Wk 1: Introduction

Week 1: Introduction

I am astounded at the simplicity of this system by Jos and yet how powerfully it works. Thanks to Dr Tama Leaver from WEB101, who directed me to this amazing blog by a past student. This could be crucial to my learning.

The following reading summary (in italics) has been entirely copied verbatim from their site. The reflections are my own.

Reading: Cultural Criticisms, Berger, A. A.

Reading Review (from Jos’s Blog)

Berger discusses his study on popular culture, mass media and everyday life.  He depicts that the study focuses on everyday life of “… ordinary people and on their routines, their attitudes, beliefs and ways of functioning …”. (1995, p. 163)  In particular, he studies the effects of media on ordinary people, in respects to, how they feel, perceive information, their thoughts, beliefs, values, morals and more.  In his article he shows that it could be “… possible to draw a line between mass-mediated culture … though in some cases it would be very faint or … nonexistent.” (p. 164)  If we were to look at everyday life, from a sociological perspective, then we could enhance our understanding further of the connections between mass media, and ordinary people.

One other thing discussed by Berger (when quoting Young), was the difference between the everyday and the anyday. The everyday, Young proposed, was something that happened to you everyday, whilst things that could happen anyday but do not occur everyday are different.

Learnings:

I disagree with Young’s theory as stated by Berger, because as Jane Pettigrew stated on our discussion board, a person may go to the gym twice a week and for them that is their everyday, not their anyday. Also, after much reflection, I have concluded that the only universal activity that is an everyday, that happens to the majority of people on the planet, are bodily functions. Mobility, sleeping, toileting. You cannot include other things to be available for the majority of people. What we may class as everyday actions, such as eating or drinking, may not be a reality for some of the heaviest populations that live in third world regions. Food may only be available on a weekly basis. Clean drinking water may not be available at all. Many people who live in third world regions do not have the capacity to walk, or talk and because of their large numbers, surely that too would sway the everyday into an anyday.

So because of these thoughts, I tend to feel that the everyday is the bland continual events that make up most, if not all, days. Events and actions that when not completed, would be missed and noticed.

References

‘Everyday Life’ and ‘Conclusion’ sections (pp. 163 to 165) of Berger, A. A. (1995). Sociological Theory and Cultural Criticism. In Cultural Criticism: A Primer of Key Concepts (pp. 135-165). Sage Publications.

iLecture: Elaine Tay Introduction

An hour long lecture that deals with what on campus students could expect to have happen. It was a 2009 lecture so all the dates given were irrelevant. The audio was atrocious and unfortunately the speaker has a strong accent and when mixed into a tinny sounding audio clip, was almost impossible to understand. I fell asleep twice listening to it. I have yet to get beyond the 35th minute.

Learnings:

If you attend Curtin university for this course, take a pillow to lectures.

Activities

1. Mindmap.

Ludicrous idea that seems to continually expand, especially when you have 190 students all trying to add to it. There seemed to be little purpose to it, except perhaps to make it as large as possible with as little cohesion as can be easily achieved. We were given no instructions on how to use it, or what it’s purpose was for, or what the ‘end goal’ of it is, but we will be working on this throughout the whole study period. I had added sufficient ‘nodes’ to this to receive an adequate pass in this area. The whole point of this is completely beyond me.

2. Individual: your own experience of the Internet:

When and how did you first go online and what did you think of it?

I honestly don’t recall that far back. I do know it was in the 80’s sometime and that it was via Bulletin Boards. I used a 14.4k modem which was SUPER FAST compared to my friend’s 9.6kbps. Later, I attempted IRC but found it confusing and then sometime in the 90’s I discovered ICQ. By 1998, I was already creating ‘web sites’ (and oh my God, they were truly atrocious, clunky, ugly things) and in 1999 I had my first (and only) pirated music site. It was hosted at Fortune City I think (or maybe I moved it there from Tripod or Lighthouse or one of the other free hosters). I remember I had to constantly move my site from free host to free host about every 3 months to prevent being blacklisted. My site specifically hosted Modern Country Music, all recorded at less than 50kps to allow for fast downloading and the inability to burn it to other media (without it sounding tinny and distorted). In those days, of course, it never occurred to me that I was pirating music. I thought i was ‘spreading the word’ of some great artists and ‘getting their name out there’ like a zealous groupie. Now I look back, I am astonished I wasn’t fined, jailed or something worse.

The Internet was the first time in my life where I felt like I belonged. Where it all made sense. Where living IN the future was not only the WAY of the future, but was the essence of NOW. And for someone who has lived in the NOW, that is obsessed with perpetually living (and yet not learning) within the PAST, the Internet represented my own inner struggle. It gave me solace from a dowdy, non-representative backwater society that did not want to grasp creativity, innovation or lateral thinking.

How do you use it nowadays?

For me, the question really is, what don’t I use it for? I don’t cook with it (although I order takeaway and groceries with it), I don’t go to the bathroom in it, although I do research things to do in the bathroom on it. I learn; I read; I edumacate (as in educate and procrastinate and muddle through all joined together); I do my banking; I purchase at online stores and auction sites; I research; I keep myself updated with news and reviews; and I do other ‘ummmm’ things (which shall not be mentioned in print!)

I also use it to email friends and family, skype with long distance relatives, blog, twitter, facebook, flickr and until recently, I had my own online business selling pixels of ‘art’ called digital scrapbooking.

Do you think of it as different or part of your everyday life?

Because I feel uniquely entwined with the Internet, and a true sense of belonging, I tend to consider myself as having had my ‘old’ life and my life now. My ‘old’ life was confusion, chaos, and despair. My life now is calm, charismatic and creative. The internet isn’t different or part of my everyday life. I am the Internet; the Internet is me. We are one.

(Oh go on, I know it all sounds ridiculous, but it’s how I feel! Give me an electricity blackout and I won’t freak, but if my UPS dies, I become a quivering useless mess of jelly on the floor!)

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