e²mc

evolving ecological media culture(s)


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Week 9: Case studies

We are taking this week off from new readings. Instead the class is concentrating on critical analysis assignments and presentations.

Two of these — one on Banksy and the Critical Art Ensemble, the other on Greenpeace and the movement against the Keystone XL pipeline — were presented in class this past week. We are planning to present the remainder in next week’s class. We will also discuss how and what to share online from these analyses, and what form our final applied media projects will take.

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Week 7: Theorizing global network society

Marshall McLuhan argued that the world was becoming a “global village.” For the theorists we are examining this week, the world has certainly become global, but it is less a village — which implies a stability and a taken-for-grantedness of “what’s what” and “who’s who” — than it is a tempest or a whirlwind. It is a world of ceaseless flux, flow, and modulation, a world of interconnected networks within which we might not know who we ourselves are, let alone who others are.

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Week 6: Alter-globalism & culture

As we continue reading Gilbert’s Anticapitalism and Culture, we are attempting to deepen our understanding how political-economic changes affect the cultural conditions for social (and environmental) change.

Much of this entry will review the political-economic shifts we examined in class this past week. For those who’d like to review any of the videos we watched (or who were not in class), I’m including links to the videos and to further readings. Specific pointers on this week’s Gilbert readings are presented below.

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Week 5: Cultural studies after 1968

After exploring new (digital/social/emergent) media through a variety of media studies lenses, we began looking at the possibilities these media present for democratic political projects. This week we begin our next theoretical turn: into the interdisciplinary field of “cultural studies.” This will provide tools to help us think about the relationship between new media and changing configurations of power. It’s only in the context of the latter that possibilities for social and environmental change can be understood in their complexity.

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More on e-activism & the public sphere

Since this topic was a popular one, I thought I’d link to an article that usefully contextualizes Habermas’s notion of the public sphere within current research in sociology of media. Many of the issues that came up in our discussion get some nuanced exploration in Rodney Benson’s article.

In particular, Benson offers some correctives to the tendency to think in all-or-nothing terms about whether or not today’s media environment fulfills the function of a public sphere. Drawing on French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu and American “new institutionalist” media sociologists, he points out that there are many levels of influence apart from commercial considerations on media and journalistic practice.

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