Answer the questions by incorporating the articles and videos.
Media Giants seek business cost/benefit advantages and the citizen/audience public require voice in media issues and live with constraints on voice posed by these media industry structural trends.
- How does Disney media help construct the social reality of our children?
- Does the consumer know best? Are conventional view assumptions about consumers true?
- If consumption is social, production is also social. What is social responsibility in production? What instances can you identify where media creators have shown social responsibility with respect to audiences?
New Media Giants Reading Notes
Media Giants role in production, distribution, exhibition & marketing media content that affects our social reality.
Four common Business Structural Trends in the Media Industry
- GROWTH—Media and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) companies have grown through mergers and acquisitions.
- INTEGRATION—Horizontal integration is owning diversified media forms. Vertical integration is owning companies at all stages of production, distribution and exhibition.
- GLOBALIZATION—Global expansion of markets and market economy ideas and practice to all regional, national, and local economies and societies.
- CONCENTRATION OF OWNERSHIP—Power, control, and decision making in the hands of a few
Telecommunications Act of 1996 was passed by the US Congress.
- Technology innovation and change influenced structural changes in industry and the relationship between industry and government. Telecommunications is a large and growing sector of the US economy.
- Trends supported by 1996 Act
- Liberalization—Open markets to competition
- Deregulation—Reduction of government rules
- Privatization—Government operations restructured into private operations
The Media Structural Trends Debate includes the business or market economy perspective which characterizes these trends as normal profit enhancing practice and the public advocacy perspective which characterize these trends as creating obstructive barriers to entry for diverse human representation and voice in the media business.
Croteau, D. & Hoynes, W. (2001). The business of media: Corporate media and public interest. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge.
New Politics of Consumption Reading Notes
New Politics of Consumption is a critique of consumer culture and argues ideology of consumption manipulates ideas of human need. As advertising is the economic engine of most media, Schor’s ideas call for deeper media literacy.
Schor argues for responsible consumption and describes cultural need for intellectual analysis and critical politics of consumption. It is important to honor individual choice, but also to seek commitment to justice and equality. This requires education about social impact of consumer choices.
Consumption Regime Failures
- Consumption itself is part of the problem.
- System is structured so adequate income is an elusive goal and there is perpetual perceived condition of not enough.
- Ethical issues of resource distribution justice in the global economy remain unresolved. This is critical now in the era of extreme climate change.
- Valid arguments critique consumer culture and practices.
Does the consumer know best? Are these conventional view assumptions about consumers true?
- Consumers are rational.
- Consumers are well-informed.
- Consumer’s preferences are consistent.
- Consumer’s preferences are independent.
- There are no external effects of consumption and production of goods and services.
- There are complete and competitive markets in alternatives to consumption.
Consumption is social so a politics of consumption is needed. Here are some of Schor’s ideas.
- Right to decent standard of living.
- Quality of life rather than quantity of stuff.
- Ecologically sustainable consumption.
- Democratize consumption practices.
- Consider politics of retailing and the cultural environment, e.g., megastores vs local shops.
- Expose commodity fetishism and contrast it with responsible utility of material things.
- Create consumer movement related to government policy formation.
Schor, J. (1999). The new politics of consumption. Why Americans want so much more than they need. Boston Review 24(3-4).
No Logo Film Notes
Watch No Logo (50 minutes).
Chapter 1 No Logo: Brands, Globalization, and Resistance
- World of brands and logos for corporate market and economic powers has drawn challenge and protest based on responsibility challenges.
Chapter 2 No Space: New Branded World
- Process of branding product with consistency and quality.
- Substitutes trust relationship with producer with surrogate relationship with brand identity/mascot/ logo, selling ideas of comfort, achievement, appeal.
- Ideas are devalued.
- Disney is selling the American Dream, while Nike is selling sports achievement.
- Klein explores the reverence generated by logo symbols of Nike, The Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, and Starbucks. These are examples of the now common process through which companies increase profits through molding consumer relationships into identification with and loyalty to brand symbols. Cars sell relationships with people in the cars, desirable lifestyle. Consumer loyalty can often mask outsourced exploitative worker production conditions under which the products are created.
- Disney has long history of branding, creating brand Nirvana.
- Disney built Celebration Florida as a monument to public space, but serves as a cross promotional monopoly.
Chapter 3 No Choice: Brand Bombing
- Cannot turn it off, so TV takes choice out of equation, with ever present ads, product, placement, and promotional news stories.
- TV as theatre of the brand.
- When we lose the Commons, we lose the idea of anywhere being outside of the market. Democracy and town square is nowhere in the privatized public sphere, subject to corporate censorship.
- Walmart marketing strategy of creating identity of family store.
- Internalize Walmart values in their censorship and gatekeeping of products
Chapter 4 No Jobs: The Discarded Factory
- Company’s primary role is to produce brand and meaning symbolized by their product.
- Brand identity divorced form real relations of production , sweat shop conditions and export processing zones that are walled in, armed guard monitored, 80% young female labor force, easy to control, and removed from home and family.
- Governments offer tax and labor law incentives to foreign corporations.
- Temporary Labor Agency jobs provide service sector jobs in US, non-union and insufficient to support a family, provide no benefits and draw workers in absence of disappearing production jobs.
Chapter 5 No Logo: Anti-Corporate Activism & Reclaiming the Streets
- Pick a brand shoe and you can deconstruct its path from source to sale to paint a portrait of globalization and the disparity in the global economy.
- Investigative activism peels back the facade of the brand and shows how goods are produced.
- Labor and activist groups bring real conditions of product production and distribution
- Protection is for brands, corporations, and marketing strategies, not for ethical concerns and struggle for ethical production conditions.
- Truth is you cannot improve conditions by shopping.
- Institutions of World Trade Organization, World Bank, and IMF, are writing the rules for trade, and believe rules should be good for global corporations and support globalization processes uncritically.
- Movement to reclaim the Commons, and affirm that the world is not for sale.
- Reclaim the Public Commons methods include direct action, public voice, support for creating dialogue for positive change, labor rights, and human rights.
- It is about Democracy and the right to have a say in and control of our shared public resources.
S. Jhally, S. & Alper, L. (2003). No logo: Brands, globalization, & resistance. [Motion picture]. Northampton, MA: Media Education Foundation.
Mickey Mouse Monopoly Film Notes
Watch Mickey Mouse Monopoly (52 minutes)
Chapter 1 Introduction
- Disney has dominated animated children’s film since the 1930’s and is now a global media giant.
- Dr. Elizabeth Hadley says “Disney is dangerous because it is sublime form of education. It is absorbed by our young people’s minds as entertainment.”
Chapter 2 Disney’s Media Dominance
- Dr. Henry Giroux, Education, PSU (now McMaster University). In The Mouse that Roared, Disney illustrates the intersection of commercial media, public entertainment and pedagogy.
- Disney has made a spectacle of innocence (Dr. Justin Lewis, Cardiff University)
- Disney stories have tremendous power to shape a child’s imagination.
Chapter 3 How to be a Girl? How to be a Boy? (Gender Representation)
- Gender images constructed in Disney content have changed little over decades of animation.
- Gail Dines says Ideologies are constructed in media…ideas about race, gender, class. We must understand media’s role in socializing us including shaping our ideas about gender.
- Females get rescued, males rescue.
- Little Mermaid (1989) she is ready to give up her voice to get the male (Dines). This contrasts with Mulan (1998) who shows a strong, powerful, young female heroine.
- In Beauty and the Beast, Belle reinterprets abusive behavior of Beast as her responsibility to change him.
Chapter 4 Indians, Hyenas & Chihuahuas (Representations of the Other)
- Poussaint offers that often writers write stereotypes because they are not familiar with the actual cultures and characters whom they misrepresent.
- Dumbo (1941), Jungle Book (1967), The Lion King (1994), Tarzan (1999) attribute cultural identities to animal characters.
- When you produce a discourse as powerful and widely distributed as Disney films, then you have a responsibility (Giroux).
- Pocahontas (1995) represents European invasion and militarized aggression without critical analysis or question. Savages is included as a central song. Where are children going to learn the truth in the environment of fantasy?
Chapter 5 Commercializing Children’s Culture
- Disney commodifies its characters as toys and this effects the way children play, shaping their imaginary space as a replica of media stories.
- Broad media empire of Disney can turn every element of information and entertainment content into advertising and promotion of all media content products.
- Dominant pervasive media of Disney and other media giants challenge democracy and diversity of voice, masking truth of excluded perspectives.
- “We have no obligation to make history. We have no obligation to make art. We have no obligation to make a statement. To make money is our only objective,” states Michael Eisner, CEO, The Walt Disney Co. (Internal Memo).
- There should be a responsibility as an entertainer to educate as well because you have someone’s attention (Sun, 2001).
Sun, C. F. & Picker, M. (2001). Mickey Mouse monopoly. [Motion picture]. Northampton, MA: Media Education Foundation.