionist – does everything boil down to simple financial considerations?
public v mass media mills
Public v. Mass Media (Mills)
  • Localized cultural practices
  • Horizontal power structure
  • Relatively equal ratio of leaders/followers
  • “Jack of all trades”
  • Global culture, with little individuation
  • Centralized power structures
  • Few leaders, many followers
  • Specialization and division of labour
implications for media form
Implications for Media Form
  • Mass media for mass audiences in mass societies
  • Quantity of eyeballs as basic economic force in private media markets
  • Mass media as central bonding experience
  • Mass media as centralized cultural control
  • Rise of the postmodern / postindustrial / information age
  • Individuals and localized communities reemerge and gain in importance
  • Media as tools of creation and expression, not simply passive channels of reception
  • Examples?
  • Problems?
cultural studies
Cultural Studies
  • Analysis of media in context of use – producers, consumers alike
  • More about the complexity of interactions among stakeholders in particular contexts vs. precise measurement or investigation of global principles
  • Interesting stories, but are they generalizable? (not scientifically, but transferable, perhaps)
sociotechnical systems
Sociotechnical Systems
  • Media as sociotechnical system - less cause/effect than mutual causation, driven by technical and social change
  • Emergence of industrial society and its effect on the shaping of communication forms
  • Radio as example – a potentially decentralized medium of production was rationalized into a mass medium
future forecasting
Future forecasting
  • Often the interest is not what’s now, but what’s next
  • Planning for future changes could lead to higher ROI on technical investment
  • Example: Productivity paradox in IT - early invesments in technology did not yield significant results – why? What changed?
  • Issues with forecasting?
mcluhan laws of media
McLuhan - Laws of Media
  • An attempt to find a universal dynamic of media change (!)
  • A bit of a departure from his more famous works which are broad (and sometimes rambling?) cultural studies approaches, and/or accessible pieces (e.g., Medium is the Massage w/Quentin Fiore)
  • Represented as tetrad - four intersecting simultaneous influences
  • Grouped into two forces - ground (historical/cultural convention) and figure (emergent forces/media)
four forces of tetrad
Four Forces of Tetrad
  • Enhancement (positive change, amplification)
  • Retrieval (recovery of past forces – e.g., what’s old becomes new again)
  • Reversal (new or resurgent challenges jeopardizing new media – e.g., unintended consequences)
  • Obsolescence (erosion of older values/forces; e.g., what is made less relevant)
  • Again, all operate in concert simultaneously – one does not necessarily trump others
examples of tetrad analysis
Examples of Tetrad Analysis
  • Best way to learn this one is practice – take a medium and unpack it using the four elements
in class assignment do a tetrad analysis
In-class assignment: Do a tetrad analysis
  • Pick a medium, any medium
  • What are the figure elements (enhancement/reversal)?
  • What are the ground elements (retrieval/obsolescence)?
next week
Next week…
  • Media genre analysis