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Media and Sexuality From Advancing Sexuality Studies: a short course on sexuality theory and research methodologies.

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Presentation on theme: "Media and Sexuality From Advancing Sexuality Studies: a short course on sexuality theory and research methodologies."— Presentation transcript:

1 Media and Sexuality From Advancing Sexuality Studies: a short course on sexuality theory and research methodologies

2 2 Schedule SessionTiming Introduction Pre-reading review work & feedback 5 mins 50 mins Session 1. Cultural studies and textual analysis: some key terms Lecture Screening & discussion. Stuart Hall: Representation and the Media Group work & feedback: textual analysis 140 mins 20 mins 70 mins 50 mins Session 2. The media and HIV in Australia Mini lecture Screening & li8nked activities. Rampant HIV/AIDS and STI texts & wrap-up 135 mins 10 mins 80 mins 45 mins Session 3. The Henson case Defining moral panics Mini lecture Screening:& linked activities. Insight: The Naked Eye 110 mins 20 mins 5 mins 85 mins Conclusion10 mins Total:450 mins (just under 7.5 hours)

3 3 Module aims To: Introduce theories of representation and media consumption as they apply to sexuality Encourage participants to reflect on, and experiment creatively with, their own practices of media consumption and analysis

4 4 Participants will: Develop a basic understanding of theories of media consumption Acquire an increased ability to read, understand and effectively communicate theoretical ideas on media and sexuality Gain greater ability to engage in critical and constructive interactions with peers and workmates, thereby increasing collaborative learning skills

5 5 Pre-reading pairs review OShaughnessy, M. & Stadler, J. (2002) 'Semiology'. Media and Society, 2nd edition. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. McKee, A. (2006) 'What is textual analysis?' Textual Analysis: a beginner's guide. London: Sage. Working in pairs, try to reach agreement on what each article is saying Pay particular attention to defining the concepts of denotation and connotation (20 mins)

6 6 Small group work Focus questions for discussion: (20 mins) –Do McKee's arguments on the nature of reality seem reasonable or unreasonable to you? –Why do you think you have responded in this way? –Do you think your reaction is influenced by your professional or disciplinary outlook; your personal beliefs, or other factors? Volunteer summary of each article (5 mins) Feedback on small group work (5 mins)

7 7 Session 1. Cultural studies and textual analysis: some key terms Lecture

8 8 How can particular media texts be understood? Why do we understand them in particular ways? We need to move beyond the issue of whether texts accurately represent the real world, and consider instead how we use languages and images to make sense of reality

9 9 Culture and media Culture has been used [in the past] to indicate the spread of civilised ideas and beliefs, but is now applied more neutrally to describe the symbols, meanings and practices that can be associated with living within a media-dominated society Nick Stevenson (2002: 227) Understanding Media Cultures Media and cultural studies view culture as a site of political conflict, or as a productive network of power relations (Ellen Rooney 1996: 22)

10 10 Audiences or consumers are not just passive receptacles who are brainwashed by media bias and stereotypes –Active interpreters of the information that is presented to them Audiences can also use commercial or mass-produced texts in such a way that they gain a new meaning in their new context, e.g. reggae

11 11 Media operates on multiple levels Always the possibility of multiple strategies for interpreting and using media Meanings not fixed into texts, not stable –Change according to the time, or location in which they are consumed –Factors such as class, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, political affiliation, health and physical ability can all affect how a consumer or audience makes sense of a media text

12 12 Encoding/decoding (Hall) Sender-message-receiver model –Critiqued by Stuart Hall Supposes that a signal or message is formulated by a sender then is transmitted in a clear and coherent way to a waiting receiver –The receiver could be a blank piece of paper written on by the sender, or a body injected with a message by the sender Otherwise known as the hypodermic model of communication

13 13 Hall: –The message cannot be fixed or controlled by the sender/producer –She or he cannot control all the factors involved in transmission and reception –Distortion of the message is built into the process of communication itself, it is not the result of a breakdown in the process The meanings that audiences make out of images are produced in particular contexts, and they are also consumed in specific contexts


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16 16 Representations do not distort reality – they allow us to make sense of it –Particular groups have their own collective sense-making practices, also known as codes or discourses –Media images are not simply faithful renditions (or distortions) of the real world They are re-presentations of versions or impressions of reality, based on shared assumptions or understandings Encoding: media producers choose to include or exclude certain kinds of words or images in order to shape a meaning that fits a particular world view

17 17 Images may be decoded in three main ways (Hall): 1.Dominant reading Audiences understanding of a media representation is shaped by the dominant assumptions in their culture 2.Negotiated reading Audience selectively accepts parts of the embedded codes, according to their own understandings or experiences 3.Resistant or oppositional reading Audience may reject encoded messages outright, because they conflict with the audiences beliefs or understanding of the world

18 18 Screening Stuart Hall: Representation and the Media (1997) (55 mins) Focus question: –Given that this video is of itself a media representation, how has Hall encoded his own work? –End-of-screening brainstorm (10 mins)

19 19 Textual analysis Group work –Choose magazine images, symbols and/or written text that represent aspects of sexuality or gender through images Discuss: –What would be a denotative (purely descriptive) reading of these? –What would be a connotative reading (referring to codes and conventions)? (20 mins)

20 20 Choose ONE image, read it again and develop a: –Dominant –Negotiated and –Oppositional reading of that image Remember Hall! There is no one fixed meaning (10 mins) Feedback (20 mins)

21 21 Session 2. The media and HIV in Australia

22 22 What is the media? How do media intersect with and reflect attitudes to HIV? How do different audiences read the same media texts? How is public awareness of HIV/AIDS shaped? What role do newspapers, advertising and other media texts play in shaping popular perceptions?

23 23 Screening Rampant: How a City Stopped a Plague (2007) (50 mins) Focus questions: –How has the narrative been shaped? –How is the reality of the Australian response to HIV/AIDS represented by different interviewees? –Do different speakers seem to have different levels of authority or expertise? What is the source of this authority? Small group discussion (15 mins) Feedback (15 mins)

24 24 Sexual health & media Analysis of SH promotion advertising, or media coverage of HIV/AIDS or STIs, from the local context –What is the focus of the material? –What strategies does the piece use? –What is the target audience? –Does the piece succeed in addressing this audience? –How might the effectiveness of this piece be measured? How do you rate its effectiveness? Why ? (15 mins) Feedback (15 mins)

25 25 Reflection on experience: –Anyone involved in developing or delivering SH campaigns? –If so, did they analyse audience, strategies, effectiveness? How? Did they consider oppositional or negotiated readings of the campaigns? If not, might such an analysis have helped improve those campaigns? Give examples where possible. –If no one has been directly involved in campaign development, which campaigns have directly affected them? How were they affected? Positively? Negatively? What dominant reading of sexuality did the campaign deliver? ( 15 mins )

26 26 Session 3. The Henson case

27 27 Defining moral panics Can a moral panic be defined as: a) An overreaction by an individual to unwelcome sexual advances? b) A condition frequently occurring in philosophy students several days before exams on ethics? c) An overreaction by a society to a perceived threat to its values and interests? Discuss (5 mins)

28 28 Answer C is correct. Moral panic is defined as: An overreaction to something - an episode, person or group of persons - that is defined as a threat to societal values and interests. [From: Cohen, S. (1972) Folk Devils and Moral Panics. London: MacGibbon and Kee.]

29 29 Five characteristics of moral panics: 1.Concern 2.Hostility 3.Consensus 4.Disproportionality 5.Volatility [From: Ben-Yehuda N; Goode E (1994). Moral panics: the social construction of deviance. Oxford: Blackwell. pp. 57-65]

30 30 Can you think of any recent moral panics in your society? –What was the concern? –What disproportionate actions arose? –Did interest in the panic disappear quickly? (10 mins)

31 31 May 2008: Photographs by internationally known photographer Bill Henson were seized by Sydney police from an art gallery Held for investigation as to whether or not they were classifiable as child pornography Police action followed a day of media uproar instigated by publication of a newspaper column condemning the work

32 32 Part of growing concerns over the ways children and young people are represented within popular culture Interlinked with laws around young peoples sexuality Hensons work part of the high school curriculum in some states in Australia

33 33 Bill Henson and one of the works that sparked a moral panic Photo published in The Brisbane Times, June 6, 2008 Uncredited.

34 34 Screening Insight: The Naked Eye (2008) (50 mins) Focus questions: –Who speaks? What do they look like? How do they sound? How do you know who they are? –Do some speakers seem to have more authority in the debate than others? What makes you think so? –Did anyone try to redefine the way the debate was being framed? Who, and how did they do it?

35 35 Feedback (10 mins) Discuss: (20 mins) –What purpose does this kind of television program serve? –What are your personal responses to popular media debates around sexuality? –Do you think such debate programs are useful, or not? Why? –Do your personal attitudes & values on sexuality (or media) conflict with your professional responsibilities? Examples?

36 36 Conclusion We have: –Examined who uses media, how, and why –Looked at different ways that media can be used to make sense of sex, sexuality and sexual health –Practised textual analysis as research methodology Media can be used to … –Shape opinions or behaviours –Entertain & distract –Shape identities, or to build communities Need to be critical users, not just consumers

37 37 Module created by: –Dr Katherine Albury, University of New South Wales Short course developed by: –The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia and –The International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Culture and Society (IASSCS) –With funding from The Ford Foundation Available under an Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share Alike licence from Creative Commons

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