Unit Two, Day 19 - Monday
Class Goal: To begin getting students to think about the relationship between text and culture.
Connection to Course Goals: To highlight the contextual nature of texts and how they respond to particular audiences and cultural contexts.
How did you know what to include and exclude from the response paper? On what basis did you make decisions? (Lead them to issues of how they developed their response.)
Transition to #3: Close this discussion by highlighting how texts must respond to their contexts or else risk miscommunication and/or not being listened to. Emphasize how texts can't be only what the author wants in order to work. Then, explain that our next paper is going to take up this issue of context again, not only in how you write your paper in response to an academic context but also by analyzing the effect of culture on already written texts.
Write-to-learn: Ask students to list all the reasons they watch television, thinking specifically about which shows they like the most and why they might like them more than others.
Board Work: List all these reasons on the board. Try to prompt them to think about reasons for watching t.v. which go beyond "entertainment." For example:
Summary: Summarize discussion by telling students how their list demonstrates that television serves a particular cultural function for its viewers that, while entertaining, usually has an effect beyond entertainment: it appeals to us because it typically reinforces certain aspects of culture we find appealing and/or believe in. In sum, it sends a message and is watched for a reason that can be examined culturally.
In this paper, we'll be looking at three possible ways of analyzing t.v.: reinforcement, resistance, and function. (5 min.)
Reinforcement: assumes that media, like television, appeals to people because it is reinforcing cultural myths and messages of the dominant culture. It is, in a sense, "teaching" us what to value and how to see ourselves in ways the culture deems acceptable. (Example: Brady Bunch and family values)
Resistance: assumes that media, while reinforcing, also has the potential to change culture by offering up alternative visions of what the world can be like, or asking us to think more critically about our own assumptions. (Example: Golden Girls and questioning assumptions about women over 60)
Function: assumes that viewers watch particular kinds of shows because they fulfill a certain need in society, something particular to this moment in history that people are anxious about or a cultural tension. This way of analyzing looks at the content to understand not whatís being reproduced or resisted (i.e. hidden meaning) but why people want this type of show at this moment in time (Example: "real" cop shows as a way of making people feel safer in a time of high crime rates; why cops almost always "get their man" in this supposedly "true and accurate" reproduction)
Warning: it's sometimes harder to analyze a show they, personally, like a great deal because they don't have enough distance.
If time, go to #6. Otherwise, skip to #8
**If you have time, move onto the next two pictures, considering not only the visual effect but the titles as well.