Tonny Krijnen is assistant professor in the Media Department of Erasmus University Rotterdam. Claudia Alvares is associate professor in culture and communication at Lusofona University. Sofie Van Bauwel is assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Ghent and vice chair of the Gender and Communication section of the European Communication Research and Education Association.
Media Studies, particularly within schools, has until recently been concerned with mass media and the effects of ‘the media’ in society and on people. As new media technology has blurred the boundaries between the audience and the media, the status of this area of education is threatened. Whilst some have called for a drastic re-think (Media Studies 2.0), others have called for caution, arguing that the power dynamics of ownership and gatekeeping are left intact.
This book uses cultural and technological change as a context for a more forensic exploration of the traditional dependence on the idea of ‘the media’ as one homogenous unit. It suggests that it would be liberating for students, teachers and academics to depart from such a model and shift the focus to people and how they create culture in this contemporary ‘mediascape’.
Author Lincoln Geraghty argues that there has been a change in the fan convention space, where collectible merchandise and toys, rather than just the fictional text, have become objects for trade, nostalgia, and a focal point for fans’ personal narratives. New technologies also add to this changing identity of cult fandom whereby popular websites such as eBay and ThinkGeek become cyber sites of memory and profit for cult fan communities.
The book opens with an analysis of the problematic representations of fans and fandom in film and television. Stereotypes of the fan and collector as portrayed in series such as The Big Bang Theory and films like The 40 Year Old Virgin are discussed alongside changes in consumption practices and the mainstreaming of cult media. Following this, theoretical chapters consider issues of gender, representation, nostalgia and the influence of social media. Finally, extended case study chapters examine in detail the connections between the fan community and the commodities bought and sold.
Topics discussed include:
The San Diego Comic-Con and the cult geographies of the fan convention Hollywood memorabilia and collecting cinema history The Star Wars franchise, merchandising and the adult collector Online stores and the commercialisation of cult fandom Mattel, Hasbro and nostalgia for animated eighties children’s television
Striptease Culture is divided in to three sections:
* Part one – traces the development of pornography, following its movement from elite to mass culture and the contemporary fascination with ‘porno-chic’
* Part two – considers popular cultural forms of sexual representation in the media, moving from backlash elements in straight male culture and changing images of women, to the representation of gays in contemporary film and television
* Part three – looks at the use of sexuality in contemporary art, examinging the artistic ‘striptease’ of Jeff Koons, and others who have used their own naked bodies in their work.
Also considering how feminist and gay artists have employed sexuality in the critique and transformation of patriarchy, the high profile of sexuality as a key contributor to public health education in the era of HIV and AIDS, and the implications of the rise of striptease culture for the future of sexual poltics, Brian McNair has produced an excellent book in the study of gender, sexuality and contemporary culture.
Gender and Mediaexplores these and other complex questions by offering a critical overview of the contemporary debates and discussions surrounding gender and mediated communication, and by providing student’s with an overview of the current academic research on these topics.
The book is divided into three parts: representing, producing, and consuming with each section made up of three chapters. The first chapter of each section attempts to answer the most basic questions: ‘Who is represented?’, ‘Who produces what?’ and ‘Who consumes what?’. The second chapter of each section draws attention to the complexity of the relationship between gender and media, concentrating on the "why." The third and final chapter of each section addresses the latest debates in the fields of media and gender, adding a vital layer of understanding of the topic at hand.
This process is aided by text boxes, which provide some additional information on the most important concepts and topics and exercises, which help bridge the gap between theory and everyday life media practices.
This will be an ideal textbook for students studying gender and media, and for general courses on gender studies, sociology, cultural studies and women’s studies.
The general aim of the book is to indicate new perspectives for the exercise of cultural criticism on the basis of the major issues that confront us today, rather than articulate any canonical viewpoint on traditional cultural studies. These essays thus share a common denominator in that they seek to explore the field of current ‘experience’ through the exercise of critique.
The recontextualisation of cultural studies that this book attempts occurs along the vectors of identity politics, visual culture and technology. The collection draws attention to the fact that these vectors do not consist in delimited ‘camps’, but rather in axes that intersect with each other at each instance.