Media Overlo(rds)ad…

“Discourses produce knowledge and knowledge is always a weapon of power” (Storey130).

I was quite impressed with the way Storey wrote on the relationship between discourse and power. Power, although not defined within Storey, was defined in Michel Foucault’s “The History of Sexuality”. Power is not defined in terms of traditional physical domination, it is a force, much like wind currents, that cannot be pinpointed at any exact location, it moves from all angles to any common point. It does, however, seek to control in a form of categorizing (Storey130). With that in mind, it was interesting looking at the syllogism Storey used to explain the discourse-power relationship. If one examines the thoughts of sexuality in Victorian England that takes on the form of letters, works, paintings, medical texts, etc. one can see the overall opinion, or knowledge of sexuality. It is with this opinion that power is exerted over sexuality in Victorian English society, for the categorization of any thoughts or actions that bear resemblance to sexuality are then grouped, and society has a way of exerting control over its own thoughts.

In the way of education, this comes to be a limiting factor in acquiring knowledge. Paul Freire in his work, “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” would certainly agree, as, “Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention” (Friere72). Categorizing no doubt would make it easier to teach subjects, as concepts with common topics will be grouped together such as the STEM programs (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). The challenge lies in that these categorizations are only through the discourse at any given time, therefore knowledge and opinion in society at large are responsible for the education structure at any given time. What does that mean? It means that our education is contingent with the public opinion, therefore, could it be said that it is media that controls what we read and understand, since public opinion is transferred using mediums such as newspaper, reporters, radio, and any other such modes of communication?

It means that our education is contingent with the public opinion, therefore, could it be said that it is media that controls what we read and understand, since public opinion is transferred using mediums such as newspaper, reporters, radio, and any other such modes of communication?

It means that our education is contingent with the public opinion, therefore, could it be said that it is media that controls what we read and understand, since public opinion is transferred using mediums such as newspaper, reporters, radio, and any other such modes of communication?

2 responses to “Media Overlo(rds)ad…

  1. You posed some interesting questions here, and I was reading two things (from two different classes) immediately came to mind for me. First, was the sociological aspect. This seemed to answer your question in some way. Media is definitely a huge factor on public opinion. The most glaring example of this is in the phenomenon of crime waves. Crime waves do not actually exist, but increased media attention on a certain crime causes people to believe that it is more prevalent or pervasive in society than it actually is.

    The second idea that came to mind (and this was somewhat spurred by your picture) was the linguistic perspective. This may offer some answers, but also poses more questions. I just recently finished a project about metaphors (based on readings from by Lakoff and Johnsen) and how they are deeply rooted in not just what we say, but also our thoughts and actions. In this sense, language controls the way we think about certain topics because of an effect the authors called “highlighting and hiding.” Some aspects of an idea are promoted, while others are not. For example, the metaphor “argument is war” highlights the battling, two-sided aspects of argument while hiding cooperative aspects of people listening to each other and trying to come to an agreement. This is evident in the language we use to talk about arguing: “I have to defend my position,” “I will win the argument,” “She attacked the weak points of my argument,” etc.

  2. Interesting post. I like what you have mentioned here about how categorization and discourse can be an effective method to help teaching; however, it will cause issues when it comes to content. Having the media and society structure what is taught in school would make it difficult to structure a well balanced education. Dewey also had issues when it comes to structuring content when it comes to his plans for progressive education, and I find that the categorization and discourse method would find a similar situation.

    A question I have would be who decides what the “opinions of society” are and which discourse should be taught in school? I know a lot of popular topics being discussed in the media and with my peers, but what I am learning in school right now is completely separate from these topics being discussed in society.

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