COM323 Notes.docx - COM323 Communication on Popular Culture Ch 1 The death of the author merely refers to the change in attitude toward the role of the

COM323 Notes.docx - COM323 Communication on Popular Culture...

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COM323 : Communication on Popular Culture Ch. 1 “The death of the author” merely refers to the change in attitude toward the role of the author in our interpretation of literary works. In the early decades of the twentieth century, students of literature were taught that the author was our primary concern in reading a literary work: our task was to examine the author’s life in order to discover what the author meant to communicate—his or her message, theme, or moral—which is called authorial intention . the author is no longer considered a meaningful object of analysis. We focus, instead, on the reader; on the ideological, rhetorical, or aesthetic structure of the text; or on the culture in which the text was produced, usually without reference to the author. Theory can help us learn to see ourselves and our world in valuable new ways, ways that can influence how we educate our children, both as parents and teachers; how we view television, from the nightly news to situation comedies; how we behave as voters and consumers; how we react to others with whom we do not agree on social, religious, and political issues; and how we recognize and deal with our own motives, fears, and desires. Think of each theory as a new pair of eye‐ glasses through which certain elements of our world are brought into focus while others, of course, fade into the background. In fact, one of the most important things theory can show us is that methodologies are ways of seeing the world, whether we’re talking about physics or sociology, literature, or medicine. Thus, competition among theories has always had a strong political dimension in at least two senses of the word political : (1) differ‐ ent theories offer very different interpretations of history and of current events, including interpretations of government policies, and (2) advocates of the most popular theories of the day usually receive the best jobs and the most funding for their projects. It would be more useful to think of theories, to continue the metaphor, as mixed bouquets, each of which can contain a few of the flowers that predominate in or that serve different pur‐ poses in other bouquets. Thus, for example, while Marxism focuses on the socioeconomic considerations that underlie human behavior, it doesn’t exclude the psychological domain of human experience; rather, when it addresses human psychology, it does so in order to demonstrate how psychological experience is produced by socioeco‐ nomic factors rather than by the causes usually posited by psychoanalysis. Similarly, while feminist analysis often draws on psychoanalytic and Marxist concepts, it uses them to illuminate feminist concerns: for example, to examine the ways in which women are psychologically and socioeconomically oppressed.
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