Sunday, March 1, 2009

Marcus' weekly questions

Q1) I agree with Ang’s argument that a great deal of academic research has a potential commercial benefit. I would argue that benefit does not always taint the research, and I would also agree that just about any research can be used politically. But I think it goes deeper than that – I think that a great deal of academic research begins because of commercial funding, either directly or through tuition dollars, so it’s difficult to disconnect it from the economic sphere. But that turns it into a chicken-or-the-egg scenario, and it’s impossible to determine completely if the market drives research or if research drives the market. So would it not be better to simply analyze the whole structure holistically, instead of critiquing one particular research field or academic practice?

Q2) If journalism traditionally reflects masculine hegemony, as Parameswaran suggests, then what does the future hold for feminism, journalism and journalism studies? The most patriarchal media are dying out, with newspapers leading the way – and even they aren’t as patriarchal as they once were, I think I’ve had one male managing editor in the … pause for thought, glance at a calendar since I’m awful at math … 22 months since I graduated undergrad, and most of my editors at the Trinity newspaper were also female. So as newspapers evolve and the internet continues to grow, will media studies and new media retain that same masculine tone? I doubt they will – I don’t think newspapers or TV news will cease entirely, but I think that the traditional hegemonic tone will have to change, since, well, they won’t be in charge anymore.

Q3-5) I agree with Williams, or at least with what I think Williams was trying to say – hegemony is complicated. It’s not always that a government or a media elite are trying to subjugate folks with particular ideologies, it’s just the standard practice that a culture has grown accustomed to. I’d agree with Gabino that most people don’t think about it every day, and I’d wager that most academics don’t integrate the concept into their personal lives. But if it’s not “singular,” as he argues, then how do you distinguish its natural elements with its media-influenced criteria? What if there are personal influences beyond media and political structures – are the media and political spheres of Austin pushing a pro-UT hegemony, for example, or is it simply that people in this town have personal ties to the school? And would that hegemony – which I don’t think has been studied in as great a detail – even be all that negative?

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