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I know it doesnt sound good but you can just go and steal cars! The Political Uses of Popular Culture By First-Time Voters Martin Scott, John Street and.

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Presentation on theme: "I know it doesnt sound good but you can just go and steal cars! The Political Uses of Popular Culture By First-Time Voters Martin Scott, John Street and."— Presentation transcript:

1 I know it doesnt sound good but you can just go and steal cars! The Political Uses of Popular Culture By First-Time Voters Martin Scott, John Street and Sanna Inthorn University of East Anglia Grant Number: RES

2 Background Popular TV and time-deplacement (Putnam 2000) Political potential of entertainment (van Zoonen 2005; Jones 2005) Distinctions between forms of entertainment and factors that mediate between engagement and entertainment (Hooghe 2002; Besley 2006) Correlations without explanations We need research, says Besley, to better understand what specifically about entertainment content is relevant to civic life (2006: 57-8)

3 ESRC Project From Entertainment to Citizenship? 1.Popular culture both as a source of social and political learning and of pleasure 2.Comparative analysis of different media forms and genres: television, games, music 3.First-time voters 4.3 phases: questionnaire, textual analysis, focus groups and interviews

4 Textual Analysis: Guiding Questions (Buckingham 1999) 1.how does the media text position audiences in relation to the sources of power in society? 2.how does the media text position audiences in relation to particular social groupings? 3.how does the media text enable audiences to conceive of the relations between the personal and the political? 4.how does the media text invite audiences to make sense of the local, national and international arena, and to make connections with their own experiences?

5 Studying the Audience: Guiding Questions (Buckingham 1999) How do fans express a sense of their relationship with sources of power in society? How do fans position their own identities in relation to particular social groupings? How do fans express a sense of the personal and the political when discussing media texts? How do fans make sense of the local, national and international arena, and do they make connections with their own experiences?

6 Relating to sources of power 1.Claiming agency over the text: the media have no effect on me; I know how TV works 2.Distinction between the real and the unreal implications for how audiences see sources of power

7 The Media Has No Effect on Me F: There is this whole argument that violent games encourage little kids to go out and murder people but surely it is up to the parents to know if there kid is in a mental state where they are going to get influenced. M: so it could influence them? F: There has got to be something wrong with them already. C: Exactly yeah, I totally agree with that. To be influenced by computer games you need to have pretty bad mental issues if you are going to go out and stab someone after playing a computer game.

8 Distinguishing the real (world) from the unreal in TV C: I think [Simon Cowell] hes an arrogant a-hole, I think the things he says are cause he knows what people expect him to say, and that is what he gets paid ridiculously for. Its fake. F: The whole thing is so contrived, thats what makes it entertaining cause nothing about it is actually real. And its not about the singing its about who has got the most dead people in their family.

9 Distinguishing between the moral rules that apply in the real and unreal S: I dont know if anyones done it but where you deliberately get people to die in the Sims by removing the fire extinguisher or things like that. Do you ever do that? A: I have done, yeah. B: Yeah, I have done. S: what is the fun of that cause in theory you are not playing the game properly A: Its because you cant do that in real life. B: It goes against reality doesnt it. A: You cant do it in real life cause it would be horrible but you can burn little Sims.

10 Learning from popular culture Despite denying the power of media… J: is that what you like about soaps then? D: When you can relate to them it is like, oh my god, yeah. I totally agree.

11 Learning from popular culture J: Do you think Allan Sugar is fair or right to be like he is? B: Um, yeah. C: Its like, business is harsh so he needs to be, like he swears and that a lot. So I think it is good cause they will learn lessons because that is how business really is. A: I think you need people like him and Simon Cowell, I know it sounds harsh but you have to face reality. If you are not good, you are not good.

12 From pleasure to politics, via the personal Engagement with politics if it is personal: 1.Artists being passionate and real 2.Identity and recognition through popular culture

13 Artists who are passionate and real B: I dont know if it always influences me but I just find it, not comforting but, you are more drawn to musicians who appear passionate about something. It is kind of someone to look up to because they are giving you their view on things when sometimes it is really hard to form your own view on things because youve got so much information coming in. From everywhere.

14 Artists who are passionate and real G: Her first album or second album was all about her dad leaving her. And some people can relate to that and sometimes having someone, not necessarily that you follow, but that have been through something that youve been through, their music, sort of helps you through that.

15 Identity and recognition and popular culture B: If someone was from Norwich and even if I didnt know them, I probably would vote for them [in X Factor] just because it would be great. A: [in agreement] Just because they are from Norwich. M: Would you? Why? B: Its nothing like about pride of Norwich, its just the fact that they are from Norwich. Like everyone was fascinated by that one of Big Brother, what was his name? Craig? Just because he was from Sheringham. C: Oh my god, he came into the cinema and I served him! I was like, oh my God. B: And its just like, he is an extremely normal guy and its just like, television, it makes it a bit more real if you know what I mean because they are from where you are.

16 Concluding thoughts Aim: to explore the extent to which popular entertainment is used to articulate ideas of citizenship We are not measuring media effects but rather how popular culture is used to talk about the real world 1.How it is used to articulate views about the location and use of power 2.About acceptable and unacceptable forms of behaviour 3.About the need to be recognised Difficultly in identifying politics Citizenship as more than just voting, and popular culture as not just entertainment


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