beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I got my marks back for my essays today
both 70%
2 distinctions!

I did some math and I think that works out at 68% the year for Sociology. 4 units, where I got 67%, 65.5%, 72%, and 65%+70% averaged, which is 67.5%. Add those all up and average them, end up with 68%. I think thats how it works.

For the research essays I got 72% and 70%, which I'm especially proud of because for those we have to pick a topic and a title and which books to look at and everything for ourselves. I got best marks in the research essays, which I think shows I can apply all this studying to interesting things pretty well.

In previous years I got 67% in History of Art, and 65.9% in Cultural Studies (with a very late grade that would have been a distinction if they didn't have to knock 5% off for lateness. which I realise matters not at all to the math, but I was rather proud of it.)

... how did I get a .9%? ...


That all adds up to three main courses as merits and the research bit as a distinction, so I reckon a very high merit for the whole deal.

Excellent :-) :-) :-)

It is finished, it is handed in, it is marked, and now there is only waiting for the exam board and the official final marks getting posted on the Access notice board.

4 years I've been working on this. Today it is all done.

*happy dance*


beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Last essay of the unit, year, and course. One I'm least sure about.   The conclusion was weak in the previous version, teach said, and I'm not sure I've improved it.  In fact as per usual I've reached the point of not being sure the whole day's work has improved it, so I'm posting it.

I can't actually find a button to change or get rid of background colors in the rich text editor.  Is there one?

beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Okay, I have predictably hit 'can't tell if it helps' point again.  I'll stick the essay up in here, maybe work on it again later.  Tonight I shall instead eat and drink and watch TV or read.  Probably read.  I need quotes for the other essay.

beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Thinking about the kinds of things I come on here and whine about in sociology:

To start with, I didn't know what the words meant. Or what the lessons were about. Or much of anything, so I flapped around a lot.

Now I complain the book doesn't have enough in it, and keep on pulling things in from units we did half the year ago and connecting bits together.

I'd say that indicates some actual learning, that does.

beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
The section about 'class and audience reception' p858 mixes it together with gender. Actually, is mostly about gender. Which is interesting, yes, but not what the subject heading is about!
Really, I keep on getting told off for not sticking to my titles, now the stupid textbook isn't either. Tell off textbook!

Its mostly stuff like saying men watch more sport and science fiction, mostly in an all male context. Women in an all female or on their own context watch weepy romance.

Somebody probably got paid for this research.

They looked at 30 women. 30 seems like a very achievable sample size. But I don't know what they did, if they did a questionnaire or watched them or what.
It surely ought to say, just to be useful! I mean if this is all self report, then what it is finding out isn't video *use*, it is as much about what is *valued*. People might report only what was expected! Need to know the details of the study to know what particular difficulties there might be.

This whole chapter is light on the 'evaluate' thing that the other chapters have. Annoyance!

Anyways, now in my head I'm designing questions to ask about LGBT viewers. Obviously there would need to be more than two categories for gender, for a start. And then we could find out if gay guys also watch sport or SF or weepy romance. With studying.

Somebody surely did that? Somewhere?

It reckons science fiction is male and fantasy is female.
F&SF is all smudged together round the edges, gets shelved together, so how is it figuring that?
Would 'Buffy' be in either category?

I want to poke the data to see how it figures these things. Partly because they seem stupid things to figure. I mean look at all of the people I know who are into Stargate or any Trek or whatever - women everywhere! And, yeah, statistically valid sample issues. So I can't just say they're wrong.
But I can wonder. I suppose I'd have to look up in the bibliography and poke around for the study... Ann Gray (1992) Video Playtime, Routledge, London. So it is a book. There's a 1987 and 1999 one of roughly similar sounding titles too. Interesting.

The bit about class - what its supposed to be about - looks a bit interesting, with conclusions like "The higher the social class, the more concern there was about children using the television and video 'too much' and the more effort was made to control their use. The lower the social class, the more television and video were an accepted (and dominant) part of life and conversation. The higher the social class, the more preference there was for 'classics' and British productions (a perceived sign of quality)."
But the comparison is between professional and skilled non-manual, not the whole spectrum of classes. It don't even divide up like class does in most of the rest of the book. Elsewhere they talk middle vs working. That isn't what they talk about here. Irritation.

It also says "In all classes women tended to give control of the viewing to men", and talks about viewing in the context of family, male+female, or male only or female only. Does that mean it is comparing only 30 nuclear families? The ones with a male and a female and children? But the families chapter said they make up only a quarter of households, iirc. Yup, table 8.7 p495, couple with dependend children, 23%. Studies on nuclear families are therefore studying the minority, even if most people are part of a nuclear family at some time. There was a ton in the section on conjugal roles that pointed out weaknesses in studies. I'm wondering how many of those weaknesses apply to this here video watching study. I'd have to hunt down the book to find out.

This chapter has some very muddled sections, it really does.

Is possible I'm also in a cranky mood.

... er, any of you that don't want to read sociology stuff... sorry...
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
So all the sections are about identifiable groups such as sociology worries about, class gender ethnicity age disability.
Except for sexuality. It seems rather confused what that section should be about. Instead of a group, its about the activity, TV showing lots of sex.

By the logic of other sections, it should talk about hetero and LGBT groups and how the representation is different and how the reception is different.

H&H p856
This section was 100% about people watching people have sex, and none at all about reception of LGBT representation.

Actually, it was about hetero people watching hetero porn.

And how men and women are both aroused when the sex is consensual, but women react differently to depictions of rape.
It doesn't flat out say it, but does that mean the study found men getting turned on by rape? Creepy much?

It starts off about 'age of audience'
because younger viewers have little or no real-life experience of sex and they are more susceptible to influence - they are blank sheets on which the media can write. Older viewers, however, with real-world experience, are thought to be more media-literate, and so receive and interpret messages about sexuality in a more discerning way. Some studies have concluded, for example, that in the absence of other sources of information, 'the sexual lessons young viewers derive from television foster an inaccurate image of sex that can lead to unrealistic expectations, frustration and dissatisfaction' (Gunter, 1995).

Okay, extrapolating back from that, and from previous sections, I attempt to work out what the section *should* be about -
Read more... )

Why doesn't the book have this stuff actually written down in it? Stupid book. Talking about the wrong thing. Now I'm left to wonder if I'm getting it all wrong, instead of being left more educated.

Also, I'm trying out these theories like they're the structure, and class-gender-ethnicity-whatever are the variables, and I can just plug in a new variable (group) and apply the theory over there instead. But if that were that simple, why would they have different chapters on it all? And I lack research to point at too.

I sulk.

And plan library exploration.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Haralambos & Holborn "Sociology Themes and Practices" 6th edition p855
Turkle (1988) argues that women 'use their rejection of computers... to assert something about themselves as women ... It is a way to say that it is not appropriate to have a close relationship with a machine.' The computer is a cultural symbol of what a woman is not. In rejecting computers women are rejecting something they see as gender-coded.

Read more... )

Is sending reviews of textbooks to the publisher likely to be useful? I mean, this book we bought to do our sociology studies with doesn't actually have what we need for this unit in it. They should be told.
Apparently this is the first edition that even had a chapter on the media. (!) They therefore haven't had as much time to get it right yet.
Would telling them where I think they went wrong be... as rude as it sounds? I mean I'm only an Access student. Then again, though I'm only an Access student, I still have knowledge which isn't in the book.

beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
The labelling bit of the deviance chapter is just like in the education chapter except people get prison instead of grades.

and none of this is helping me do my homework

(I'm now getting thoughts about how all this applies to fandom

and how the labelling thing applies online, where we can change most of our labels by conjuring up a new name)

deviance is not in the actor or the act but in the labels applied to it. Nothing is deviant until people say it is.

Like nudity - it all depends on context.

People don't just respond to structures and forces, they put meanings on them and make decisions.

The words in all the chapters not-media are different than the media labels. I mean theres positivist and interactionist and functionalist and a bunch of other ists and isms. And Marxist. Which is there in the Media chapters too, but means something a bit different, neo-Marxist. And feminist is all through everything too, but different. In the media chapter suddenly we're talking Manipulative, Pluralist, Hegemonic and Postmodern (I think, I might have got the Ps muddled up). Teach says this is why they're probably not going to teach media again when they don't have to, for it has a different framework going on.

I need to go write essays.

Writing essays is much more boring than reading more stuff.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
The section in the 'Crime and deviance' chapter on corporate crime is a bit of a shocking eye opener. I mean I'd heard about most of the incidents before, but I hadn't seen them all lined up together with costs and death tolls. And I hadn't seen them compared to 'crime' statistics, or the amounts of money that go into disaster relief. Any one of the incidents have worse consequences than the kind of crime the media goes on about in crime rates, the street crime. And yet there's more and more of it!

I guess the same theory - goals mattering more than means - still applies. People trying to make money however they can, ends up being a big huge mess.

But with the kind of crime where you pick up a stick and hit someone with it, you know you're doing it, know it is a bad thing. With the kind of crime where someone makes or ignores a rule, there is the possibility of not noticing one has picked up the stick, or even that there are people all lying there bleeding from it.

I'm thinking Angel again, and thinking this - corporate billions - is the kind of crime Lindsey would be playing with. The bits that Angel noticed and stopped, the murders and that, are tiny little side projects compared the the major activities here. No wonder Angel never felt like he was doing something once he was boss and signing papers. Nothing bleeding, can't see the crime. But its still way bigger in effect than a random vampire.

The kind of crime Angel stops is also important to stop, of course. People getting killed is of the bad however it happens.

I'm just trying to get my head around a section that talks in billions. Billions are very big numbers.

And one guy who got convicted and imprisoned and fined $650 million is actually still very very very rich, because they reckon he nicked more than $1 billion.

That kind of math is just... weird, and very big.

You know, the more I read, the more I understand how people get all shouty-Marxist about stuff. The false consciousness bit is still really annoying, but I can understand the shouting.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
have read more of the chapter on crime and deviance.
the guy who blames it all on welfare and single mothers got thoroughly stomped on by statistics, so that theory I shall ignore.
other theories

society has a bunch of accepted goals and a bunch of accepted means.

so, the goal of making lots of money has the means of getting a job.

but people in different positions have different access to means.

they might still want money, but not be able to get a job.

so then they might turn to deviant means. crime.

but there is also different access to illegitimate means. they might want to make lots of money out of crime but still not be able to.

some people change their goals - decide something other than making money is the priority.

some people get really depressed at being losers and do drugs.

some people get really angry at being seen as losers and do violence.

there was some other more complicated stuff, like the way that the powerful get to set the goals and the means, and do so in ways that favour them. (The house always wins).

Geek trio - had goals of making money and having sex.
tried the means of education, but weren't doing college when we saw them, so maybe didn't get far enough to get money out of that?
we don't know if they tried the means of having jobs.
Xander did a lot of jobs and lost a lot of jobs.
Can we really see Andrew doing better in employment than Xander? Not so very.

So, this being Sunnydale, they had at their disposal unusual means. Magic and demons. And they used it to make money. Success!

Theory reckoned that both goals and means are socialised into people. So they internalise that they 'should' make money, for example, and that they 'should' get a job. But the 'make money' is pushed a lot more than 'get a job'. Lopsided emphasis. So some decide that the end is way more important than the means and just do whatever they can think of. Cheating as part of the game.

I find, reading this chapter, I keep pinning bits to Lindsey and the geek trio.

Not so much to vampires though.

Vampires could be an example of a deviant subculture. They do not share the values of the mainstream society, with the respect for life and all that. They have their own values, which say eating people is good and making them suffer is better. They gain prestige from creative 'evil'. So they do things that are deviant in terms of the dominant culture, but in accord with goals and means, norms and values, of their own subculture.

Which would make Spike, saving lives / saving the world, the deviant.

Chapter is interesting.

Tomorrow I start on the essays. Might be only 3000 words to do, but do them I must quite soon.

I can read more book in the holidays.

The other thing about sociology theories is they keep referring to each other. So knowing bits from family and educatin units makes the crime unit make more sense. So knowing more already makes learning more easier. Which is logical. And fun.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Have finished the chapter on culture and identity.
Well, mostly. I skipped some of the culture stuff because I don't need to do the high vs mass vs popular arguments again, that was covered in cultural studies. The identity stuff was more where the new stuff was.

It concluded with saying you need modern and postmodern theories to really get a handle on identity formation.

I think I'm seeing why the book has so many theories it then rips to shreds. Part historical, of course. Partly to teach us tools - how to theory rip. But partly because high contrast is easier to see. Take the theories that push things as far as they logically go, and they have only the one point they try and push. So once that point is understood, can see if you figure they push it too far. Which, often, yes. Or, sometimes, they push it quite far enough, but leave out all the other necessary points. Like Marxism and how it ignores gender and ethnicity and all the rest as sources of inequality. All about class for old school marxists. Quite limited. But, very clear.

Still quite annoying to read for pages and pages and then have the book get snarky about it. Feel like there should be some conclusions and teaching should start there. But no, is all a big argument, and the necessary thing to bring away from class is how to join in, not what the result is. On account of there isn't one. Or, there are very many, that all think each other are dumb.

Is kind of fun.

And things are changing. Like, education results, conclusion is inequalities remain, so bad, but everyone is doing better, so that part is good. And a lot less people seem to starve to death than did a couple hundred years ago. Yaays.

One fairly random thing that irritates me about this textbook - I don't think it uses the word 'bisexual' even once. In most chapters it mentions gay&lesbian, which is yaay. But I can't find bisexuals anywhere. Textbooks should not unexist a group. I realise already there are 2 words needed, and bisexuals are actually a bit different for some of the points made, but somewhere in the 2 inches thick book should be mentioning that some exist.
I've taken to penciling in 'and bisexuals' after every 'gay and lesbian' it mentions.
I are being slightly silly, but, it bugs me, and it is my book to pencil in.

The identity chapter didn't have much more than 'and sexuality is also a source of identity' anyway. The families chapter had more. But I guess from a statistical point of view a person can either be living in a same sex household or an opposite sex household, they aren't exactly measuring orientation so much as living arrangements, yesno? Would need details on individual studies I guess. But that would dissappear bisexuals as a category. Except for poly relationships, which hide in the '3 or more adults' category, which is very small indeed.

See which issues I zoom in on. Disability and sexuality. Not revealing about me *at all*.

Yeah, this would be why at the end of each chapter there's a section on 'values' as points out that sociologists are people with their own filters and opinions.
I quite like that section. Useful. The science textbooks I remember went for more of an omniscient/objective approach, which would hide a lot of important in social sciences. Or sometimes in science as well, I guess.

Next I could either write homework stuff
or go look at the Crime & Deviance chapter, which has been lurking looking interesting for ages.

I don't think I'm in a "write" kind of mood.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
My sociology textbook continues to be more interesting than my video collection.
This continues to surprise. School homework was never more interesting.
I was on the wrong courses, obviously.

I'm reading the 'culture and identity' chapter, which is fascinating and will require reading a couple more times to digest.

There's a part about postmodern theories of identity, which emphasise the capacity for choice and change. We can put our identity together like patchwork, bits and pieces from all over.

But the more postmodern the theory, the less it acknowledges constraints.

While an individual can choose to aspire to a particular identity, they cannot immediately choose to *be* it. The example given is that a janitor cannot become the inspector general of the BBC simply by choosing to change identity.

I think to be more precise, while a janitor can choose to believe he is such a person, and act like such a person, the social consequences will be rather negative. Their new identity will be rejected by the people who would find it relevant to them, the employees of that in charge dude. They might in fact get locked up for trying, as lying is considered of the bad.

I connected this in my brain with some of the negative perceptions of fans. Specifically, fans wearing costume uniforms. A fan can choose to dress up as a Jedi, write their religion down as Jedi, identify as a Jedi. But they cannot, simply by choosing***, *be* a member of a warrior elite with magical powers. I don't think many fans seriously aspire to that. If they did, they would have to do training of various sorts to try and get the skills. But to many minds, these are skills that go with the identity. To claim you are a Jedi is to claim you have the skills, and that isn't true, therefore fans get stared at funny. But I think to many people claiming the identity, what they are more interested in is the message, the symbol, the values that go with the identity 'Jedi'. We may not kick arse in a fight, but we do believe in seeking peace while being able to defend ourselves.

Same with other uniforms, or other species for that matter. It is 'obviously' not true that the person in the klingon costume is in fact a klingon. It is frequently not true that they could fight like a klingon. But that is not, generally, what a fan intends to communicate or identify with when they dress as a klingon.

With Stargate fandom it is even more clear. I don't wear army surplus stuff to claim I'm a highly trained military dude with rank and responsibilities and all that. I wear it because the people on TV wear it and have adventures. Part of the story, not the military. But most random people looking at it would get the usual main message (military, skills/rank/job etc) and not the meant by me message. Or, since I don't wear any particular rank insignia, they would get the other common meaning, that I shop out the cheap second hand stores. Either way, going to be a clash about the meanings.

Put another way, it seems plausible some of the negative stereotyping that goes with images of fans in costume is connected to the perception that they are delusional (believing they have the skills or status or rank) or lying (telling they have the skills or status or rank). But those things are not core to a fans concept of what that costume means. The values, messages, meanings, are what they're wearing.

Also, to wear the uniform is not necessarily to claim all those things, often it is more to express admiration of them.

I still need to poke this idea. And it isn't very scientific yet, for I am Making Stuff Up. Hopefully plausible stuff, but I haven't asked yet. Just based it on fuzzy observation. Which is annoying when others do it, so if I were doing this properly next would be the asking people stage.

Maybe in the holidays. I have 3000 words left to write for this term, and the course as a whole, and I do not think this fits in any of them.

*** Not that identity is just about choosing. It is about acting in a manner consistent with. That whole gender as performance bit.
So people going and getting drunk in Jedi robes would not generally be considered to be performing 'Jedi'.
... performing Jedi would probably do like hypnotism and mind reading acts...
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Today we got around to representations of disability.

Rather depressing really.
Invisible, marginalised, stereotyped - keywords for the unit.

We saw a video questioning representation in charity advertising, and also with some segments actually by disabled people. All the same show. On BBC2 in the 90s. I'm left wondering if that is it. Shall have to poke research.

I'm also looking for more examples from fandom.

First, Highlander - Joe fans
I'd really like to have a couple of minutes of video to show how awesome Joe is. Action hero! Blues man! Coincidentally happens to not have legs.
I can't carry a whole episode on my... what are those pen looking things called? I could on my laptop but not from there to college computers. And even if I did have an episode, I wouldn't have anyone's attention that long.
So I'm thinking, songvid.
There has to be a songvid of Joe Dawson = awesome.
But I haven't a clue where to start looking.

I'll go ask in communities later when I can phrase it better.

Second I'm looking for a couple things I'm sure I've seen before but my google-fu failed me on today.
1) Comics characters with disabilities
given the attention to detail of fans, somebody somewhere made a list, right?

2) History of Oracle's wheelchairs
I know I've seen this. It showed all the different chairs she's been put in, and complained about it, and chose a RL chair that would best suit her needs. Fannish attention to detail at its best. Yet today, I cannot find it.

Other fandom characters with disabilities would be cool.

Spike in a wheelchair... does that count? I mean he got out of it again pretty fast.
And Giles was only blind very briefly.

I tend to read the werewolf or vampire or ghost things as metaphor-disability anyway, but that would be outside the scope of the essay by a bunch.
Though there is a thing where disabilities are connected to moral qualities, and disabled people are more often portrayed as monsters.
Like, Hook.

I am of a sudden very tired and possibly babbling.

I think I contributed usefully today, and I don't think I was rude. Much. So another day of coolness.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Baudrillard's theories are gloomy

is one of the few names I ever remember, for simulacra & simulation = Matrix

I'm wondering if Joss read up on Baudrillard after the Matrix (known to be a favourite film of his)

I can stick bunches of bits of this theory to Angel season 5

though mostly it seems to be saying how Baudrillard was (stupidly and very) wrong

dude thought change had become impossible for we are stuck exchanging meaningless symbols and there is no reality. thought LA was a theme park.

There is a dream of LA that colors all experience of it. But there are also a ton of people living there, and a lot of realities like 'starvation' and 'crime' going on. he really needs to get out of the house more.

a lot of postmodern theories, it looks like they have a point, but then they take it at least a dozen steps further than I want to go, or head off in weird directions. I mean I'm quite happy to say that human experience is made sense of using texts and therefore idea-of-England is all we ever see/comprehend, but I'm not going to say that such is all there *is*. Also, changing ideas is easy. So change should be easy. Like, understanding the Matrix, can play with the code. Hack reality.

... the *other* problem with postmodernism is it keeps inventing words and wandering off along a long train of reasoning, so talking about it kind of only works when talking to people who already know about it. otherwise one ends up sounding like slightly insane.

I like all these isms. I've had much fun figuring out which bits of theory to use in building characters. Ethan is fun with added neo-Marxism, and Andrew is your classic postmodern horror story. Giles is just sort of Giles-y though, and so is Oz. Maybe because I think of them as, you know, sane. Hmmm...

ETA: The textbook, in the 'critique' section, turned into snark central. Says it is 'Baudrillard who has lost his grasp on reality'.
Which begs the question, why is he in the textbook?
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I found a bit in the culture and identity chapter that is about 'youth' and how it is constructed as an identity in response to shifts in the ideas / discourses about youth. Which presumably take place in large part in the mass media. Which is what we're studying in the next chapter.

It looked like an interesting theory right up until it got to the bit of history I could compare against my experience, and then it was talking total bollocks.

Said 'youth' gave up on rebellion and started in on imitating adults as teh cool, as evidenced by their use of adult technology, ie computers.


They didn't use computers to imitate grown up office workers or whatever other grown ups. They used computers the way they'd use the phone or radio or television, to do stuff with that they defined as 'youth' stuff. Like, you could call the radio a grown up medium, since its run by grown ups. But you put 'rock and roll' music on it and by this theory suddenly its a youth rebellion thing. Well, same thing with computers. They were being used for activities that 'youth' claimed as their own. Consider images of the computer hacker - how old are they in your mind? I'm thinking Lucas, about 15, is typical. And now there's MySpace and music downloads and basically young people doing things as young people with this new bit of kit. It isn't about copying grown ups, its about doing something better with the parts they've left lying around.

Otherwise might as well say kids in army surplus gear are imitating growed up soldiers, when the other theory just reckoned they were rebelling by looking dangerous.

It also mentioned a lot about aspirations. Aspire to be middle class rich = mod. Aspire to be old west gambler = teddy boy. Which specifics seem odd to me, but what do I know about those times?

If it had said that use of computers reflected aspirations to interact in the adult world as an equal, say by using these here anonymous lettering type things to represent self without age labels, that would be an interesting theory.

Saying it was ditching rebellion because computers are grown up tech is just ignoring all reality, far as I can see.


I am too warm. It is very annoying.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Textbooks are full of interesting. Its like brain candy. Actually, its more substantial and full of building blocks, so more like brain meat. Except that image is squishy and disturbing.

Been reading about Foucault and power/knowledge. Discourses being ideas that create the thing they're talking about - psychiatry creating mental illness. Except the book phrased it better.

Its very interesting.

Completely irrelevant for class and essays, but interesting.

Actually, since everything is part of a power/knowledge relationship, then its not irrelevant ever. Just, I'd have to dance a bit to connect this up to the media stuff we're doing. Though media is all about knowledge, which would mean it was therefore about power. Huh.

Reckon there's some flaws in either the idea or the way they explained the idea. Like, it said there is always freedom to choose. Can choose suicide or murder instead of compliance. Kind of like Buffy and Ford, "you don't have a good choice, but you have a choice". Thing is, I remember reading about Guantanamo today, something like 43 suicide attempts so far and only now 3 successful deaths. So, I guess you have the choice to try, but other people have the choice to tie you down and do stuff to you instead. Odd setup for the argument says power can only be exercised when there is freedom. Which seems a bit backwards to everyone elses definitions. But I have a vague connection brewing in the back of my mind to my theories of moral and immoral action, where something can only be moral or immoral if it is a free will choice. So it maybe saying that there are things that happen like... like falling when you're pushed off a cliff, but that isn't power, for there is no choice in it. Maybe? The book was only saying it was a strange definition.

Also while it is theoretically possible to choose suicide or murder, there are a lot of constraints that make those choices rather difficult. Like ideology, religion, says you kill you go to hell forever. There's not a lot of choices where going to hell forever would be a *better* option.

I have a head full of ideas. Cool.

I also have a kitchen full of food, which is more cool.
Everything that isn't in a can is in the fridge, for my house is hot and nasty at the moment.

In about an hour there will be helpful cleaner person. My kitchen is a bit of a mess right now, for I took the filters out the dishwasher which necessitates taking everything else out of it too, but there are some dirty plates and stuff waiting for cleaning, so much worktop is covered. And I need to get enough cleared to put the new microwave on. I've had that probably a week and still it is in a box.

Then at 3pm there is another helpful person, usually helps with admin. Will look at bits of paper.

Presence of people means I have to wear clothes. I do not wish to wear clothes today. I sulk.

But people are rarely helpful when you're naked.


Back to the textbook.

I shall attempt to find the page that sent me off to look up Foucault in the first place. Which is much easier now I highlight the book, so bonus.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
My little poll is at 2 yes to 6 no for the question is LiveJournal Mass Media.

Which is interesting.

Mass Media are media that reach very large numbers of people. Well, once a web page is up, everyone with an internet connection and a browser can read it, which is a very large number of people. While LJ doesn't tend to reach a mass audience, there's no technical reason it cannot (though it might cost a bundle in bandwidth, I don't know how that works around here). A book nobody bothers to read is still a mass media form, or a radio show nobody listens to.

So, we here are all mass media producers.

But the textbook also distinguishes between traditional mass media (television, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, recorded music) and 'New media', like the internet. New Media are increasingly interactive, hard to separate from each other (web on TV, TV on web), and can be aimed at smaller niche audiences.

So LJ is new media, and not so much mass.

I'm looking at the models of media production we have, with the arrows all pointing everywhere. They tend to start out with some owner saying things to millions of people. New media, everyone is owner enough to say things to everyone else, and everyone else says things back. Many more arrows. Makes analysis quite complicated.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I have now read all the pages in my sociology textbook (which is 2 inches thick, more or less) that are about disability.

Surely it should take more than half an hour?

There was the bit about defining disability and the role of disabled people. There was the bit about stigma. And there was the bit about media representation.

There was also an interesting bit on representations of mental illness in the media, but its hiding in the Health chapter, not up with the media chapter like the rest.

I haven't read everything about mental illness. There seems to be lots more of that.

There was also a chunk in the chapter on... I think employment? A chart of how many disabled people were employed, unemployed, or "economically inactive", which I had to look up. Means "either not looking for, or not available for, work", with three main categories, students, disabled, and people looking after houses or families. About a third of disabled people were in work in 1998, and there were more than 5 million of them. That's a lot more than I imagined, which makes me feel vaguely stupid. I mean I am disabled, and I know a lot of disabled people, so how did I not notice that there are in fact a whole ton of disabled people?

Probably goes back to that 0.7%
0.7% of speaking roles to represent, in this country, more than 5 million people.
Bloody ridiculous.

For employment category purposes disabled has a specific meaning - something about 'limiting the kind or amount' of work I think, I left the book in the other room.

Definitions outside of official statistics I suspect are rather fuzzier.

I found in the bibliography that the Cumberbatch thing with Disability in the title seems to be a book. So I can go find it in a library, I guess.
This seems to be it.
"38 disabled people had major roles in these dramas compared with 2469 major roles coded."
So, not all Jim Byrnes then.

Now I definitely want to poke the book, because the phrasing "disabled people had major roles" says its about disabled *actors*, but I'll bet you its counting characters and some of them are played by people pretending.

BFI Disabling Imagery? resources on teaching disability and moving image media

Ofcom content analysis portrayal of people with disabilities, pdf, 2005

This one is fascinating. 1/4 of appearances are repeat characters. Most of the representations in politics are down to Blunkett. 19% of population represented by less than 1% of roles. Disability central or relevant to most representations.
And that's just the summary. Lots of lovely data to poke.
Like categories in more detail - apparently mental health is one of them.

This is actually the topic for my next essay. I'm doing homework. In advance even. Woah.

Of course *today's* lesson is about age, not disability. But I already know a chunk about youth cultures and representations thereof, and I read the pages we're supposed to. The one I wanted to chase was the disability bit.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Been reading more sociology textbook, ready for lesson that will start in 7 hours and I have to get up for in 4 hours. I'd quite like to be sleeping instead, but that never works.

Read the section on portrayals of disability. Its a very small section, even compared to the section on age, which wasn't but a page or two in total itself. I want to dig out a textbook that gives it more time, but I don't know which one would, and anyway I'm not in a library. So, leave it for later.

Apparently, 0.7% of speaking roles seen on television in a particular study were disabled people. 0.7% ! Assuming that is a whole number of people, wonder how many characters were in that study at all. Is that only one character? Two?

What I wondered was, how many of those portrayals were actually played by Jim Byrnes?

Because if we're talking only one or two characters ever, then he could be all of them.

I also want to know what they're figuring as disabled. In a wheelchair? With a stick? Missing a hand? Down syndrome? I've seen all those on TV. I particularly wonder about the stick, for I have read fic that failed to notice a character has no legs, like the stick is invisible and/or insignificant, the guy just walks slow. Which, one way up, yaay, for he is being portrayed as just a guy. But it makes me wonder about counting. Blind characters kind of show up, unless they're talking on a phone, but deaf characters might be wandering around invisibly. I know actors who I've found out have hearing stuff going on but I'd never have known it from who they play. Is that portrayals of disability, or portrayals by disabled people? Does it not count? Does it not show up?

And then there's all the mental stuff that goes on. Wonder which box they classify assorted people in.

There wasn't a section in the book on portrayals of people with mental illness. Maybe its in the 'health' section somewhere...

There's whole websites about portrayals of people with scars or albinos or something. Does that count as disability or just difference?

I want to poke the book until it defines its terms, but I don't think I'll find that. I might be able to hunt down the studies they are quoting. I'll try from the college library, for librarians are smart and can help me with it.

in seperate issue

the portrayals of violence thing.

studies were saying that children are more likely to become aggressive after watching portrayals of violence that are presented as justified.
That is, the Batman leads to vigilante action theory.

Studies were presenting this as a bad/scary thing.

But someone somewhere around here (here being the computer) was saying the other day about talking to their kid about Nazis, and the kid being thoughtful and "So that's what armies are for."

So, would that count as an aggressive response?

Because what we start getting into there is if aggression and violence are ever appropriate, and if so, when.
Read more... )
Appropriate limits may not be as simple as aggression = bad.

Teach said about another thing that finding the textbook sort of thin is a sign I'm ready to go study at a higher level.
Okay, roll on next year.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
For once I have finished an essay with more than an hour to spare!  

So, this time, I can post it here and ask for feedback.  I *think* I covered all the theories, pulled out bits of research that fit, and made it all tidy and precisely within the word count (though I might end up having to argue that, for it only fits if you [don't count these in here]).  I am in fact actually happy with an essay for once (albeit mostly because I'm tired and feel sick and now don't have to be doing anything academic until tomorrow).  But... that makes me worry...  

So, anyone pointing out I missed out a whole chunk of theory would be golden.  But people reassuring me I haven't just typed 'I am a fish' a few thousand times would also be most welcome...  
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
The more I read about that stupid Bobo doll, the more *I* want to hit it.

Media effects on violence! Sociology textbooks lead to aggressive response!

I'm waiting for the laptop to recharge, but being good and doing relevant reading instead of Farscape. No Farscape until the essay is finished.

This Bobo doll experiment - they showed three videos to kids, and in all three the grown up hit the Bobo doll, and then in two groups the kids went and hit the doll too. Apparently this demonstrates that media violence=>more violence. Ignoring the whole 'its a DOLL' aspect.
The group that didn't do hitting the doll were shown a video where the one who did hitting was punished.
That's in the notes.
What it doesn't say is punished *how*?
I mean, did they slap him?
Because then violence+violence= - violence
which actually makes quite a lot of sense.

I mean I used to play Eternal Champions until I managed to beat my brother on screen, so then he kicked me until I didn't play again. No more computer violence!

... er, okay, yes, that has very little relevance and isn't terribly funny ...

I dislike essays because you have to squish everything down to small of words. And already textbooks have this whole... going very fast through everything approach, so they are skipping details. So to make an essay you have to strip it right down to just a couple of useful points, and really, its very annoying to have to do that.

I shall go do web research.

... Wiki has a whole page on that stupid doll... But not talking about the on video one. Hmmm.

actually, the one thing consistent about accounts of this stupid experiment is the details are different in all... 5? Versions I've read so far. Apparently it was so classic it got redone a lot, tweaked to make different points. Or something.

This one mentions punishment again, but not how they were punished.

... This? Totally irrelevant to essay. Its just been bugging me. I go away again.

And go write some more since apparently its 100% charged and the light just didn't bother to go out. Grrr!

... The librarian talk on plagiarism said we should write down everything we read even if we didn't quote it. Should I now go put all this in the Bibliography? Botheration...

Aha! Found it!
(Yes, I said I was going away. This is the *other* reason I have problems with deadlines.)
This page says
Others heard the model scolded: "Hey there, you big bully, you quit picking on that clown." As the adult retreated, he or she tripped and fell, and then received a humiliating spanking with a rolled up magazine.

See? Violence!

So what Batman does to criminals should discourage violence just like the Bobo doll experiment says.

... I'm supposed to use, like, two or three sentences on the whole stupid experiment in this essay. I mean I have 1000 words to cover 4 models with evidence. I so don't need all this detail. *sigh*

But now I know!
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Research reports published in the early 1970’s indicated that by age 14, the average child had witnessed more than 11,000 murders on television (Looney, 1971).
Looney, G. (1971, October). Television and the child: What can be done? Paper presented at the meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Chicago, IL.


By the time a child is eighteen years old, he or she will witness on television (with average viewing time) 200,000 acts of violence including 40,000 murders (Huston, et al, 1992).
Huston, A.C. et al (1992). Big world, small screen: The role of television in American society. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

We have to write a one thousand word essay on different theories of the effect of media violence. So I've been reading the handout we were given (big thick wodge of photocopies, mostly from psychology review and psych textbooks, but the last section from Wiki, which I queried in class because my last year teacher said never use Wiki it doesn't count. This year teacher doesn't know what Wiki is, yet uses it for class handouts. This causes me to worry, just a little. /tangent). A lot of these bits of research tweak my Agenda sensors big time, people going hunting for what they are sure are there, bit of a worry.

But those numbers up there? I started with the 11,000 number and wanted to hunt a source, and then found that 40,000. And both numbers worry me. For I did Math.
(possibly badly - poke me if I'm wrong)
Read more... )

Governments are/were making policy based on research that turns out to be based on incorrect media reports. Moral panics steer the nation's legal system. Shallow and *daft*.


Sorry. This is kind of why I'm not studying Sociology next year - it winds me up immensely, deals with these big huge things, and yet I can't figure anything I can do to make better. With studying stories I can make better stories, but making a better society is a bit out of my power.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Right.  I've reached 'sod it' point with this essay.  2200 words precisely, by my reckoning.  Covers the topics.  Answers the question, I very much hope.  And I'm not at all sure my most recent changes have in fact improved it.  In fact they maybe started making it worse.  So, I post it so I can pick it up from college.

beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I'm reading more of that 'Sex and the Slayer' book.
And once again getting in arguments about it.

It talks about how female action heroes are masculinized, but it doesn't say what it means. Unless it means that action hero violence is traditionally masculine. In which case a woman doing a man thing would be masculinized. But if the point is its a woman doing it, isn't the action feminized?

and it talks about technology/mysticism as a masculine/feminine thing.
at which point I get the 'missed a memo' feeling.
Hello, Merlin? Male wizards throughout mythology past? Giles, Ethan? Are they saying that wizards don't count, or are feminized, because mysticism is feminine?
coming up with female technology... er, I'm basically getting dildos, which isn't helpful to the discussion at all.
Or washing machines.
Or motorbikes, actually, but in a 'things that buzz' association, so I think I'd best change the subject.
Er, more seriously, theres the whole Information Revolution thingy, where computers change work. And a ton of people I know on the computer are women. And Oracle in the Batman comics (name sounds mystical, powers are all comuter use and brains). And, okay, tech geek stereotype remains male, but surely daily experience says women use computers a lot? I don't know.

From where I'm standing its about power. Men traditionally have had it, be it via magic or mechanisms. In other depictions women wield it. Witches as women in old stories were women using power and being shown as evil and burned because of it. If we get stories now where women have power and aren't burned, yaays.

Theres more complicated thoughts that go with more complicated non-binary genders, but at the moment I can't have them at the same time as these. My thoughts are puzzle pieces lacking a few connecting bits.

I need to find a page with a list that says 'masculine/feminine' and then *tells me why*. Like, point out the pattern, which stories are they using for evidence, or is it just an 'everybody (except becca) knows' thing.
Otherwise it just confuzzles me all to bitses.

I think I'll just stick to 'girls with power, yaays!'

and, okay, maybe pointing out how saying individual women have power kind of lands the responsibility for inequality back on individual women.
Like, there was a bit in the paper the other day about how the new government plan for reducing the pay gap was to get women better careers advice in schools so they stop choosing low paid jobs.
As opposed to, say, the plan suggested logically by a seperate bit in the paper about a recently won equal pay case that got jobs like nurse and cleaner pay equal to what those responsibilities in another job (done by men) would get. When they got... I've forgotten the exact figures, but many many many of money, because they were being paid less than the work was worth.
Surely thats the kind of pay gap governments need to worry about? Deal with the kind of system that sets 'women's' jobs as low paid even when same work different label gets more?

Relating this back to the Buffyverse... I don't know. Maybe something about how Buffy 'graduates' from the Watchers to work (and run out of money) independently, but there is no big Watcher reform thingy to make equality? There is no forming a union with other potential Slayers. Hrrrm, except maybe last season? Make more Slayers, all have power now.
Still don't get paid.

I'm wandering. I go read again.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
the orange highlighter will not stay on its own side of the page. stick with yellow I will have to. but the new pen makes these little dots at the end of words that are beginning to irritate me.

I highlighted back at the beginning of the textbook.
Norms, values, statuses and roles.
It being the simplified definition bit it has a lot about how its all necessary for everyone to agree and fit the boxes in order to get everything working smoothly.

Ethan is not a fit the boxes kind of guy.

In class we heard about how if people break role, or deliberately act in a role that is inappropriate or unusual for them, it tends to really wind people up. Roles are about being predictable, and unpredicatable bugs people.

I have a fic bunny about how Ethan and Giles broke up - and not because of Eyghon. Because of Chaos. Because there's this bit in the Chaos magic book about understanding different ways of seeing the world by becoming that kind of person for a while - like understanding Christians by going to church and all that for a while. So in my head Ethan decided that would be cool and useful, and went and tried on different places for size. Or different roles, in textbook language. And it would drive anyone nuts who was living with him, because he wouldn't be the same him one day to the next. Unpredictable, and not just in a 'what crazy thing will he do next?' fun times way, but in a 'will he act like my boyfriend today or not?' way. No putting up with that.

Also, it really annoys people if they think you are *playing* a role. Faking it, I mean. If you are imitating or acting like someone you aren't, that really winds people up. Like its a big systematic lie about who you are. And also, it kind of undermines the system, if people can fake parts of it.

Book said that gender is an ascribed status. Born that way and cannot change. Obviously this is the simplified bit of the book (it says so at the end of the definitions section). Because some people do change. But, other people tend to get wound up by the idea. Because they're messing with things other people think of as solid maybe? Or like with roles, not liking when people 'fake' them?

But you can change roles and status and stuff too. Like, occupational status. You can change jobs. And once you've learned the new job you aren't considered to be faking it and 'really' a whatever-you-were-before, right?
Except now I've said that I'm sure it isn't always true.

The book used clothing as a specific example of norms. There are lots of norms about clothing. And of course I went and started thinking about Halloween again, because I always do. Changing everyone into their clothes.
Clothes go with roles, right? Like, business suit, business role. Or doctor coat and doctor role. If you try being a patient in a doctor coat, much confusion.
So in that way, all the rest of the time, people assume a lot about how you are going to act by how you dress. Norms about clothes connect up with roles, and people think predictable behaviour goes with particular clothes.
Only on Halloween it isn't so much the clothes as the *time*, the role on Halloween is all about it being that day of the year, not any other markers.
Halloween clothes on other days of the year, very different reaction.
So Ethan spell made everyone be acting like the role they looked like, ignoring what the day was.

There was a bit in the cut bits of the script that made it clear Giles dressed tweedy because he was being teacher-role. Which is clear from later changes in clothes when he isn't in school any more, too. But Giles chose the role and then the clothes to go with it. Costume people chose the clothes and spell squished them into roles.

Okay, I'm not sure I'm using words right or making any sense. I go do something else.

Everything in my head connects to Buffy. That doesn't mean its all good connections.


beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)

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