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Discussion: Week 7

Discussion – Grant Reading

• What does Grant mean by ‘good’ or ‘docile’ students/subjects?

I believe that Grant refers to students who are competitive, independent and individual who are able rely on themselves to get through the process of studying as ‘good’ students. Grant refers to Michael Foucault for her argument in that students are made subjects by the very process of studying. That the university rituals and the culture ensures that in an Enlightened point of view a ‘docile’ student is one who’s mind is influenced to think a certain way, which is by all accounts the right way – the institution’s way.

Foucault on the other hand purports that students are individuals who have their own “identity by a conscience or self knowledge” (Grant 1997, 104). And whom Grant admits university should support rather than dominate, and suggests that “tutors can work with students… [instead of] simply helping them adapt uncritically to the demands of the institution” (1997, 113).

• How do students discipline themselves?

Students more often than not, unknowingly discipline themselves by attaching themselves to the university culture. This culture according to Grant consists of “autonomy and individualism” (1997, 110) and so students feel completely responsible for their studies, grades and attendance. For example, it is obvious to me that if I want to perform well I need to attend tutorials and lectures; I need to study for my exams, and it is in my best interest to listen and gather information from my tutors, who are in a “power relation” (Grant 1997, 105) with me and therefore have the knowledge I need.

Doing all of these things me make a good student, but it also makes me a subject, incapable of challenging or resisting (1997, 112). Grant relies on a Foucauldian argument of normalising the accidental outcomes of the teaching process has on students, and suggest institutions take steps to avoid subjecting their students in future.

Discussion – Lucy and Mickler Reading

What do you think the central point of this reading is?

How does it relate to the idea of a university culture?

Who agrees/disagrees with Bolt’s assessment and why?

(Response to other post) I was thinking the same thing. Poor Andrew Bolt. I fear that there are not many people that like him.

I agree with you and Lucy and Mickler that Bolt got it wrong. What I mean is that certain disciplines have their own discourse and their own jargon. Clearly the audience would know what Professor Frow is talking about, especially if they are his peers or similar.

Would it not be the same if a medical doctor was speaking to his or her peers? Or even a mechanic explaining how to fix a car? There are terms people outside their area of expertise that they simply would not understand. That’s where journalist come in; to decipher for us laymen…

Discussion – Kolb Reading

What are your thoughts on the Kolb reading?

How does this relate to the topic of university culture?

I may need Bolt to translate this reading! Kolb’s “Standard English” (Bizzell1986, 294) makes it a little hard to comprehend his arguments and the fact that the text is divided into two sections with the middle missing, makes it a difficult read. Nevertheless, my wish is that one day I may write as well as Kolb.

Kolb purports that “although human beings are the instruments of culture in their specialised adaption, they are creators of culture through integrative fulfilment” (citing Schiller 1826, 251). Kolb’s experiential learning theory, I think conceptualises what Dr Silburn’s lecture describes as interdisciplinary values that are one of Murdoch University’s ideologies. Kolb explains that “at present, higher education encourages early specialisation, which necessarily accentuates particular interests and skills” (1981, 251). The author’s argument, I believe, is to incorporate study programs (a new culture) that aid learning now and in the future, another value shared in the Murdoch Mission Statement.

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Posted by on 01/09/2013 in SSK12



Discussion Week 6

Avruch Reading

• What is your understanding of the term ‘culture’?

 I believe culture is like a community, where everyone shares their beliefs and are of the same mindset; one that keeps changing as the individuals change.

• In the Avruch reading, what’s the difference between the two meanings of ‘culture’ he gives, and what meaning of ‘culture’ is he using?

 I wanted to stipulate that Avruch has two meanings of culture by looking at the content under “Inadequate Ideas of Culture” on page 14,

culture that is homogenous culture is different and complex
culture is a thing culture is a process
culture is uniformly distributed among members of a group anyone acting differently is not the norm
an individual possesses but a single culture a person can belong to many groups therefore belonging to many cultures
culture is custom culture is dynamic and constantly changing
culture is timeless culture is dynamic

The meaning of culture that the author uses then is that culture is different, complex, dynamic and constantly changing. It belongs to a group as well as the individual and that it is both passed on and learned from different areas.

Discussion – Topics Six and Seven: Understanding University Culture

1. Think about your own world view in terms of the graduate attributes that Murdoch university considers are important for students to develop (Murdoch’s world view or the ‘Murdoch ethos’).

I have grown up valuing education and good communication skills, so in this sense, what Murdoch considers important, I do as well. My background is not typically white Australian, rather, I consider myself a Latino Aussie, so being aware of different cultures as well as being socially interactive is also a familiar theme. This I believe keeps me aware of what is going on the world as well.

Being a Christian, I have strong ethics and morals. I truly believe everyone deserves social justice – a fair go. I guess what I am currently struggling with is the critical thinking aspect, I am still trying to come to terms with problematising everything and not accepting information at face value.

2. What is the ‘Murdoch ethos’?

I think this refers to the Murdoch ideology of learning and rituals at this university. In part, I think it is the expectations of students to act a certain way, such as the way they participate; think; read and write; the research they conduct and how it is applied to better their chosen discipline.

I’d also like you to consider the following questions

• Explain how university can be considered a culture?

 According to the Silburn lecture, “Each culture has a set of beliefs, values, practices, rituals, languages and artefacts (or outputs) that identify and typifies that particular culture.” (2007). If we apply this quote to university, then it makes sense that a university culture has all the aspects mentioned. Indeed university culture has many practices such as tutorials and lectures which help students study for their assessments. As mentioned in the lectures, two examples of rituals found in this culture are orientation and graduation.

• What are the differences between disciplinary cultures?

Within a culture, the language or terminology used can be different. One example is the way an essay is referenced. This unit uses Chicago Style, however, I have also learned how to use APA style in another unit.
• What are the cultural clashes experienced by some students?

I would imagine that language can be a barrier faced by some students, particularly those attending from overseas. Another struggle could be that while on campus students might be inadvertently be peer pressured to socialise when in fact they might want to study.


Posted by on 01/04/2013 in SSK12



2.3 Entertaining the world: using media across cultural boundaries

1.    Summarise the main points from the readings

Pop cosmospolitanism: Mapping cultural flows in an age of media convergence.

It is the year 2006 and young people of America are seeking to embrace Asian culture through entertainment media such TV, film and comic books. These young people are referred as “pop cosmopolitans” by Jenkins and in this reading he explains why. What is a pop cosmopolitan? It is “someone whose embrace of global popular media represents an escape route of the parochialism of [their] local community.” (Jenkins, 2006, 152).

It is noted that America has a lot of sway in entertainment media, and much of its content is not modified when it reaches other countries. For example Disney is viewed as distinctly American or western. However, Asian pop culture is growing in status even after being westernised to be more accessible to the American market. So much so, that it is difficult to distinguish who dominates who. Jenkins claims that American children are “more familiar with the characters of Pokemon than they are with those from the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen”. (Jenkins, 2006, 157).

Jenkins explains that major companies push to have their content reach as many audiences as possible, including international audiences, this content in turn is viewed by people seeking something new and different to their everyday lives, many of whom are in different parts of the world, this whole process becomes pop cosmopolitanism. The very people who wish to learn about other cultures, who wish to see something outside their normal scope are the target audience of content released today.

By content, I mean media in the form of Japanese Anime; Bollywood film and the music style called Bhangra and Hong Kong Action films, and with broadband increasing in speed and access, comes a wider range in media being distributed directly to many people’s home without “having to pass through US gatekeepers or rely on multinational distributors.” (Jenkins, 2006, 157).

“If you can’t beat them, join them” has become the mentality of the American entertainment industry, often casting Asian talent as well as remaking successful franchises from other countries such as Japanese horror films The Ring, The Grudge and Dark Water. Anime is being distributed in three ways, comics, film and TV series, and toys; all linked to each other for maximum effect. Even though the Japanese style is often marketed to particular group, or westernised to suit a broader American audience, Jenkins claims that “this is starting to break down as Americans develop a preference for the qualities they associate with Japanese culture.” (Jenkins, 2006, 160).

As well as Japanese pop culture, pop cosmopolitans have become fascinated with Indian fashion, music (Bhangra) and cinema. “The United States and Britain now account for 55% of international Bollywood ticket sales.” (Jenkins, 2006,163). A few examples Jenkins gives, are Madonna and her use of henna and Indian religious iconography in her “Ray of Light” tour, as well as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Bombay Dreams, the onstage musical with an all-Indian cast and music by A R Rahman.

An excellent point and one that I can relate to is the The Matrix Franchise that Jenkins states “is perhaps the most successful and visible example of this absorption of Japanese pop culture influences into the American mainstream.” (Jenkins, 2006,168). The franchise consists of the same distribution concept the Japanese media uses, tying in the movies, with anime, video games and comics. As a cosmopolitan and fan of the Wachowskis, I have come across this content by trying to escape my everyday life and therefore taking part in this culture. I have seen the films, bought the anime and played the games. I’ve had a taste of Japanese culture and feel enriched by the experience.

Although there is no guarantee that pop cosmopolitanism will solve the world’s problems, by people becoming more tolerant of others through getting to know their cultures from afar, there is till a fine line between a superficial admiration and dedicated knowledge of the other cultures. Pop cosmopolitans border on the selfish. They take little bits from here and tidbits from there to make something different for themselves, something they can relate to. Having said that, Jenkins explains that “pop cosmopolitanism is generating its own intelligentsia, its own critics, historians, translators and educators.” (Jenkins, 2006 ,170). So the debate is not between pop culture and a more authentic folk culture, but a higher understanding of what we already know and implementing the desire to continue learning about other cultures through the means available to us right now.

Reference: Jenkins, H (2006). Pop cosmospolitanism: Mapping cultural flows in an age of media convergence. In H. Jenkins, Fans, bloggers and gamers: exploring participatory culture (pp 152-172). New York: New York University Press.

Indigenous, ethnic and cultural articulations of new media.

In Ramesh Srinivasan’s article he explains how ethnic and indigenous communities make use of ‘new media’ to further their causes. He explains that although technology today is causing a ‘digital devide’, by “Apply[ing] the notion of ownership”  and creating “ethnic biases” (Srinivasan, 2006, 497) it is also a means to reconnect people as seen in Tribal PEACE, but more on that later.

While Jenkins forms an optimistic point of view of the way people today use technology to take part in something new and exotic, Srinivasan points out that this technology is also rendering traditional society and communities obsolete. He explains that public places such as bowling alleys are shutting down due to lack of demand. A key point is made when Paul Virilio is cited: “But now, globalisation and virtualisation are inaugurating a global time that prefigures a new form of tyranny.” (Virilio, 1995, cited in Srivinasan, 2006, 498) People are spending more time online building societies in cyberspace rather than ‘real life’.

He adds further that technology is seen as something that has been forced upon the public “rather than a tool that can be used to achieve locally and culturally specific visions.” (Srinivasan, 2006, 499). However, with education and new media can be seen as an opportunity and not an obligation.

Srinivasan goes on to illustrate his point by using Fay Ginsburg’s example of the Inuit People of the Arctic; Terrence Turner’s work with the Kayapo people of central Brazil as well as Eric Michaels’s work on the Warlpiri Aborigines of Western Central Australia. All have used new media to convey their stories, their voice and political views to their advantage. The use of broadcasting in this new form has allowed all the three examples to maintain their culture, as well as controlling what is used and therefore having a say in what is broadcast.

The next point is the issue of a group of people that have migrated to a new country and made it their new home. For these people, the new media represents a pathway to keeping connections with the old and to stay in touch with people, issues and religion. So to this extent, Srinivasan explains that communities are now so much more than “bounds of geographical neighborhood and cultural background.” (Srinivasan, 2006, 502). Ethnic communities on a global scale means that cyberspace is the place to be to reconnect with the people who are most important, religiously, politically or personally. As well as maintaining ties with their homeland and peers, these people who have made their home in different parts of the world, can encourage others (Jenkins’s pop cosmopolitans) to see their country and its ideals through their point of view.

Tribal PEACE is a project that Srinivasan has undertaken in California, “a web-based information system created with 19 Native American reservations of San Diego County.” Communication in these reservations had been slowly dividing due to “historical dynamics”. (Srinivasan, 2006, 506). The work would include reconnecting the reservations with one another. “This infrastructure would be based around the goals of rekindling ancient networks of kinship amongst the reservations that had been destroyed over time. In essence, the [Hewlett-Packard] grant would provide a ‘Tribal Digital Village’”. (Srinivasan, 2006, 508).

Srinivasan goes on to say that for 18 months he spend time getting to know the people from the reservations, attaining their trust and gathering data for the Tribal PEACE project. He explains that he was able to catalog traditions, languages and songs. He and another colleague also came up with the Mazanita tree Diagram that is used to represent the reservation. It can be modified by anyone with access and it expresses ideas, stories, songs, prayers and native songs. Today this is an important tool used in schools as well as by political leaders within the tribes as well as the majority of the reservations. Tribal PEACE illustrates with certainty that new media today has the capability to not only reconnect people but allow these people some control over what is distributed.

“The point across both the indigenous and diasporic examples is clear: the networked nature of new media technologies enables sharing, identity formation, communication and publicisation to occur nearly instantaneously without being bound by the realities of physical distance.” (Srinivasan, 2006, 504)

The Tribal PEACE project is an excellent example allowing people to understand the importance of new media and the way that it is used by ethnic communities, the way it is shaping these communities by preserving their culture, be it songs, native language or other important documentation.

Reference: Srinivasan, R (2006). Indigenous, ethnic and cultural articulations of new media. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 9(4), 497-518.

2.    Identify media texts from other cultures that you enjoy. Consider whether your use of these texts makes you a “pop cosmopolitan”.

I was born in El Salvador and raised in Australia, however, I’m an Aussie at heart and enjoy dunking my Tim Tams in my cuppa. I also enjoy watching the cricket and the AFL. Being raised in Australia, I have embraced this culture as my own, so much so, that watching a Spanish film feels like I’m watching another culture completely different to me and mine. Guillermo Del Toro’s Masterpiece Pan’s Labyrinth, released in 2006 is a perfect example where indeed, I needed the subtitles as I couldn’t follow the Spanish being spoken!

So, yes I think I’m a pop cosmopolitan, I enjoy watching martial arts films; I adore Jet Li. Especially in Hero and Fearless. I love musicals, so Bollywood films are a must and I have seen many Anime TV series and films, including Sailor Moon, Cowboy Bebop, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Ghost in the Shell and Ponyo just to name a few!

I am a huge fan of British films, romantic ones like Love Actually and BBC Worldwide version of Pride and Prejudice. But what tickles my fancy is the Blood and Ice cream genre films starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost: Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.

American content consists of Zombies,Vampire and Werewolves films or anything with Milla Jovovich and or Bruce Willis. Particular favourite films include the Resident Evil franchise, The Matrix franchise, Underworld and Van Helsing. I’m also a huge fan of The X-Men franchise.

My children enjoy watching ABC for kids on channel two and I have noticed some of its shows are made in Asia, like Korean Dibo the Gift Dragon. There is also Bali from France and Mr Maker from the UK. So I’m raising a couple of pop cosmopolitans as well!

What I’m wondering is can we classify American and British culture as different to Australian culture and whether I’d be called a pop cosmopolitan by watching a lot of American TV and film? Undoubtedly, I consume a lot of American texts. It’s everywhere you look. Movies, prime time TV shows, (channel nine’s Two and a Half Men on at 7pm) and books. Also I must admit, that just as Jenkins suggests in this week’s reading, my interests in other cultures is slightly superficial as I’m not willing to change my beliefs or ideals after consuming different cultures. I only wish to escape for a little while.

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Posted by on 03/29/2011 in MED104


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