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57 Cards in this Set

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choices/ actions dependent upon meaning
armstrong used drugs. should he be kicked out of the tournament? this is a choice made dependent on what "drug use" means to you. bad= drop him out of the tourney and vice versa.
sites of struggle
texts are sites of struggle. for example, music. Jay Zs songs.. we struggle over the fact that kids find fun, cool, dancing meaning within the music while parents see violent, dangerous meaning within the music.

making one artist into one kind of text or another is a site of struggle.
meaning detective
critics are meaning detectives. their role is to explain what texts mean. the best have the RANGES of meaning and why certain texts are SITES of struggle.
characteristics of critical studies:
1. critical in attitude or method
2. concerned with power
3. interventionist

scholars study the way in which experiences of popular culture influence people. different approaches but as a group they are a loosely knit school of thought.
critical character
refers to attitude and method
critical studies is an attitude : if you are being critical you are finding fault with something. refuse to take things at face value. things are more than they seem.

EX: theres something more going on behind the real housewives of orange county
critical studies is a method: a way of asking certain kinds of questions about what is being studied.
method questions are about:
meaning, *complexity and evaluation.
evaluation meaning:
qualitative or quantitative methods
the difference between qualitative or quantitative.
qualitative meaning questions about the bigger picture, the ethics, the idea, the meaning.

quantitative: questions about a survey or the numbers as a result of something.
critics role is important because
1. meanings is compex
2. people might not be able to explain meanings
3. meaning is subtle- beyond awareness
critics role is important because people might not be able to explain meanings
some meanings may be nonverbal, intuitive so it is hard to put it into words which is why critics are important.
critics role is important because meanings is subtle/ beyond awareness
many people are not even aware that they are being influenced by certain kinds of texts.
the critics role is important because meaning is complex.
texts almost always have more to say than what most people think which is why critics are important.
critical studies are more qualitative because...
it is concerned with qualities more than quantities. it is concerned with meanings.
concern over power
1. power is maintained in other less forceful ways.
- architecture and classroom layouts for public schools, behavior at sports events.
individuals do things that _____ or ______ them
empower or disempower
critical interventionism
critics do more than just describe and interpret.
- getting involved in problems in order to change the world for the better.
- any time you show people a different way of doing things.. you have changed their lives. (interventionist)
- give people options for experiencing their lives.
text is
a set of signs that work together to influence people.
two suggestions for finding a text
look for set of signs that are taken together as created an interrelated set of meanings.
1. look at your own experiences.. have you looked at a magazine recently.. did it bring up other emotions that told you there was something more going on besides the physical object?
2. theory. explains how people make sense of what they do and how they make sense of their experiences. theories are usually a general statement, not specific.
critical theory vs. critical study
critical theory is an abstract statement about how two people construct meaningful experiences
critical study: an illustration or modeling of that statement (specific)
discrete text is one with
diffuse: is one that
boundaries and space
- with a perimeter or boundary that is not so clear and is mixed up with other texts.
the first day of school could be a _____ text

where a wedding could be a ____ text
diffuse (tuition, new friends and a bunch of other stuff)

discrete ( actual ceremony and reception after )
some meanings are widely held.. aka: ____
some meanings are only held by a few people aka: _____
broad: a large group of people thought that lord of the rings showed the world conflicts

narrow: for some native americans, the small group thought that the team mascot names (seminoles) were racial insults
original/ new
referring to contexts.

when people first heard lincolns gettysburg speech in the context of it all. The textbook will always be original, whenever people pick it up.

- new: take gettysburg address and put it in a new movie.. its a new context.
reactive/ proactive:
reactive: how they react to a context. people tried to assign negative meanings to Bushs reactions to 9/11.

proactive: ways in which things create their own contexts
cooking gadgets, hot plates and other things are not needed but they create a context in which they are needed, proactively.
a debate creates
reactive and proactive CYCLES in texts
one text reference makes use of or includes part or all of another text. - if a new element has a hippie piece
-if a new song has a hook from an old song
strategies for getting beneath the surface of the text
choices that critic can make in thinking about critiquing the text
- direct and implied tactics
direct tactics
- straightforward request trying to get you to believe or act a certain way
- order the steak, the lobster isn't fresh
(explore the direct tactics first, then the implied)
implied strategies:
they can examine the signs and the relationships between them.

-stealing isnt such a bad thing, people dont catch stealers often, really smart people could get away with it.
- if we just look at direct tactics (direct statements) we may miss that the friend saying this may actually be looking to steal money. depends on the context too tho... does he usually talk about these things?

ASSOCIATION:what goes with what?
IMPLICATION: what leads to what?
CONFLICT/ ABSENCE: what is against what?
what goes with what?: shoe with a celebrity
what leads to what?
1. keystone signs: assumes centrality. the one brick in the archway that holds the whole archway up. take away this one element, the whole thing loses its meaning. many of the roads of that text lead to that "sign". Bart in the simpsons.
2. transformations: the standing in of one sign for another. can be detected by the iconic or indexical or symbolic meanings of signs. in Matrix.. a huge gun was used instead of (standing in) a realistic real one.. robots in certain movies stand for conformity or giving the corporations too much power.
CONFLICT or absence
what is against what?
- how does the text keep certain signs apart?
1. omit certain signs: something that should be there is not.
2. we see signs in conflict: we see pairings of concepts in opposition to each other.
3. may put signs together that are not normally found together. the match up startles us

- major absence on tv is money. people dont pay the bill
- terrrists (middle easterners) always against the americans
conflicts show how world order is structured
- wealthy politicians show up at fairs in jeans and a flannel shirt to fairs to eat fried food. this unexpectedness becomes noteworthy.
subject position
texts ask their readers to be certain kinds of subjects. take on a certain role or character to understand the text. power that a text has over you is the type of subjects it asks you to become. some texts bring up the subject of male dominance.. others or femininity.
ways that texts influence the social and political world:
1 metonymies
2 empowerment/ disempowerment
3. judgment
more population and technology means that public issues may be REDUCED to signs and artifacts of popular culture. Sarah Palin meonymized into family person, down syndome child, moose hunting person. urban issues metonymized into small news stories. only in reduced form can people participate in the issue.
empowerment/ disempowerment:
mainly befall large groups versus individuals.

- clinton reduced to her wardrobe (metonymy) which then disempowered her.
it is always in critiques. by suggesting that a text means something, that is a judgment. you cant avoid it. it must be supported with reasons and good evidence.
culture centered criticism
composed of thoughts values feelings. not only does culture have artifacts but WAYS Of understanding artifacts. good way of looking at different cultures.

during world war two the us made areas to stay and brought things the native people had never seen before. when the us left, religions formed around the goods. the goods now had meanings.
ethnocentric criticism
practice of looking at the artifacts of other cultures and judging them only from the perspective of ones own culture. major tool of racism and imperialism.
artifacts clearly from african culture (rap, black church, jazz, rhythm, blues) cannot be understood from a european perspective.
white privilege
see black, asian latino cultures as weird because they are not eurocentric. in indiana jones, white people can go wherever they want to and get along with the natives.
marxist criticism
concerned with ideology, class and distribution of power in society.
MATERIALISM: ideas rules laws, customs, grows from material conditions. who should govern this, who should get what or have access to what.
MATERIALISM is a CONTRAST to IDEALISM: a way of thinking that argues that the world is the way it is because of abstract ideas and concepts. (materialism says its because of real concrete observable ideas.
exactly what i think!

*materialism vs idealism
idealism: people have a free choice to make decisions for the good of the people

materialism: people have a free choice to make decisions for themselves, as an individual, within the current political system.
superstructure: said to be determined by the economic base (schools, culture, church, politics, etc.)

several material forces working together = created ideology

everyday experiences and practices argue ideas, objects and customs. advertisements shown reflect who we have given power to and it reflects the thoughts of our society.
economic metaphors
the way the economy works is similar to how the rest of culture works.
marxists often see meanings as if they are commodities and we buy/ sell or trade them. in popular culture.. artifacts are bought and sold with a dollar value.

for example, earrings. you sell them for 10 dollars, that is the community reflecting its significance.. but you also trade meaning with a guy who buys an earring because now he is a little more different.
preferred readings
the practice of readings texts as a sort of material experience with ideological consequences.

a reading that is the most obvious one. the one that seems to be common sense.

we assume that an armed robber is a poor drug addict because the police are always "right" this is where we see their power.
oppositional readings
readings that are different or opposed to the preferred meanings

- INFLECTION: bending of the meaning in order to suit ones own needs. the armed robbery is now seen from the perspective of a firearms enthusiast as a reason to have firearms.

SUBVERSION: reversal, an active undermining or rejection of the preferred meanings.

within the robbery story, one may assume that the police officer used too much force
subject position
subversive, negotiated, or oppositional subject positions.

the role you take on when you become a football fan.. you have to dress a certain way, talk, move a certain way when you walk into a stadium.

wizard of oz is looking at the role takers as good citizens that would rather return to the worklife in kansas versus home.
psychoanalysis began
as a method for analyzing and treating mental illness. founded by freud. all artifacts of culture has a significance behind it.. its not just the artifact itself.
we have a desire for wholeness. the most powerful signs are those that make us feel like we can return to that original state of being a whole complete person a state we knew ourselves to be before we knew we were separate beings. you can complete yourself as [pick an identity] if you buy [these shoes, product]. i'll be more [artsy] if i buy that.
repression of desires
[when babies are hungry.. they dont stop crying. they shit when they want to, etc.
pleasure principle: infants live for gratification of their desires]

repression = below
the child learns there are times and places to be fed. child learns the reality principle that the world will disapprove of certain actions. so the child represses some of their actions.
the mental equipment that everyone has- is a product of desires and the way that they are repressed. who we are, what we value is based a lot on how others tell us what we can and cannot do but also by our powerful desires to do think and feel those things.
desire for gratification gets put in a repressed state called unconscious. unconscious keeps trying to make its desire for gratification felt to awareness and action. it exercises a lot on us. (eating disorders and binging... listening to your body. love.. intuition)
cultural repression of desire
some cultures may disapprove of some desires more than others and the way that infants are brought up to repress certain desires will influence them. americans are highly competitive and pragmatic (logical, hardheaded)

would explain why aggressive, assertive games as grandtheft auto is so popular.

tokyo drift appeals to the repressed desires to rebel against authority