Media and Self-Construction: Theoretical Issues
In the introduction, I pointed to the tendency for both popular and academic analyses of mass media to fall into one side of a binary of activity/passivity in describing the relationship of the audience to forms of mass media. Secondly through the work of Morley I identified the issue of subjectivity — and the inadequate theorization of the same — as the source of at least some of this tendency toward oversimplification, and pointed to the challenges of such theorization in a postmodern cultural context. In this chapter, I want to elucidate a theoretical model, the ‘hermeneutic social subject’, that may meet some of these challenges. This model, rooted in the neo-pragmatist philosophical tradition, can provide the foundation for a more coherent and nuanced understanding of the power of mass media for practices of self-construction and self-reflection, topics rendered nearly invisible in the move toward ‘de-subjectified’ analytical approaches.
KeywordsMedia Audience Popular Culture Symbolic Structure Social Subject Hermeneutic Perspective
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