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Task 1

In Identity and Difference (1997), Woodward begins by speaking about identity and what it

means. She talks of identity as being problematic' in the media and discusses the crisis of

identity', where previous constructs of what identity is are challenged. The concept of the

nuclear family, males being the primary breadwinner; the belief that women should remain at

home.

It is that modern-day identities are influenced by some different sources within the world,

including nationality, ethnic background, class, and sexuality. (Woodward, 1997 p.1) The

issue of conflicting identities is raised, which can be construed to suggest that it is not

necessarily negative and that it is fundamental to providing a link between ourselves and the

society in which we reside. Woodward identifies that identity is often defined by differences,

more often than similarities. She notes that they are often opposites, also known as binary

opposites, a term coined by Levi Strauss, such as; gay/straight; black/white; man/woman.

Identity is one of the five areas of the Circuit of Culture. It is highlighted that identities are

produced, consumed and regulated within the culture, creating meanings through

representation about positions which we may adopt. A cultural study on the Walkman was

carried out by du Gay et al. (1997), the argument proposed was that to gain a full

understanding, it is necessary to constituent parts of the circuit; representation; identity;

production; consumption; and regulation. (Woodward, 1997 p.1)

Chapter 1 focuses on the contemporary idea of identity crises, such as the LGBT resistance to

traditional representations of sexuality. Leading on from this the idea that gay identity is
biologically or genetically developed is argued in Chapter 4, against the viewpoint that it is

entirely a social construct

The final chapter talks of essentialism vs. non-essentialism, the idea that there is a set of

attributes which are necessary to a persons identity or function. He also draws upon the

concept of diaspora (the existence of Jews outside of Israel). Alongside this, he focuses on

one of the most important arguments in the book, the need to understand and explore both

difference and similarity within identity, as the latter is more often than not forgotten.

Task 2

The concept of representation is discussed as having a new and important place in the study

of culture (Hall, 1997). Stuart Hall tackles the question of what does representation have to

do with culture, coming to the conclusion that representation is an essential part of the

process, and involves the use of language, signs and images which stand for or represent

things.

Hall identifies three different areas of representation, known as the reflective, intentional, and

constructionist approaches. The first being where language reflects a meaning which already

exists; the second being where the language expresses what the producer wants to say (their

personally intended purpose; and the latter being the meaning constructed in and through

language.

The semiotic approach, devised by linguist Ferdinand de Saussure profoundly influenced the

reflective approach. The two components are the signifier, the image or object; and the

signified, what the image or object represents. An example of this would be the Crucifix,
without prior knowledge of the signified, we would just see a cross, but we are aware that it

links to Christianity.

The passage discusses representation thoroughly, and how our knowledge of language can

help to create representations. In the chapter, representation is defined as the production of

the meaning of the concepts in our minds through language (Hall, 1997, p.17)

With reference to my video (Sky News, 2016), I believe the reflective approach is relevant to

my video. The venue, Fabric was shut down due to deaths related to drugs. As UK citizens,

some of the negative connotations we associate with nightclubs are criminal behaviour,

drunken violence and occasionally drugs. However, the aim of this text is to inform people

that it is not the nightclub that is the issue, it is the underlying war on drugs; and that the

nightclubs are an innocent victim in the war. People viewing this media text may then create

a misconstrued image of the people interviewed who are supporting the club and see them as

people who are supportive of disorderly and deviant behaviour.

However, I also believe that the text has been constructed using the intentional theory, also. I

think that the creator of the text has tried to create a representation where people are

supportive of the nightclub, and is seeking to raise awareness of the cause of drug-related

deaths which lies within the war on drugs, and not the venues where the deaths are taking

place. This frames the text in such a way that you see the owners of the nightclub to be seen

as victims, and the drug users to be criminals.

Task 3
In du Gays book (1997), he raises the question of what production, industry and economics

have to do with culture, and ponders the connection between the different elements. He

begins by establishing a link between the terms economy and culture. The argument he

poses is that we think of business and culture as mutually incompatible (1997, p.1) as

business focuses on profit and instrumentalism (where an activity is used solely to solve a

problem). On the contrary, culture has links to certain values such as art, authenticity and

truth none of which would typically be used within the business world as they are not often

seen as money-making values. Du Gay goes on to argue that if these two realms, as such were

to cross boundaries, then the credibility and concept of culture would be demeaned.

In the modern day, these two categories have fused to form a hybrid, where economic

processes are becoming intertwined with cultural phenomena. Businesses are creating

organisational cultures because they have seen the positives that they can harvest, such as

meanings, norms and values leading to economic successes.

Du Gay also establishes the modern day link between the fusion of the two concepts, relating

it to modern day media. He argues that any text we consume nowadays whether it be film,

radio or television is an amalgamation of the economy and culture. Hall states that culture

permeates all of society (Hall, S. 1997, p.3). This then leads on to the definition of cultural

economy; where even the economic domain is saturated with culture; suggesting that culture

is a core part of our everyday lives, and also a core part of the economic sphere.

To further support this argument, du Gay substantiates it through the example of the media

oligopoly that exists in the current day; Sony, Time-Warner, Bertelsmann, Disney, and News

Corporation. He identifies that these companies have become the most powerful economic
actors, (du Gay, P. 1997, p.5) and that culture is a global business. In a nutshell, the cultural

economy helps the economics of the world as the cultural aspect can contribute to conveying

representation and meaning through language choices. Paul du Gay uses citations from Stuart

Hall and real life examples throughout his writing to add substance to his argument regarding

the cultural economy which appends reliability through the use of evidence, which gives the

impression that he is trustworthy to the consumer of the text.

Task 4

As suggested in the introduction, the cultural circuit is not intended to suggest that

consumption is determined by production (Mackay, H. 1997). However, Mackay does notice

the links between the various components or stages of the circuit. He also employs a proper

use of signposting here, connecting the two different concepts through the utilisation of the

signpost, on the contrary' which works by allowing the flipside of the argument to follow on

naturally. Mackay also brings other accounts into his writing and uses their findings to create

a foundation on which he can structure his opposing argument. An example of this is when he

talks about du Gay's findings regarding cultural production (du Gay, 1997). He then signposts

this with although, allowing him to state his argument that links are continually made

between production and culture; no links are made regarding consumption and culture. He

states that in du Gay's theory, there is an implied consumer however Mackay wants to focus

on the active consumer and the powers they have.

The idea of consumption by definition is constructed as a negative one, defined in the

dictionary using terms such as, using up, destruction, and waste. With the introduction of

capitalism, the word consumer became applied in an economic sense, as the direct opposite of

producer. (Williams, R. 1988)


Mackay notes the change in the definition of consumption through the use of signposting

effectively. He begins by reiterating the utilitarian approach (waste, using up), then uses the

word contrasts' to state his counterargument; recent uses of the term consumption in cultural

studies now have greater positivity in regards to their connotations. In the modern day,

consumption is seen as an active process and often celebrated as pleasure' (Mackay, H.

1997).

Throughout the rest of the text, Mackay uses several other studies and theories in arguing that

goods and products are used to help establish an identity for the consumer. Veblen says goods

are used as symbolic markers of social status, used to impress others (1989/1899). Mackay

then uses more recently, Bourdieu as a signpost to bring in evidence which supports this

ideology further which helps add to the reliability and validity of the point that Mackay is

trying to make.

This points in this text link to my poster as although my poster does not convey the idea of an

active audience, it conveys the idea of a passive audience, relating to the hypodermic needle

theory, where the audience is seen as being influenced by the media and having no control

over their consumption.

In conclusion, I believe that Hugh Mackay uses signposting very effectively to both provide

substance for his arguments, but also to show the counter side to his arguments which help to

provide a critique of his findings.

Task 5
Thompson identifies regulation as being one of the most controversial topics in modern

societies (1997). With the introduction of capitalism and privatisation, Britain had to go

through a process of deregulation while also maintaining a form of regulation through the use

of regulatory bodies.

Nation-states also tried to regulate the media that was broadcast, with Britain for example

banning the broadcasting of pornographic programmes, fearing that it could harm citizens'.

Minority groups within the media often seek to change the way that they are represented. An

example of this that Thompson identifies is feminists, and how they have tried to prevent

newspapers, such as the Sun from being allowed to display provocative images of women

which can be seen as degrading.

In relation to the case study regarding Section 28 (Gillan, A. 2003), an act discriminating

against the LGBT society, regulation can cause heated debates and create conflict within

society. Thompson argued that regulation does not mechanically reproduce the status quo'.

(1997, p.3) Therefore suggesting regulating certain things in society will not always end in

peace' and maintenance of the status quo'. Although not a direct link to Section 28, in

chapter 2 Robert Bocock talks of controversies in changes of regulation, regarding the

sympathetic portrayal of gay and lesbian relationships and lifestyles. (Thompson, H. 1997,

p.4) Thompson also talks about the key battleground of regulation being sexuality.

The most recent hurdle in regulation is the advent of satellite broadcasting, and more recently

online media platforms. As these are both international mediums, it would mean that

international regulation would be necessary to control content.


In regards to the representation of gay and lesbian lifestyles within the media, regulations

appeared to have relaxed in comparison to when Thompsons book was published, showing

that audiences have high levels of power and can influence their consumption based on their

preferences.
References

Woodward, K. and The Open University, 1997. Identity and Difference (Introduction)

[online]. London: Sage.

Du Gay, P., Hall, S., Janes, L., MacKay, H. and Negus, K., 1997. Doing Cultural Studies: the

story of the Sony Walkman. London: Sage/The Open University.

Hall, S. and The Open University, 1997. Representation; cultural representations and

signifying practices (The Work of Representation) [online]. London: Sage.

Sky News, 2016. Iconic London Nightclub Fabric To Close [video, online]. YouTube,

London. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6P8tqdB9qw [Accessed 2

October 2016].

Du Gay, P. and The Open University, 1997. Production of Cultures/Cultures of Production

[online]. London: Sage.

Mackay, H. and The Open University. Culture, Media and Identities Course Team, 1997.

Consumption and everyday life (Introduction) [online]. London: Sage/The Open University.

Veblen, T., 1989. The Theory of the Leisure Class. New York: Macmillan (first published

1899).

Bourdieu, P., 1984. Distinction. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.


Thompson, K. and The Open University. Culture, Media and Identities Course Team, 1997.

Media and Cultural Regulation (Introduction) [online]. London: Sage.

Gillan, A., 2003. Section 28 gone ... but not forgotten. The Guardian [online], 17 November

2003. Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2003/nov/17/uk.gayrights

[Accessed 26 October 2016].