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Super Media: A Cultural Studies Approach.

The question which focuses this text is "What kind of culture are we creating?" For Michael Real, super media are "technologically relayed communications" (20) which "create, express, and reflect culture." (36) Likewise, they contribute to the development of personal identity and consciousness.

Using a cultural studies approach, the text begins by examining the empirical, structural, critical, and ritual dimensions of the media. Subjects examined through these methodologies include the Academy Awards, the Cosby show, gender in film directing, the cold war in film and television, and the Olympics Games.

Claiming that super media cannot "provide objective, undistorted access to reality" (251), Real's approach (and that of cultural studies in general) recognizes that "the institutional context of production, the latent messages in a text, the group identities of the audience, the history and cultural context in which each discrete communication act takes place -- these constitute the larger importance of how super media and society interact." (251)

Concluding, Real posits four characteristics of super media: (1) they pervade human culture, (2) they structure human experience, (3) they express social power, and (4) they celebrate human solidarity. What kind of culture are we creating? And understanding of the super media and their interaction with culture will begin to provide an answer.
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Author:Coleman, William E., Jr.
Publication:ETC.: A Review of General Semantics
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 22, 1993
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