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The Essay

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					Between Gazes
  Camelia Elias
Stuart Hall

       born in Jamaica,
        Kingston, 1932
       studied at Oxford
       professor of sociology
        at the Open
        University, UK
       Race: the Floating
                Main claim

 Mass media are a means by which the
  ‘haves’ of society gain the willing support
  of the ‘have nots’ for the status quo.
 language in use (discourse) determines
  communicative events
    “the event must become a story before it
         can become a communicative event”
                    (Encoding/Decoding, 164)
          “Culturalist” marxism

 Rejects rigid economic determinism
 Social behavior is overdetermined (has
  multiple causes such as class, gender,
 Marxist theorists tend to emphasize the role of
  the mass media in the reproduction of the status
  quo, in contrast to liberal pluralists who
  emphasize the role of the media in promoting
  freedom of speech.
 For Hall et al. the mass media do tend to
  reproduce interpretations which serve the
  interests of the ruling class, but they are also a
  field of ideological struggle
                               (see D. Chandler: “Marxist Media Theory”

 Preponderant influence or domination of
  ‘haves’ over the ‘have nots’
  Not total
  Not based on force
  Not a plot or conspiracy
  Based on widespread acceptance of
   dominant ideology

 Mental frameworks or ‘codes’ widely used
  to understand society
 Mass media (esp. TV) usually encode
  (implicitly assume) the dominant ideology
 the dominant ideology is typically inscribed as the
  preferred reading in a media text, but this is not
  automatically adopted by readers.
    The social situations of readers/viewers/listeners may lead them
     to adopt different stances.
 Dominant readings are produced by those whose social
  situation favors the preferred reading;
    negotiated readings are produced by those who inflect the
     preferred reading to take account of their social position;
    and oppositional readings are produced by those whose social
     position puts them into direct conflict with the preferred reading

                                            (see Hall’s essay: “Encoding/Decoding”
                                      and also D. Chandler: “Marxist Media Theory”
                Decoding options
Three ways to decode media (text + sign) messages

1. operate inside the dominant code (fail to question the
   implicit dominant ideology)
2. apply a negotiable code (a version of the dominant
   ideology that reflects the audience member’s social
3. substitute an oppositional code (critical awareness,
   rejection of the dominant ideology)

  Cultural studies theory promotes oppositional decoding

 “Identity is the narrative, the stories which
  cultures tell themselves about who they
  are and where they came from”

   (S. Hall, “Negotiating Caribbean Identity”).
 “…identity is not only a story, a narrative which we tell
  ourselves about ourselves, it is stories which change
  with historical circumstances. And identity shifts with the
  way in which we think and hear them and experience
  them. Far from only coming from the still small point of
  truth inside us, identities actually come from outside,
  they are the way in which we are recognized and then
  come to step into the place of the recognitions which
  others give us. Without the others there is no self, there
  is no self-recognition”
                           (Negotiating Caribbean Identity, 8).
 The European Encounter with the ‘Other’
        (Americas, Africa, India)
Western              The Other
 Clothed             Naked
 Fashion             Adornment
 Labour              Leisure
 Ethics              Pleasure
 Masculine           Feminine
 Reason              Emotion
 Culture             Nature
             Key points from Hall’s:
           “The West and the Rest” in
          Formations of Modernity, 1992
 ‘West’ and ‘non-West’ are concepts with
  histories; they are not natural kinds
 The idea of the ‘West’ emerged because of
  contact with ‘non-West’; therefore these ideas
  also have geographies related to real places
 ‘West’ and ‘non-West’ are ideas that are part of
 These geohistorical discourses inform our
  everyday thinking today
                    “Listen Mr Oxford don”
Me not no Oxford don
me a simple immigrant
from Clapham Common
I didn't graduate
I immigrate                      Dem accuse me of assault
                                 on de Oxford dictionary/
But listen Mr Oxford don         imagin a concise peaceful man like me/
I'm a man on de run              dem want me serve time
and a man on de run              for inciting rhyme to riot
is a dangerous one               but I tekking it quiet
                                 down here in Clapham Common
I ent have no gun
I ent have no knife              I'm not a violent man Mr Oxford don
but mugging de Queen's English   I only armed wit mih human breath
is the story of my life          but human breath
                                 is a dangerous weapon
I dont need no axe
to split/ up yu syntax           So mek dem send one big word after me
I dont need no hammer            I ent serving no jail sentence
to mash up yu grammar            I slashing suffix in self-defence
                                 I bashing future wit present tense
I warning you Mr Oxford don      and if necessary
I'm a wanted man                 I making de Queen's English accessory/to my offence
and a wanted man
is a dangerous one
                                                                                John Agard
               cultural identity

 collective
  shared history among individuals affiliated by
   race or ethnicity is stable or fixed
 unstable, metamorphic, contradictory
  marked by multiple points of similarity and
  strongest in its hybrid mode
East is East

 The signifying system through which a
  social order is:
 English Literature and Culture course

 insight into the diversity of ‘text and sign’
 texts (novels, plays, poetry) mediated by visual
  representations that enhance the way text + sign
  as a concept circulates by way of diverse
 text + sign dimension is best uncovered in a
  cultural text studies approach
 Culture is read as a text  culture produces texts
 Texts are read as culture  texts manifest culture

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