Archive for the ‘ Through the pages ’ Category

Semiotics And Discourse

After reading Jensen’s paper, ‘Fighting Objectivity: The Illusion of Journalistic Neutrality in Coverage of the Persian Gulf War’ (1992, pp. 20-32) I agree about the use of discourse in the context of war in the American culture, the symbolism in this culture is apparent as well. Take for example the American flag, thirteen red stripes representing the original colonies and fifty stars as the union jack representing all of the states presently within the U.S.

While most if not all countries are patriotic when it comes to their nation’s flag, none stick to mind as much as America. Using the Gulf War example the media was directly influenced by power, using this in the diagram set out in the week 4 lecture, the power was the government, the knowledge in the media. (Ali Tariq. 2007. ‘On War, Empire and Resistance (5/10) .’) Following this discourse more people waved the American flag as they joined the army to ‘protect their country’ even though the war had was not a direct threat to the nation (the war was instigated). War brought honor to the nation, and thanks to the media the symbolism of war changed drastically. From the murder and gore seen in Vietnam, war became glorified through the media, the cultural ideals and recognition of ‘war’ drastically changed to a view concerned with social unity, tradition, honor and something that had to be won at any cost. Continue reading


Postmodernism and Identity

Postmodernism has changed the way in which identity is viewed by moving it away from the concept of a unified self, to one where the self is viewed as a multiple rather than the modern view of it being fixed. This allows the self to constantly construct and reconstruct as an identity (Lyotard, 2004).

Before viewing how postmodernism has reconstructed the concept of identity, it is important to first see how the modern has defined identity. This comparison between modern and postmodern concepts of identity can be best viewed as either a Dionysian approach (excess of a desire) or an Appollonian approach (principle of order). The modern view of identity follows that the Appollonian should be a common factor attributing to identity with the Dionysian resulting in alienation of an individual. This contrasts the postmodern view which reveals the Dionysian approach as being the social norm (consumerism) with the Appollonian being nothing more than an almost imaginary ideal which influences identity but does not shape it to the extent that the Dionysian excess does. (Hollinger, 1994)

Hollinger (1994) further expands by describing the modernist approach to identity as an expression of order, paranoia and conformity which led to his opinion that the modernist view on identity led to a repressed or ‘caged’ identity. This argument was furthered by the explanation of postmodernism as a form in which to break the cage by altering people’s perception of the ideoscape and mediascape (Appadurai, 1990) through discourse (Castells, 2008). This discourse would allow the individual to break away from the modernist’s monotonist approach to identity and allow greater flexibility and diversity in the continual construction of one’s identity (Hollinger, 1994).

In this postmodern re-creation of identity one cannot deny the influence of the narrative, Lyotard (2004) expands on this and introduces the concept of the ‘metanarrative’ (which is reinforced by the values of the cultural narrative.)

An example of the ‘metanarrative’ and its influence on identity is told by Sakamoto (2007), who uses the contextual use of images of the stereotypical western women within China to explain how the narratives within advertisements influence the identity of Chinese women (through self, gender, social and cultural identity.) The changes these images of western women impose on Chinese women greatly altered and if anything broke down the previous gender, social and cultural identities formed through the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) (Sakamoto, 2007).

In the example put forward by Sakamoto (2007), if the image of the western woman is seen as the postmodern influence over identity, it becomes easier to see the ability postmodernism has to change identity as well as influence its constant construction through the use of discourse within a narrative.




Appadurai, A. 1990, “Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy,” Theory Culture Society 7: pp.295-310

Castells, M. 2008, “The Global Public Sphere: Global Civil Society, Communication Networks, and Global Governance,” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 616, pp.78-93

Hollinger, R. 1994. “Postmodernism and the Social Sciences, a Thematic Approach.” SAGE publication Inc. America

Lyotard, J. F. 2004. “The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge” in Drolet, M. (ed.), The Postmodern Reader. London: Routledge.

Sakamoto, R. and Allen, M. 2007. “Hating ‘The Korean Wave’’’ Comic Books: A Sign of New Nationalism in Japan? Accessed Date 2010.

Privacy and Facebook – An Essay


This year the founder of FaceBook, Mark Zuckerberg, claimed that privacy is no longer a “social norm”. Daniel Solove argues that the increasing availability of personal information on the internet undermines our ability to control our own reputation.

Consider how the internet has changed the nature of privacy in recent years.

Is the erosion of privacy simply a reflection of changing social values, which we should learn to accept and live with, or is this a dangerous social trend which should be challenged? Continue reading

Journalism Ethics

Question; The Australian Journalists Association Code of Ethics lists 12 ethical rules for journalists. Summarize any 5 of those 12 rules.

  • Do not place unnecessary basis on race, culture, class, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation etc.
  • Do not plagiarize
  • When presenting audio and visual, be sure that they are accurate, any manipulated audio or visual should be discarded
  • Do not allow personal bias to impact the accuracy or fairness of others
  • Do not allow advertising or other commercial considerations to undermine accuracy and fairness


“Cash for Comment”

Question; In 1999 a report on the ABC’s Media Watch sparked what came to be known as the “cash for comment” scandal. What was the cash for comment scandal about?

In the ‘cash for comment’ scandal John Laws and Alan Jones were paid by corporations to speak on the radio and to avid listeners with what was thought to be their personal opinion on matters. But were in fact rephrasing the messages that their sponsors wished them to convey and labeling it as their own opinion, thereby deceiving listeners. This was done without revealing a disclosure informing listeners that the opinions and thoughts being used to sway the public opinion were put into place by corporations.


Children’s Advertising

Question; Restrictions on advertising to children are specified in Children’s Television Standards 2005 (established by ACMA). Briefly summarize any five restrictions on television advertisements aimed at children.

  • Presentation of an objects size, price and functionality must be made clear and not be made ambiguous
  • The contents of an advert are not to be displayed in a misleading fashion
  • If an advert is being shown during the time of a children’s program, a character from the program may not be used to represent/endorse an object in an advert
  • Any disclaimers must be conspicuous so as the child understands it
  • Adverts are not to make an object seem as though it will make an individual better than their peers, or create undue pressure on a child to attain an object so as they will become more popular in a social setting.

Social Comparison Theory

Question; According to Gilbert, Keery and Thompson, one mechanism by which the media may contribute to body image disorders is the social comparison. Explain the basic idea of social comparison theory.

Social comparison is the common practice whereby an individual compares themselves to others so as to self-evaluate.  The media contributes to negative self evaluations by providing the comparison (for both genders, though mainly women) as a Photo-shopped version  of the ‘ideal’, with the product the advert is selling being shown as the only way for an individual to attain a body such as the ‘ideal’ presented to them in the ad.