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Media and Communication - Essay Example

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Foucault has made heuristic contributions to the understanding of the role of media and communication in Western cultures. As Foucault was prolific writer of high statute, it is not easy to provide clear picture of Foucault's understanding of media and communication by extracting his concrete observations out of the context of his targeted analysis…
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Media and Communication
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Download file to see previous pages Such technologies are not created simply along with the general progress of humanity as Marx believed. Rather, dominating and oppressive technologies which enable media and communication are not produced automatically or instantaneously but produces as a result of specific discursive formations which not only fashions knowledge in terms of its own logic but also constitutes the way of thinking itself.
It is through the process of 'rationalisation', the term commonly associated with German philosopher Max Weber, Western model of capitalism became dominant over the entire surface of earth. In terms of governance, art and science, modern capitalism is uniquely based on rationalisation and subsequent mechanisation. The process of rationalisation is merely an embodiment of instrumental reason to which, in the epoch of modernity, human beings are subsumed. Foucault (1970) is of the view that modern social institutions are not only rational structures but also mechanisms for reproducing instrument rationality.
Questioning the totality of deterministic meta-narrative histories, Foucault presents an idea of fragmented histories of 'strata'. The negation of the idea of total or holistic histories by Foucault is extremely visible when he puts forward the (epistemologically different) questions that; "which strata should be isolated from others What types of series should be established What criteria of periodization should be adopted for each of them What system of relations (hierarchy, dominance, stratification, univocal determination, circular causality) may be established between them What series of series may be established And in what large-scale chronological table may distinct series of events be determined" (Foucault, 2002 , p.4). Answering these questions with relations to 'media and communication as a stratum of culture', it would be possible to demarcate the realm of media and communication and analyse it as an independent and autonomous discursive formation in itself.
For Foucault, the state of media and the techniques of communication which is quintessential to western technology-driven and dominated culture are the product of a culturally specific construction and validation of knowledge. There are monopolies of knowledge which legitimise particular domination structures and patterns. The media itself is a monopoly of a particular type of knowledge and communication techniques are the channels of dissemination of monopolised knowledge. Media not only constitutes but also maintains forms of monopolised knowledge which are oppressive in both form and content. Speaking from a technological standpoint based on Foucault's delineation of discursive formations, media can be seen as vehicles or carriers of mass oppression and mass domination made possible through the realisation of technologies of domination and oppression. On the other hand, the discursive model of media and communication as a "field of discursive events" is nothing but a "grouping that is always finite and limited at any moment to the linguistic sequences that have been formulated; they may be innumerable, they may, in sheer size, exceed the capacities of recording, memory, or reading: nevertheless form a finite grouping" ( ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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