New terms and ideas that I am being exposed to in the book Practices of Looking by Marita Sturken and Lisa Cartwright.

] Spectacle [

A term that generally refers to something that is striking or impressive in its visual display. The term spectacle was used by French theorist Guy Debord, in his book Society of the Spectacle, to describe how representations dominate contemporary culture, and all social relations are mediated by and through images.

] Mass Media [

Those media which are designed to reach mass audiences, and that work in unison to generate specific dominant or popular representations of events, people and places.

] Medium [

A form in which artistic or cultural products are made. The term media is the plural of medium, but is often used in the singular, as the media, to describe the constellation of media industries that together influence public opinion.

] The Medium is the message [

A phrase popularized by Marshall McLuhan to refer to ways that media affect viewers regardless of their messages. McLuhan stated that a medium affects content, since it is an extension of our individual bodies, and that one cannot understand and evaluate a message unless one first takes into account of the medium through one receives it. Hence, McLuhan felt that a medium such as television has the power to impose “its structural character and assumptions upon all levels of our private and social lives.”

] Television flow [

A term by cultural theorist Raymond Williams to describe the way that television incorporates interruption, such as television commercials and the break between programs, into a seemingly continuous flow so that everything on the TV Screen is seen as part of a one single entertainment experience.

] Mass Culture [

Term used historically to refer to the culture and society of the general population, often with negative connotation. Mass society implies that with the centralization on people into cities, these people received the majority of their opinions and information not locally or within their family but from a larger society in which mass media proliferate. The culture of this society has been characterized as a mass culture. It implies that this is a culture for ordinary people who are subjected to the same messages, hence one that fosters conformity and homogeneity. Both these terms have been criticized for reducing specific cultures to an undifferentiated mass.

] Frankfurt school [

A group of scholars and social theorists , working first in Germany in the 1930s and then primarily in the US, who were interested in applying Marxist theory to the new forms of cultural productions and social life in 20c capitalist societies. The Frankfurt School scholars rejected Enlightenment philosophy, stating that reason did not free people but rather became a force in the rise of technical expertise, the expression of instrumental reason divorced from wider goals of human emancipation, and the exploitation of people, making systems of social domination more efficient and effective.

] Public Sphere [

A term which originated with German theorist J├╝rgen Habermas that defines a space where citizens come together to debate and discuss the pressing issues of their society. Habermas defined this as an ideal space in which well-informed citizens would discuss matters of common public interest outside of the context of private interests. It is generally understood that Habermas’ ideal public sphere has never been realized because of the integration of private interests into public life, and because it did not take into account relations of class, race, and gender and how these define unequal access to public space. The term has been used more recently in the plural to refer to the multiple public spheres in which people debate contemporary issues.

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