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Week 2 post

Silverstone, Roger. “Domesticating Domestication. Reflections on the Life of a Concept.” In Berker, Thomas, et al, eds. Domestication of Media and Technology. Berkshire, UK: Open University Press, 2006,229-248

This is my week 2 post. This may be weird to do the week 2 post again as this is week 12 now. Actually, I have missed one post as throughout the whole semester I always think that I can skip 3 posts. I have actually read the article when doing my proposal assignment. So I decided to re-do my week 2 blog now.

This article by Roger Silverstone explained the concept of Domestication. The domestication of technologies is deeply linked to the social and cultural change. Domestication is inseparable from our daily life. Since the middle of the last century, the boundaries between public and private life is reducing continuously due to the development of communication and information technologies like internet and TV. In this contemporary society, the introduction of technologies to domestic is very fast. However many people are confusing of whether to involve in such social practice. Some of them are have already relied on those high technologies as they believe that their living could be more convenient by using internet, TV, telephone etc. However, some people want to have their social life unchanged. Thus domestication has created a contradiction between the reduction of boundaries between public and private life and its original background theory, which is, to create enhancement and security in everyday’s life.

The reading also mentioned that, domestication is also a process of consumption. This consumption of media helps to fulfill our desires, structure our families, and become the main parts of our daily life.

My daily life at home has deeply linked to those high technologies. I use the computer everyday; I watch the television everyday. I remember when I was a little boy, I didn’t have computers at my home. When I recalled those old days, my life was more substantial than now. I played with kids in the neighborhood everyday after studying.  I was more sociable than now. However nowadays when I finish my studying, what I do is surfing the internet. I think I am addicted to it and my social life has been changed.
Horace Li (z3232900)


Week 11 Post

Dear Ed, I will finish the 9th post in these few days.

Cheers, Horace.

S During, “Debating Identity” in Cultural Studies: A Critical Introduction. Routledge: London, 2005, p. 145/

After reading this week’s reading “The Debating Identity” by During, my concept of identity, which has been existing in my mind for many years has expanded a lot. For many years, what I think of identity is it’s just a performance on stage, which let us to present a character. Moreover, in my view, it’s just an individual’s sense of personhood. However the read told me that identity is not just that simple.

I have noticed a few important features of identities described from this reading. First, identity is actually erasing the individuality we used to have. Second, sometimes we can’t choose our identities as it is give by others arbitrarily. However, we must enact the identity in order to show it out completely. Third, identities are culturally inflected as they could be fixed by the power relations within a community. Last, it could easily cause psychic damage to a person if his/her identity is under-evaluated.

The reading also introduced a term: “identity politics” to me. Identity politics began with the Civil rights movement in the USA during 1960s, after groups with specific cultural and social identities linked with politics. In the western cultural and politic, white, heterosexual men are considered as the in-group and the norm. They are looked as a group which have great power and high authority. Thus, the out-group people in this culture may face serious prejudice and discrimination. Sociologists think that  there are problems in this concept as it erase internal differences, overlook identities around which lives are actually lived, as well as work, “by the principle of exclusion.” However identity politics did showed an importance of not to undervalue other’s identity and it could erase the negative stereotype and “undo” the psychic attack to the out-group.

The reading also introduced the Hybridity theory to me. The Hybridity theory identifies identity as not a marker and a stable trait shared across groups. Identity is actually a practice whose meaning and effect is constantly mutating as its context changes.

Identity is often linked with prejudice and discrimination. As a Chinese student in Australia, I often experience this kind of stuff. Like yesterday, when I was watching the UEFA champion league final in a pub, I was scolded by a white Aussie due to my cultural identity. He said, “Fxxk off you Chinese, you are not meant to be here!” After that, I was so scared then I left the pub.
As many sociologists said, identity is shaped by these social relationships and therefore is continually changing, reforming and solidifying. Thus, I really hope one day, the prejudice and discrimination problem between different cultural identify can be erased and solved.

Week 10 post

Sorry Ed, i just got some problem in my home wireless so my posting has been delayed.

Maken-Horarik, M. “The Children Overboard Affair” Australian Review of Applied Linguistics 26.2 (2003), 1-16.

Before this week’s lecture, my idea to the term “Discourse” is not very clear. However after reading this week’s reading “A Telling Symbiosis in the Discourse of Hatred:Multimodal News Texts about the Children Overboard Affair.”, I found it very inspiring and my view on Discourse is expanded. In her article, the author Mary Macken-Horarik analyses how the design of text with images can vary a story and how the media evoke certain emotions from a wider audience by using specific language. She also explored and the ways in which our media used discourse in the reporting of the children overboard affair.

Macken-Horarik used different tools to analyse the respresentations in image and verbiage. There are three tools: 1) Genericisation-Specification, 2) Categorisation, and 3) Role Allocation.

When media generalize demographics, Genericisation-Specification is used. In this case, people are labeled. In the first three paragraphs of the Children overboard affair story, the writers labeled people into generic terms like ‘the navy’, ‘boat people’ and ‘the government’.

“While the first dimension of representation is concerned with whether to make people specific or generic and patterns pf reference throughout a text”(Macken-Horarik, 2003), the tool of catergorisation which concerns about the type of groups to which people is used. In the story, media linked ‘women and children’ to ‘boat people’ and represented the government people by calling them ‘Prime Minister’, ‘Defence Minister’etc.

The third tool role allocation refers to “the visual and verbal transitivity of representation – the roles allocated to social actors and the social vale attached to these roles (Macken-Horarik, 2003). In the story of Children Overboard Affair, the “navy” plays an active role in relation to the boat people. They helped the children and women. On the other hand, the government ministers, act in a total different role in verbal transitivity. John Howard acted in a dominant role and spoke for all Australians, telling them “treating children in this way is totally not accepted”.

Horace Li (z3232900)

Week 9 Post

Schirato, T. and Yell, S. “Signs and Meaning.” Communication and Cultural Literacy: An Introduction. Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2000, 18-33.

In this week’s reading, Schirato and Yell discussed the relationship between signs and meaning, how we interpret them in everyday life. Also, they explored how semiotic or semiology theories came into practice. I find the reading very interesting as it expanded my view in how signs and meaning work in our daily life.

The article is divided into three sections. The first one is the “Meaning as a system of relations”. From referencing Saussure, the linguistic sign is divided into three aspects: signifier, signified and sign. He explained that “signifier” is related to the physical state of the sign, “signified” is related to the idea or “evoked” understanding of the word and last, “sign” is a compilation of the first 2 terms. Schirato and Yell then explorered the three major messages of Saussure’s theory. First, semiotic systems were not produced by or responding the world. They are actually editing and producing our world. Second, signs are emphasizing the role of the sender. Last, meaning is always policical. Meanings and words are not joining together accidentally. What Saussure did has changed my understanding of meaning. Meaning is relational rather than substantive. We could only understand something to be the meaning of another due to the “arbitrary” relations.

The second section: Signs, History and Contexts mentioned how Volosinov criticised Saussure’s theories by saying that in our world, there is no permanent semiotic system. He said that signs are adaptable and changeable. He suggested that, words as the signifiers, have a history of meanings. Moreover, the meaning of a word is determined by its context.

In the third section: the politics of meanings, the authors brought out an example discussing whether Australia was invaded or settled by Europeans. The role of meaning which it is connected to policits, dependent on things like context, culture and participants are emphasised.

I found this reading not quite easy to understand when I first read it. However those good examples in the reading like Simpson’s on the perception of “violence” did a good job to explain the concept. I know from today after finishing this blog, I will notice more of the signs surrounding me. For me. signs are not just simple signs anymore.

Horace Li (z3232900)

Week 8 Post

Haddon, Leslie. “Research Questions for the Evolving Communications Landscape.” In Ling, Rich and Pedersen, Per, Eds. Mobile Communications: Re-negotiation of the Social Sphere. London: Springer – Verlag, 2005, 7-22

The reading by Leslie Haddon focused on ‘explore the merits of looking at mediated communications in general’, exploring how people select and react to new media technologies. In the article, Haddon raised up four main research questions to tell us the way of how the new media operates. They are: 1) the boundaries might we consider as a communication practice? 2) what are the continuities between the elements of communication repertoire? 3) how and why do we mange and make choices between the elements of these repertoires? and 4) what factors contribute to changes in communication choices?

For the first research question of “what boundaries might we consider as a communication practice?”, She gave an example of how gaming encounters new elements to communication repertoires. She mentioned about years ago, computer players, especially men, were isolated in front of screen. However nowadays the appearance of online games has made playing the computer game a very sociable activity. Players can group together and communicate with each other in the gaming world.

In the second research area Haddon focused of the “continuities between media”. She mentioned that none of the new practice just came out directly. They were evolved or developed from the existing form of media. For instance many years ago, when I wanted to send someone a word document, I had to do it by the fax machine. Nowadays I can it even with extra features like pictures and sound  by just clicking a few buttons in computer.

In the third research area, Haddon explored how the choices between communication options of the youths today are shaping and how the social constraints are affecting the choice of media.

The last research area concerned the dynamics of communications and choice, and the concepts of how people develop new routines and change practices in order to adapt to the media for handling certain types of communication. A previous experience of mine is that when I taught my grandma using the computer, she found many difficulties on that. However today, she can access the computer, surfing the internet by herself after a period of time of trying and learning.

The development of media technology really makes our communication more convenient and easier. The boundaries between people are seems to be smaller. However in my own view, the actual boundaries are becoming larger and larger. It can be proved by examples like nowadays many of us don’t hang out with friends physically, but virtually in the internet. As the media technology is developing fast, I am worried of how our social world will be in the future.

Horace Li (z3232900)

Week 7 Post

Rizzo, Teresa. “Programming Your Own Channel: An Archaeology of the Playlist”. In Kenyon, Andrew, Ed. TV Futures: Digital Television Policy in Australia. Carlton, VIC: Melbourne University Press, 2007, 108-134.

I found this article quite interesting to read because Rizzo mentioned the current TV viewing habit of many people, including me. In this reading, she focused on the concept of playlist and how the new flow of current viewing practices is created by the development of high technology. In the reading, she brought out three cases of current media:Foxtel IQ (e.g. TIVO), youtube and the apple ipod and explores how these new media shifted the traditional way of broadcasting and viewing.

In the case study of Foxtel IQ, Rizzo brought out the ideas of high technology media audiences are having the ability to create their own individualised channel. They can create their ownplaylist and watch their favorite TV programmes by not following the traditional TV schedule. This new viewing trend also leads to an increasing level of personalisation as it enables people to transfer their channel into different media platforms and watch them in any place they want.

In the reading Rizzo also focused on how youtube transformed the usual way of broadcasting. Youtube is not only letting people to create their own playlist, but also encouraging them to broadcast themselves. Thus there are no boundaries between producers and consumers in the youtube world. Also youtube has fulfilled people’ desire for communities which people with similar interest can be easily joined together.

For me, I enjoy watching youtube as it providss me a various kinds of videos to watch and it is updated seconds by seconds. By visiting youtube, I can have the chance to view many videos like the overseas show “Britain’s got Talent” which I couldn’t find a way to get them previously.  Also,youtube is developing in a fast speed. Now it provides HD videos and the loading speed is becoming faster.

The last case study of Ipod focuses on how the new media shifted the time and space of viewing and how it creates a high peronalisation. I totally agree with this as I sometimes like watching videos in my 120 GB iPod classic, rather than just listening to music. I found the high mobility made my TV viewing habit more enjoyable. I don’t need to sit in front of the TV in a specific time and watch those boring advertisements during the breaks.

Years ago I could hardly image the way of broadcasting will transform to a way like this.  So at this moment, I am really looking forward to see how the media can transform further and create a total different broadcasting experience for us.

Horace Li (z3232900)

Week 4 post: The Doubling of Place – The Internet, Mobile and Television

Moores, Shaun. “The Doubling of Place: Electronic Media, Time-Space Arrangements and Social Relationships” In Couldry, Nick. And McCarthey Anna., Eds. MediaSpace: Place, Scale and Culture in a Media Age. Loundon: Routledge, 2004, 21-37

In this reading, Moores focuses out the concept of media’s ability of pluralizing places and interaction, rather than weaken our sense of being. He solidifies this idea by referencing views from few other writers, especially his agreements with the Scannell’s. In this contemporary late modern period, we are experiencing closer relationships and communications with each other through the use of high technologies. The limitation of physical location between people, time as well as distances has been reduced through the use of mobiles and internet.

In the beginning of his article, he suggests that public events in this late modern period are always occurring in two different places which one is the place of the event and the other is the place where people watch and hear the event. Base on the Scannell’s idea of “doubling the place”, we are experiencing our sense of being in both the event and our home through the media.

Media has changed the space when where events are usually presented. Like the funeral of Princess Dianna mentioned in the text, which millions of people were focusing on the tv for the whole day and were feeling great pain. As what Turnock asked, why we crying for a person we have never met before? This can be explained by how electronic media and broadcasting creating celebrities like Prince Dianna, who present in the feelings of “dailiness”. Furthermore, base on the concept of “doubling of place”, the media is offering a real sense of access, which generates the effect of being and involving in the event to the absent audiences.

Moores then focus on the Turkle’s notion of online relations. According to Turkle, the internet is letting “muddlers” to create and exist in different roles and various virtual worlds at the same time. I strongly agree with this. Everyday I am existing in different roles while using the internet. When I am finding information for assignments, I am acting as a student of UNSW; when I am browsing websites like facebook, I am a friend of my friends. My roles keep changing while I get in different websites. Moreover, the use of internet also double the place as we are existing in both the virtual and physical place while we are surfing the net.

Moores last tells a story about a young woman in train using her mobile to chat with her boyfriend then the conversation was invaded by a stranger. Like the internet, while we are chatting with others on the phone, we are like having a face-to-face contact though we are distances apart physically. Thus, our sense of being in a place is doubled.

Horace Li (z3232900)

Week 3 post- The Frequencies of Public Writing

Hartley, J. (2004). “The Frequencies of Public Writing: Tomb, Tone and Time” In Jenkins, H. And Thorburn, D. (Eds) Democracy and New Media. MIT Press, USA, pp 247-269 .

In this second reading, Hartley provides a clear concept to the readers about how frequencies are deeply linked to media, in which frequencies are acting in a big role of constructing the meanings and the forms of the media. He also mentions about how frequencies are linked to the society in which various kinds of media are presenting in. In further, he focuses on questioning whether the introduction of new technologies will help to ruin or develop the relationship between frequencies and the media.

In the early part of his article, Hartley introduces various forms of media in the contemporary society and conveys the concept of how frequencies are bonded with media. He categorizes different forms of media presenting nowadays into three different kinds of frequencies: the high frequency: the daily newspaper, television news and the internet; the mid frequency: monthly magazines, academic journals, books and films; and the low frequency: tomb, inscription and ruins. It is surprised to see that the some of the low frequency group like architectures and ruins are considered as media, however they do provide us information and communicate with us.

Hartley mentions about that the frequency of journalism is getting higher due to the development of high technologies like the internet. There are many advantages in this change, for instance news can be update instantly and reach more public. Moreover, people’s notion of identity and citizenship has also been changed due to the rapidly updating technologies. Identities are now having more mobility and can create various identities. Hartley also believes that the rapid growing of technologies will lead to the decline of classic media technology of democracy, which public is privatized and media is developing more in the privatizing sector. I strongly agree with him as we can see nowadays, news is focusing more in entertainments rather than politics and publics.

There is no evidence telling us about whether higher or lower frequencies of media are better. But in my own view, I believe that various frequencies of media are necessary to exist in order to make our world stable.

Week 1 Blog Assignment

O’Shaughnessy, Michael, and Jane Sadler. ‘What do the media Do to us? Media and Society: An Introduction, Third Edition. South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press, 2005, 31-58.

As the first piece of reading in this course, I found it quite interesting and inspiring as it provides me a brief concept of how the contemporary society is linked to the media and how the media reflect our world. Moreover, it also brings out some ideas of how and whether the media shape our identities and influences our values and attitudes.

In their article, O’ Shaughnessy and Stadler first stated that our world is undergoing change always, thus social and political problem like inequalities is existed and keep on expanding. However, consent could still be maintained due to the work of social institutions for example the media.

The authors then introduce the function of the media by using three terms: Representation, interpretation and evaluation. So we can say that the media entertain us, help us understand our society and provide us views to judge the information of our world. Furthermore, O’ Shaughnessy and Stadler also stated that the media are mainly produce to fulfill the audiences’ desire and needs. I agree with them as I believe selling the programmes successfully to a large group of audiences is essential because the producers could gain more profits from the advertisements.

Last, O’ Shaughnessy and Stadler focus on the discussion of how and whether the media is affecting us. Obviously, we could see that nowadays the media is not just reflecting our society, but also having a high contribution in constructing our world. For instance, the FA primer league in England is now expanded as a whole world celebrating event due to great power of media. We can receive the latest news of the matches by the internet; we can watch all matches in high quality due to the improved technology. Moreover, the sponsorships and the advertisements have made the league as a big business.

The authors also mention the concept of “the effects model” which explores the influence media has on society. They raise the question of whether overexposure to violence on TV is prompting criminals, or it is just reflecting our real world. In my own view, the overexposure of violence in TV is really having a great influence on encouraging criminals, rather than just reflecting our society. However, as we are all living in a democratic country, we are having the right and judgments of choosing what to consume from the media. Moreover, I think the government has done a good job in censoring the media. So I think there is no reason for people to blame the media.

Horace Li (3232900)