Answer & Explanation:Review
and reflect on the readings and film issues. Consider these questions
and post your responses in the discussion forum. Remember to respond to
classmates posts as well.
What is theory?How does theory help us understand media and our experience of it?Hall says ideology is encoded into all media messages, how do we
recognize ideology in media? Is Hall’s concept of ideology encoding and
audience decoding important to understanding media experience?What does bell hooks say about critical thinking and why is it valuable?Does critical thinking about media improve or diminish media appreciation?
Article 1The Whites of their Eyes Reading Notes
Hegemony is the power or dominance that one social group holds over
others…more than social power itself, but a method for gaining and
maintaining power.
Hegemony is “fragile…requires renewal & modification through assertion, reassertion of power” (Lull, p. 61).
Ideology is “Media’s main sphere of operations is the production and transformation of  ideology” (Hall, 89).
Media are a means of ideological production and contribute to the
reaffirmation of existing ideas and power relationships. This
ideological work helps secure hegemony over time.
Stuart Hall identified how media creators encode ideology into messages. Then audiences decode ideology from messages. 
Hall identifies these three types of decoding, receiving or interpreting message.
Dminant—Person interprets message according to intended meaning or dominant ideology.Negotiated—Person interprets message meaning in negotiation with
own experience and knowledge, accepts some ideology and rejects some
ideology.Oppositional—Interprets message in contradiction to intended meaning or ideology.
Hall says
Media’s main sphere of operations is the production and transformation of ideologies.Ideologies articulate or connect different elements into a chain or
set of meanings and are not the product of individual consciousness.Ideologies form part of the determinate social formations and conditions into which individuals are born.Ideologies provide us with the means of making sense of social relations and our place within them.Transformation of ideology is therefore a collective process.Ideologies work by constructing positions of identification and
knowledge which people voice as ideological truths as if they were
authentic authors.

Hall, S. (2003). The whites of their eyes: Racist ideologies and the media. In G. Hines & J. Humez (Eds.), Gender, race, and class in media: A critical reader. (81 – 84). New York, NY: Sage. Article2The Color Blind Double Bind Reading NotesPolitically Responsive Constructionist Theory of Communication (PRCT)
contends that radical encounters with otherness are critical to the
dialogic project.
Scholars argue that race dominance ideology or white racism creates
blinders that significantly and perhaps irreparably inhibit the
possibility of meaningful dialogue about race across the color line
(DuBois, 1903).
Can PRCT model be applied specifically to the possibility of dialogue across racial lines?
Simpson argues, that a discourse of color blindness hinders dialogue about race in the US.
University campus efforts to foster dialogue and to build a welcoming
and diverse community present a case where color-blind stance narrowed
the discursive space in which interracial dialogue could occur.
Stepping out of discourses of color blindness in favor of a
discursive context that recognizes both the limitless human potential
inherent in all people and the differential historical and material
realities that persist on the basis of race is a critical starting

Simpson, J. L. (2008). The color blind double bind: Whiteness and the (im)possibility of Dialogue. Communication Theory, 18(1), 139-159. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2885.2007.00317.xArticle 3Communication Theories

Communication theory helps explain media dynamics. The following are
definitions of theories developed from research findings and commonly
used to explain observed results of media research.

Table 3.1: Communication Theories



SOCIAL COGNITIVE THEORY (also called Social Learning Theory)

Albert Bandura helped develop this theory which encompasses
both imitation and identification to explain how people learn through
observation of others in their environments and can base behavior on
symbolic representations of behavior in media.


A treatise on the sociology of knowledge. Media contribute to
the construction of our social reality (Berger P. L. & Luckmann, T.


Media are responsible to inform the public in a democracy. Developed from 1948 Hutchins Commission Report findings.


Idea that gender equality is a social value.


George Gerbner and others’ research helped develop this theory
to explain research findings that mass media exposure cultivates a view
of the world that is consistent with mediated reality in heavy viewers.

Theories help explain Media Production, Distribution, Exhibition and Consumption.

Table 3.2: Communication Theories




Theory that explains society in terms of production, distribution and consumption of goods and services.


Struggle between social classes, the owners of means of production & the production workers, underlies all political issues.


Decisions on resource allocation are left to the independent
decisions of individual producers and consumers acting in their own best
interests without central direction (Baumol & Blinder, 1988).


All ideas are put before the public and a democratic public will choose the best ideas.

Theory helps explain media-audience relationships & meaning construction

Table 3.3: Communication Theories
Predicts media usage according to the human needs media satisfy.
Emphasizes the inherent use of group comparisons in managing
identity needs and recognizes the important role that media images play
in this process (Mastro et al, 2008, p4)
Erving Goffman helped develop this analysis method and theory,
which explains how frames or sets of expectations are used to make
sense of social situations and frames use cues to help interpret or plan
Explains how media images can stimulate related thoughts in the minds of the audience.
Explains how media help determine what is important, because
though they don’t tell us what to think, media does tell us what to
think about.
Explains the media power to decide what to present to the public and what to withhold from public. FilmCultural Criticism and Transformation Film Notes

Watch Cultural Criticism and Transformation (66 minutes).

Watch the film for this lesson.

Filmmaker Info and Transcript are available online.


Part 1: On Cultural Criticism

Why Study Popular Culture?  Because “popular culture is the primary pedagogical medium, it is where the learning or pedagogy is.

Critical Thinking as Transformation

Critical thinking is at the heart of anybody transforming their lives.We all use culture to negotiate the politics of difference to develop agency.Hooks found the primary difference between students in or not in
conditions of privilege, was a profound difference in their sense of
The Power of Representation

Who has power to create representations and decide who does what to whom?Who determines meaning of representations?Hooks discusses films Kids and Braveheart.
Motivated Representations

Hooks examines: What motivation caused Wayne Wang to cast thief as African American in film Smoke, beyond economic profit?What motivates reproduction of dehumanizing stereotypes in gender, race and other representations?
Why? white supremacist capitalist patriarchy

Hooks uses the phrase to describe an institutional structure with
interlocking systems of domination that define our reality… and we all
frame ourselves in relation to this political world.We will not understand if we only look through the lens of race or of gender.
Enlightened Witness

We observe representations and responses with a proactive sense of agency.We use our literacy, media literacy and our critical thinking to determine what we see and to decolonize out minds
Part 2: Doing Cultural Criticism

Constructed Narrative

Hooks discussed documentary Hoop Dreams (1990) as a constructed narrative and not a complete account. 
Dealing with OJ

News constructed as race based spectacle, though the public response was similar across race.Guy Debord (1967) Society of the Spectacle, described this media behavior pattern.
Madonna: From Feminism to Patriarchy

Hooks describes how her feminist celebrity was reinvented as realigned patriarchy.
Spike Lee: Hollywood’s Fall Guy

Hooks questions how filmmaker Lee’s success is framed as failure in Hollywood media.
The Voyeur’s Gaze

Critical analysis of the film KIDS, described as an example of how
the media seduces audiences with images of “transgression”, which
actually reinforce and do not challenge gender and race based hegemony
with stereotyped images of sexual and racial domination.
Rap: Authentic expression or market construct?  

Hooks says it is important to examine distinctions between
authentic cultural expression or voice and economically constructed
media products that use gender and race based hegemony.
Color Coding Black Female Bodies

Hooks explores continuing patterns of gender and race based
subordination in media including reinscribing a color based caste
system, where ideas of authenticity become meaningless.
Consuming Commodified Blackness

Imitation of cultural difference is different from real change rooted in cultural understanding.It is possible to consume culturally distinctive products, without ever building deeper cultural understanding of difference.This allows white privilege to remain unexamined.
Hooks claims Americans are obsessed with transgression and content
that grabs our attention, but does not really challenge race, gender,
and other hegemony systems. 


Jhally, S. (1997). Cultural criticism & transformation. [Motion picture]. Northampton, MA. Media Education Foundation.

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