Monday, 2 November 2009

1W8 A conversation with a friend

Getting lost with the fact that I cannot figure out what the research question of my project would be, I was discussing this issue with a friend of mine who happened to be in the field of communication.

The following is to be considered a brainstorming session:

In my research proposal there’s an appearance of Marc Augé who has already studied the football language through television screens. According to him, on small screen televisions and monitors, audiences watching a football match plunge into a so-called “voluntarism of imagination”, that is, the tendency of the spectator to go beyond the game by screaming and trying to visually force the relatively small-scale football players to get closer to the ball and score. This phenomenon arises to the fact that the screen is small; therefore the simulacrum of the field is a field in reduction, or a micro-field. This implies that the football players and the ball appear in miniature, making the viewer imagine that the process of getting a goal is actually quite simple. At a later stage, Augé speaks about ultra big screens displayed in public spaces; here, the player appears larger than usual, and thus, the ability to imagine is reduced to zero. In this case, the spectator’s perception with regard to the scale of the football match becomes more complicated: The screen enlarges players, giving back to the audience, as in their early days of movie theaters, their childhood perceptions… a period where all adults appeared as giants. The relation between the public and the television screen is revealed at the end of the match; suddenly the event is no longer inside the screen, but totally outside it. The screen is, in this case, reduced to its modest role as witness, or substitute with the mere task of giving older and sick people a reflection of what is happening elsewhere.

Marc Augé’s field is the ‘Anthropology of the near’ that is the antithesis of Anthropology, being the study of humankind in particular. Anthropology in Europe dealt with the studies of the ‘Other’, that is the 3rd world, The Middle East, Africa…) that’s why Edward Said for instance named this kind of Anthropology ‘Orientalism’. Anthropology of the near came as a response to the European treatment of Anthropology, mainly to show the repercussions of Capitalism on the society and humankind in general. Super modernity is Augé’s field, it is a critique of globalization and its effect on football for instance. Augé was part of the group of thinkers who were named the ‘the technological pessimists’, even though he was not against technology development, he actually discusses how new technology is abusing the society. In the case of football, people buy the rights to broadcasting for example, which feeds the ideology of control.

The conversation ended up leading to Marcuse who have discussed the concept of Normalization, (a interesting approach to the research question); for Marcuse, Capitalism is setting the concept of the normal. Society has no choice, it is an illusion of a choice that is has (you get to choose for instance between Ariel or Persil), so the options of freedom are non-existent. In his book ‘one-dimensional man’ he discusses how we are living in a one-dimensional society since Capitalism is refusing the dialect (being the fact that the thesis and antithesis create a new formula = a change), the refusal of the dialect is manifested through the fact that capitalism create the thesis and its antithesis very close to each other (again the Ariel and Persil example) to narrow down the options thus claiming that we are living in an ‘achieved’ society. For Marcuse ‘potential’ society is his ultimate goal, the kind that Capitalism hide from the masses. In order to reach this potential society, one should start by negating everything, question everything from scratch leading to the truth that is critical thinking is the basic of the dialect(for instance, shall I buy Ariel or Persil, why should I buy a cleaning detergent, do I need a cleaning detergent, what if I don’t buy one… and so on…).

Just like Augé and Marcuse, Baudrillard discussed Mass Media and New Technology. He related this field to the obscene (obese + scene), for Baudrillard New technology is actually distorting the reality, so the representation of reality is not reality, it could be hyper-reality instead, a creation of another reality (just like the example he uses with the porn industry not being related to the sex scene, it is a distortion of the reality of sex).

So am I discussing some kind of reality of the society? I am not sure I have this kind of qualifications.

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