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By Douglas Kellner

Pt. 1. Theory/context/methods -- pt. 2. Diagnostic critique and cultural stories -- pt. three. Media culture/identities/politics

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Extra info for Media Culture: Cultural Studies, Identity and Politics between the Modern and the Post-modern

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This schema distinguishes between “dominant” readings, whereby audiences appropriate texts in line with the interests of the dominant culture and the ideological intentions of a text, as when audiences feel pleasure in the restoration of male power, law and order, and social stability at the end of a film like Die Hard, after the hero and representatives of authority eliminate the terrorists who had taken over a highrise corporate headquarters. ) observes resistance to dominant readings when, during repeated viewings of a videotape of the film in a shelter for 38 Theory/context/methods the homeless, the inhabitants cheered the destruction of police and authority figures in the scenes in which the villains take over the building.

Thus, a critical theory of society contains mappings of how society as a whole is organized, delineating its fundamental structures, institutions, practices, and discourses, and how they fit together into a social system. Critical social theory can utilize the concept of articulation to denote how various societal components are organized into the production of, say, conservative hegemony, or in the popularity of a Madonna. The concept of articulation was introduced by British cultural studies and has become central to its practice (see Hall, 1986b; Grossberg, 1992; and the fast genealogy of the concept in Jameson 1994).

Interpreting the cinematic text of Rambo thus involves the use of film theory, social history, political analysis and ideology critique, and other modes of cultural criticism, as I will illustrate in the next chapter. 17 Crossing borders inevitably pushes one to the boundaries of class, gender, race, sexuality, ethnicity, and the other characteristics that differentiate individuals from each other and through which people construct their identities. Thus, most forms of cultural studies, and most critical social theories, have engaged feminism and the various multicultural theories, enriching their projects with theoretical and political substance derived from the new critical and multicultural discourses that have emerged since the 1960s.

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