In class today we discussed two articles, and what we should have taken out of them.
Jason Mittell’s Introduction to Television and American Culture
Jonathan Gray’s Intertextuality and the Study of Texts
In the first part of class we went over Jason Mittell’s Introduction to Television and American culture. Some important information we went over was how Television should be studied. Mittell states that there are six functions of television and they all work together and cannot be realized without the others. The six functions are a commercial industry, a democratic institution, a textual form, a site of cultural representation, a part of everyday life, and a technological medium. As a commercial industry, Mittell is referring to the $100 billion in profit this industry makes annually through advertising, cable fees, DVD sales, etc. Television also serves as America’s watchdog by covering news and current events; this is how television is part of our democracy. As a textual form, television has its own unique “narrative structure” and genres that separate it from other media. Television is without a doubt a mirror held up to our society, often revealing our identity or distorting it. As much as some of us wish it weren’t, television is a part of our daily lives, with many of us watching at least 5 hours a day. Lastly, television is a technology, constantly advancing and becoming the center of most homes.
Perhaps the most important thing we learned in class today was the definition of Intertextuality, which is a way text connects to other texts.
Also in Jason Mittells article was a short history of American’s television development and evolution.
The Classic Network Era-
- 1940s until the mid-1980s
- established norms that still persist today
- network system (ABC, CBS, and NBC)
- audiences watched en masses simultaneously
The Multi-Channel Era-
- cable and satellite programming
- mass audiences supplanted by demographically defined market segments
- remote controls & VCRs
- households with multiple sets
- niche audiences
The Convergence Era-
- controlled by audience
- Tivo & DVR
In Jonathan Gray’s, Intertextuality and the Study of Texts, he delves more into the way texts can talk to texts and be better interpreted by putting past texts into consideration.
An important quote taken from this text says that, “text and content bleed into each other, becoming intermingled: the text is (of) the world, while the world is (made of) texts.”
Continuing from that statement is another quote taken from one of the four models of intertextuality. In the fully interactive model, not only does it agree with the Bakhtin dialogic theory that text talk to text, but it says that, “Every utterance begins as a response to something else, and ends prepared or otherwise, as something to be responded to. All communication, in other words, is but one link in a continuous chain of speech performance.”
Other models of intertextuality are…
The Hierarchal model states that intertextuality is restricted to influence. It says that reading one text influences the other. Also, meaning travels unidirectly, or past towards present. This model is very textcentric.
The Working Together model says that texts means teams. Each text performs a specific function. It supports the mean world theorem, which agrees with the idea that, because Americans are inundated with violent imagery, America is seen as more violent than it actually is. This is also called cultivation analysis.
The Divided Responsibility Model says that different genres fulfill different tasks. Also, to understand a text the researcher must place it within the context of the users or readers overall patterns of consumption.