Posts Tagged ‘postmodernism’
And if you want something to add to your classroom walls, they’ve also produced some basic Sociology posters:
This set of Notes was originally part of a textbook chapter looking at the impact on audiences of different types of old and new media, something I mention by way of explanation for both the general focus and lack of depth in the Notes.
Without wishing to bore you with the intimate details of dealing with publishers and exam boards, there’s always a certain tension between the amount of depth and detail demanded by the latter and the number of print pages a publisher is willing to support – and while each has their reasons it’s akin, for an author, to steering an unhappy course between Cilia and Charybdis.
The point of this little preamble is that textbook chapters are always a compromise between cramming in as much information as possible about a topic and the level of detail with which that topic can be treated. In other words, while these Notes mention quite a few ideas none are developed in any great depth.
What they should give you, however, is a series of signposts to some of the most significant ideas in this area that, should you see the need, can be pursued and developed with additional Notes of your own. In this respect the Notes cover things like:
- social identities and social spaces
- a post-effects approach
- perverse spectators: immanent and activated meanings.
- audience as media
- positive effects of new media
- negative effects of new media
I’ve called this a “Lesson Outline” (rather than Plan) because it’s designed to introduce and to some extent explain the related concepts of simulacra and hyperreality using practical examples to illustrate the processes.
What the Outline does is treat the related concepts of simulacra and hyperreality in more-depth than in usually the case with most Sociology A-Level textbooks; this isn’t a criticism of such books, rather an observation that there’s rarely enough space available to treat the concepts with the depth I think they deserve. In this respect the Outline details 1sr, 2nd and 3rd order simulacra and, in relation to the latter, hyperreality.
Whether or not you chose to go with the practical stuff is really up to you – it’s indicative rather than prescriptive – and there are no fancy timings or whatever to guide you through your use of the materials.
I have included a short (3 minute) video resource (https://youtu.be/ilps5xefBp8) you can use alongside the printed resource – again, nothing too fancy or prescriptive, just 6 short (around 30 seconds) clips you can integrate into your lesson if you so choose.
Download Lesson Outline (pdf)
This is the second of a two-part series looking at the relationship between modernity, postmodernity and the development of sociological theory and in this set of Teaching Notes the focus is on two main areas:
1 Identifying the basic economic, political and cultural characteristics of postmodernity.
2, Outlining a range of sociological theories we can loosely associate with postmodernity.
A significant feature of what we might call “crime in postmodernity” is the idea that the media, in all its many forms, plays a central role in the construction of criminogenic discourses, where the role of the media is twofold.
First, media are important because they propagate and, in some senses, control organise, criticise, promote and demote (marginalise) a variety of competing narratives.
Second, none of these is especially important in itself (teachers and students, for example, probably do most of these things); they become important, however, in the context of power and the ability to represent the interests of powerful voices in society.
In a situation where knowledge, as Sarup (1989) argues, is ‘fragmented, partial and contingent’ (‘relative’ or dependent on your particular viewpoint), and Milovanovic (1997) contends ‘there are many truths and no over-encompassing Truth is possible’, the role of the media assumes crucial significance in relation to perceptions of crime and deviance in contemporary societies. In this respect, media organisation takes two forms:
- Media discourses (generalised characterisations such as crime as ‘a social problem’) and
- Media narratives – particular ‘supporting stories’ that contribute to the overall construction of a ‘deviance discourse’ – instances, for example, where deviance is portrayed in terms of how it represents a ‘social problem’.
Harari’s “The theatre of terror” article is worth reading because it explicitly sees terrorism as a form of “spectacle” in contemporary Western societies – an idea referenced by Kidd-Hewitt and Osborne (1995) when they argue crime in general can be seen in terms of postmodern spectacle, a general “crime discourse” driven by two main narratives:
- Fear, whereby crime and deviance are represented in terms of threat – ‘the criminal’ as a cultural icon of fear (both in personal and more general social terms) – a narrative that involves both warnings about behaviour, the extent of crime and its consequences and risk assessments, in terms of the likelihood of becoming a victim of crime, for example.
- Fascination: Crime and deviance represent ‘media staples’ used to sell newspapers, encourage us to watch TV programmes (factual and fictional), visit news sites and so forth.
These two narratives (fear and fascination) come together when postmodernists discuss deviance in terms of spectacle – crime is interesting (and sells media products) because of the powerful combination of fear and fascination.