Conjun’s Toward a New World Order proposed a shift in global communication. Throughout the reading I took a negotiated reading approach. As Hall describes, this occurs when “the reader partly shares the text’s code and broadly accepts the preferred reading, but sometimes resists and modifies it in a way which reflects their own position, experiences and interests (local and personal conditions may be seen as exceptions to the general rule) – this position involves contradictions”.
For the most part, I did not find much objectionable about the article. However, one line in particular caught my eye that I immediately debated and had to pause and ponder over for a bit: James Watson’s quote after finding similarities in genetic makeup, “our common ground is far wider than any potential gulf that threatens to separate us”. I agree our genetic makeup may be similar, but genetics only go so far – as far as health is concerned, genetics offer about a 20% explanation, whereas environment plays a much larger role. Not a major crux of his article, but it certainly stood out. Additionally, I felt the need to read this article several times in order to truly understand his points. In rereading the article, I wondered if too many of his examples got in the way of my understanding of the larger picture the initial way through.
I followed the ping pong example much better than the actual scenario. For example, in the mass communication example, who is China? Initially I was hung up on media and assumed he was referring to sources such as ABC/BBC and the like. However, following Hallin and Mancini’s “Western media systems in comparative perspective”, I began to realize Conjun was actually stating that different countries have the power. In re-reading, I note that he compares developed and developing countries and refers to the marginalization of developing countries several times. Hallin and Mancini offered a great comparison of 18 different countries. I was completely unfamiliar with the news systems outside the US and found this interesting. I continually wondered about other countries, though, and while I appreciated the mention in their closing summary, I would like to know more. While I understand the liberal model may be seen as ideal, I agree with Hallin and Mancini that the polarized pluralist would better represent most countries, and furthermore their suggestion that new models would actually need to be developed to truly compare.
I can certainly see where encoding and decoding can play a major role in understanding and receiving the intended message. I liked Morley’s piece in Chandler’s summary that focused on the importance of both the topic and the context. I think so much of this is situational and also mood influenced. As we have discussed, there is no actual reality – each person perceives things based on his own experiences and biases. These very factors can change within a person as well.
Within the process of television communication (which could be expanded to media), production and reception are not identical; the message that is sent may not be the same as the message received. In line with that, Hall wrote that “Reality exists outside language but it is constantly mediated by and through language; and what we can know and say has to be produced in and through discourse”. He then goes on to say that “there is no intelligible discourse without the operation of a code”. Going back to Conjun’s essay on international communication, this is both a local and international issue. Decoding is critical for communication. In international communication, with diverse backgrounds and perspectives, this is something that needs to be of consideration.
DQ: Do you think people tend towards a specific interpretive code (dominant, negotiated, oppositional)? Which do you find yourself in most often, and under which circumstances does it differ?