Blog Essay Class 8

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.   

Jessie King

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?


5 thoughts on “Blog Essay Class 8

  1. I began reading Li’s article with a dominant position, but by the time I finished writing my blog post for this week I found that I had switched over to a more negotiated reading similar to how you decoded it. It’s interesting what you say about environment’s role in separating us. I agree with you that genetics or the fact that we are all human will only go so far to bridge the gap between us. Our separate cultures and values create large “gulfs” between societies, which I think is in part due to the perceived realities created by the media. I remain skeptical as to whether Li’s ideas about unified communications practices are possible or if they would have the effects that he desires.

    I too was largely unaware of the major differences in how the U.S. media system operates in comparison to other western nations. I however disagree that the liberal model is the ideal system. I think there are some major flaws with how our media is produced and disseminated. I don’t think that going back to partisan news organization or switching to a polarized pluralist model would be better, but I think that money and corporations have too much sway in determining which media we are exposed to.

    I think that how people decode media messages is largely dependent on extramedia factors like personality, mood, or values as well as which media source is being consumed. Thus, I don’t think people tend toward one interpretive code more than another, but instead the code they use is determined by the moment of consumption. I find myself switching back and forth between different codes quite a bit based on who is encoding the message and how I feel about the source in general. For NPR I frequently use a dominant position, but for Fox News I can almost guarantee that I would use and oppositional interpretation. However, I have noticed that if I re-read, -hear, or -watch something, if my background on the message has changed that may alter which interpretive code I use to receive the message.

  2. Factors like mood were exactly what I was thinking of when reading about decoding. Whether agitated or stressed or relaxed or sad greatly influences the way I interpret media. I also think source matters as well. As we’ve discussed, people have their preferred sources and likely respect and agree with those more.
    I had not considered the repeating of information and how that may alter. I think in that situation, I would likely strengthen whichever position I had been leaning to in the initial intake (ie more dominant or more oppositional).

  3. We have looked at many trends already this semester and I think that the basic idea that we tend to seek out readings that already agree with our core beliefs keeps becoming our mantra. Aren’t we starting to avoid readings or messages that we don’t agree with and becoming more dominant readers? I can’t remember the last time I picked up a publication or read a blog written by someone I totally disagree with. If Rush Limbaugh comes on the radio, my husband changes the channel to avoid being an oppositional listener.

    If I choose to read about a political debate, I know I will come across things I disagree with but I take that in stride.

    I really found the comparative analysis piece about how historical circumstances defined news organizations around the world so interesting. After taking History of Journalism last year, it helped me understand how the U.S. broke away from European approaches to the press. From reading the Wisdom post on Media is Plural I think Harold Bloom would encourage us all to read many newspapers other than our hometown and look for knowledge of culture by reading news from news organizations around the globe.

  4. Chang Liu
    In fact, I am not entirely for the saying 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”. First, I am skeptical about the assumption that there is an objective world that existing without human’s perception. The world, as we see, is the outcome of the combination of human’s perception and the world. I have no idea that what the world will be like without my own perception. The dilemma is that I can’t do any experiment to eliminate the variable of my perception, and thus I can’t do any experiment to testify the assumption. Hall’s words, obviously, is based on a view of objective materialism, which I myself take a skeptical stance toward it.
    As for the development question, I guess most people will adopt the negotiated approach when reading in that it is common sense that people share something in common while defer with each other in some points. No matter what language you are speaking, what lifestyle you are leading and what environment you are in, your humanity remains that same. In this sense, we can’t entirely deny anyone’s words. However, as the saying goes, there exist no such two leaves that look like absolutely the same, and this is applicable to human beings. In this sense, people’s opinions will somehow go diverged at a certain point. As a result, most people will take a negotiated approach when they are reading, and take an approval but somewhat suspicious attitude toward their readings. And this is also what my approach would usually be.
    However, in some extreme cases, there are possibilities that people constantly take a dominant approach or the other way around. For example, when the masses are fomented by some extremists or frenetic partisans, most people are easily stirred and lose their rational mindsets. Under these circumstances, people are likely to firmly believe the stances the propaganda takes, or entirely reject the speeches against the party.

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