BCULST 510

Author Archive

Society and Space – Environment and Planning D

In Uncategorized on January 2, 2012 at 14:46

Members of the Editorial Board of Society and Space – Environment and Planning D. talk about the Occupy Movement

 

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Signs of Protest: Occupy’s Guerilla Semiotics | The Nation

In Uncategorized on December 19, 2011 at 21:21

Signs of Protest: Occupy’s Guerilla Semiotics | The Nation.

Collaborative Questions

In Uncategorized on November 9, 2011 at 11:47

•What problem or issue does your collective work address?

For this project, we will be looking at the discourses of OWS and how it is being defined. Media is the most dominant form of representation of OWS, and we wanted to find out what kinds of discourses were being done at the site, and compare the two. How are they self-identifying, and forming an identity, and how is the media doing this as well? By working within and collaborating as a group with different perspectives, it will be interesting to see how different interpretations will occur. This format will help force us away from a normative interpretation of OWS. As part of the project we will also have to articulate what premises are necessary in order to accept an interpretation as “true;” what kinds of “common-sense” are at play? Working collaboratively, we will be more likely to recognize these tendencies within ourselves and the discourses surrounding OWS.

•How can your collective work intervene in, upend, rewrite, or transform that problem?

Our project is an example of a meaningful intervention; in other words, a way for Cultural studies scholars to interpret current events and to formulate knowledge. We can use our analytic skills to look at how identities are being formed, and the discursive practices that are being positioned within OWS, which is something that is resisting definition. Media have had a hard time distilling it down into a soundbite. Some of the questions that we will examine surround the branding exercise is happening by political parties, media, and OWS itself. Is there a resistance to this? How might we contrast these things? Has the movement become mainstream? How has it changed over time? People are discomforted with a lack of “clear message” within the mainstream. Why?

•What other people, institutions, and organizations would you like to bring into your collaborative project? How will you invite them into your project?

OWS is leaderless, so we cannot invite them in. The question for our collaboration is more: how are we part of the organization, and how can cultural studies workers contribute to the organization. We have invited ourselves into the organization and the space as participants and observers. We are also learning to collaborate among ourselves, as people with different political perspectives. Could we get other perspectives, or link blogs with people? Get opinions from different parts of the movement, not just Seattle? Other cities? Unions?

•Who are the intended audiences for your collaborative work? How are you going to build those audiences?

We are making a blog and the audience, for now, is between our collaborators. At some point we will open the blog up to the public, and try to promote it more. But for now, we would like to concentrate on making it into something that we feel good about sharing with the public. Because of this, then, the project at this time is focused on troubling, finding sites of meaning, and questions. As a long term project, the site could potentially be developed into a place where a wider public, or cultural studies people or OWS can also contribute to this discussion. We are positioned as coming from an academic perspective so we have to acknowledge the power that we have in our interpretation. We hope that the blog can also be a kind of archive or example of a collaborative exercise that could contribute to learning about collaboration.

•Provide an agenda of collaborative work over the next year (and beyond if you are so inclined). How might this project intersect with your work and interests after you complete graduate school?

Over the next quarter and coming year, we will use the blog as a platform for examining how our research skills and methodologies can be useful or can be applied to a current event, and how our methodologies could potentially be useful in interpreting movements, communities or media. We see this activity as useful for our own work because identity formation is happening at OWS and we are all studying identity formations to some extent for our capstone projects. We are all interested in questions such as: what are the truisms/common sense that need to be in place in order for certain things to be true? Our own research projects can tie into our OWS blog project by helping us to understand how we can better examine contested meaning at a specific site. OWS a good example, and a good snapshot and scale for what activist scholars can come up with for a quick analysis of a current event. This is important because the media cycle is so quick, and academics may be asked what they think as public scholars. How can we intervene in the current discourse that is being formed? We hope that by doing this, and using our cultural analysis, we will be more thorough and grounded than journalists can be.

•How does your research and work as a MACS student inform the tactics of your collaboration? How does your cultural studies theory/methods influence your practice?

This project is heavily based on discourse analysis techniques coming from a Foucaultian perspective, yet it is also about hegemony, and who is changing the terms of the debate. Although our analysis for this project is not based on analyzing the political discourse per se, we are informed by the political economic factors surrounding the formation of OWS. A major part of this project could be defined as coming from a communications perspective, as we are looking at how ideas are being communicated, by who, and what this means in terms of power. The media analysis part of our project is coming from this perspective. We see this project as a way to apply what we have learned in MACS to a current event, and to see what happens when we try to bring our critical cultural knowledge outside of the academy.

“Vendetta” mask becomes symbol of Occupy protests – Celebrity Circuit – CBS News

In Uncategorized on November 5, 2011 at 20:35

“Vendetta” mask becomes symbol of Occupy protests – Celebrity Circuit – CBS News.

Remember, remember the fifth of November…I never realized that the mask image was supposed to by Guy Fawkes, but as I was researching images associated with OWS, I finally figured it out. I thought it was a joker-batman-clown image at first and I had no idea where it cam from. It’s fitting that it’s the 5th of Nov today!

Slavoj Zizek: ‘Now the field is open’ – Talk to Al Jazeera – Al Jazeera English

In Uncategorized on November 5, 2011 at 19:37

Slavoj Zizek: ‘Now the field is open’ 

An interview with Zizek on many subjects including OWS, the Arab Spring, the Greek protests, and other discontents. He claims that they are all a similar resistance.

He speaks near the end about how the tea party appropriated the language of working people’s struggles for themselves, but now that OWS and other struggles have entered the scene “times have changed.”

Street Space

In Uncategorized on November 5, 2011 at 19:26

Street space:

(Referring to the IWW struggles of the early 1900’s):

“The streets were the physical means of production for meanings. They were the spaces in which values were produced and contested. The result was a series of protracted and often bloody ‘free speech’ fights in which control over the streets was a physical and ideological battleground for the ability to organize, control, and shape the social reproduction of labor.

What are the physical means for meaning and value production now? How has access to audiences changed? Where are the spaces in which an audience may potentially be found and organized, and who controls access to those spaces? How have ideological and physical struggles over the shape of social reproduction been transformed? There are no simple answers to these questions, but there are important trends worth noting. In the first place, spaces of communication and meaning have more and more moved ‘inside’: inside the radio, television, and internet, inside the mall and shopping center, and inside the movie house. These spaces are more readidly amenable to monopolized control (over the means of production of meaning) than are the streets. They are also spaces , in modern capitalist socity, that are (for the most part) privately owned” (p 86).

References:

Mitchell, D. (2000). Cultural geography: a critical introduction. Blackwell: Malden, MA.

Who defines?

In Uncategorized on November 5, 2011 at 19:23

Who defines?

“As Guy Debord (1994:130) put it in his classic account of the Society of the Spectacle, ‘culture is the general sphere of knowledge, and of representations of lived experience, within a historical society divided into classes; what this amounts to is the power to generalize, existing apart, as an intellectual division of labor and as the intellectual labor of division.’ A second starting point for understanding the production of culture, therefore, is to focus on who possesses this ‘power to generalize’ and  how they use it to advance the ‘intellectual labor of division’- the division of one group from another so as to stabilize and name ‘culture,’ and so as to say about their own or other’s lived experience: ‘this is true.’” (p 72).

“[The culture industry’s] job is to develop the idea of culture so as to normalize or smooth over contradictions between systems of production (which are inherently and grossly unfair) and systems of consumption (which rely on the myth that we all can have it all). One of the jobs of people working in the culture industries is to name and define resistances and strategies to the workings of the political economy, to redefine them as ‘culture’ and hence as an expression of ‘taste’ rather than active resistance” (p 80).

References:

Mitchell, D. (2000). Cultural geography: a critical introduction. Blackwell: Malden, MA.

Culture as a resistance

In Uncategorized on November 5, 2011 at 19:18

Culture as a resistance:

“’Resistance’ can never be individual; it must be organized into an effective force. But neither can dominant cultural production ever be individual and anarchic:  it too must be organized, and it must find a ready audience, an audience ready to define its values, in terms of the values promoted by the cultural production. The question then is one of the conditions under which ‘culture is produced and resistance organized.” (Mitchell, 2000, p 69)

 

References:

Mitchell, D. (2000), Cultural geography: a critical introduction, Blackwell: Malden, MA.

Occupy Research Wiki

In Uncategorized on November 5, 2011 at 18:56

Occupy Research Website

Questions: rough draft, please comment/edit

In Uncategorized on October 29, 2011 at 01:09

•What problem or issue does your collective work address?

Looking at the discourses of how OWS is being defined. Media is the most dominant form of representation of OWS, and we wanted to find out what kinds of discourses were being done at the site, and compare. How are they self-identifing, and forming an identity, and how is the media doing this as well? By working within a group with different perspectives, it will be interesting to see how different interpretations will occur. This is forcing us to not be normative, in a way. We also have to articulate what premises are necessary in order to accept an interpretation as “true.” What kinds of “common-sense” are at play? Working collaboratively, we will be more likely to recognize these tendencies within ourselves and the discourses.

•How can your collective work intervene in, upend, rewrite, or transform that problem?

This is a way for Cultural studies scholars to interpret current events. We can use our analysis to look at how identities are being formed, and the discursive practices that are being positioned within OWS, something that is resisting definition. Media have had a hard time distilling it down into a soundbite. A branding exersize is happening by political parties, media, and OWS itself. Is there a resistance to this? How might we contrast these things? Has the movement become mainstream? How has it changed over time? People are discomforted with a lack of “clear message” within the mainstream. Why?

•What other people, institutions, and organizations would you like to bring into your collaborative project? How will you invite them into your project?

OWS is leaderless, so we cannot invite them in. The question for us, is more how are we part of the organization, and how can cultural studies workers contribute to the organization. We have invited ourselves into the organization and the space, as participants and observers. We are also learning to collaborate among ourselves, as people with different political perspectives. Could we get other perspectives, or link blogs with people? Get opinions from different parts of the movement, not just Seattle? Other cities? Unions?

•Who are the intended audiences for your collaborative work? How are you going to build those audiences?

We are making a blog, and the audience, for now is between our collaborators. For now, the project is focused on troubling, finding sites of meaning, and questions. As a long term project, the site could potentially be developed into a place where a wider public, or cultural studies people or OWS can also contribute to this discussion. We are positioned, however in academia, so we have to acknowedge the power that we have in our interpretation. It can also be a kind of archive of an exercise that could contribute to learning about collaboration.

•Provide an agenda of collaborative work over the next year (and beyond if you are so inclined). How might this project intersect with your work and interests after you complete graduate school?

Examining how our research skills and methodologies can be useful/applied to a current event, and how our methodologies could potentially be useful in interpreting movements or communities or media. Useful for our work because identity formation is happening at OWS, are they a bunch of hippies…etc. What are the truisms/common sense that need to be in place in order for certain things to be true? What needs to be true in order for them to be “loyal Americans” or “”. Our own research projects can tie into it by looking at contested meaning at a specific site. OWS a good example, and a good snapshot scale/ what can we come up with in a quick analysis of a current event. This is important because the media cycle is so quick, and academics may be asked what they think: as public scholars. How can we intervene in the current discourse that is being formed? Trying to be more thourough and grounded than journalists.

•How does your research and work as a MACS student inform the tactics of your collaboration? How does your cultural studies theory/methods influence your practice?

Discourse: Foucault
Hegemonic: about changing the terms of debate (also discursive)
Political Economic
Communications: can we look at how things are being communicated? (hand signals, etc.)
Media analysis

•Provide references and additional resources.