Lecture Liveblog: 10-2-07

Theory Axis of Time [Bardzell’s Scientific Visualization Series]

“Dumb as Rocks” -> Stress Level Increases -> Apex Point -> Stress Level Decreases -> Ability to Use Theory Increases


  • Ex.: Marxism
  • Massive phenomena (economy, ideology, classes, etc) that are collectively associated with culture.
  • “top down” view or explanation


  • Ex.: Goffman
  • Look at individual people. Real people in real situation who are behaving in certain kinds of ways. In that behavior emerges the possibility of meaning and shared understandings.

“false consciousness”

  • You’re a product of your environment. External forces influence your thoughts.
  • Working class people are bombarded with the messages of mass media and begin to believe those messages and act on them.

“unit of analysis”

  • Of all the things you could be studying, what is the thing you’re studying that is most relevant to your question?
  • Macrotheorist: systematic study of the values expressed in films.
  • Microtheorist Example: actors in concrete situations.

Goffman and Symbolic Interactionism

  • Actors – Roles
  • Rules of Participation
  • Front-stage and Backstage
  • Props

Role Distance – We take different roles and want to distance ourselves from others to operate our role within its domain. The ways in which you identify yourself separately from others.

Garfinkel and Ethnomethodology

“common sense” – A common predisposition or sensibility shared by a group. Habitus and intersubjectivity. Enables groups to behave in sensible, meaningful manners.
How is it possible for a group to arrive at common sense?

  • The group develops accounts, narratives, frames or explanations of things. Ex.: Politics.
  • Made out of small clues. The same clue can support competing or contradictory narratives. Ex.: Case of Jose Pedia.

Actors in concrete situations take on roles governed by intersubjective values.

Analysts never claim that anybody is right. Important to understand all the frames and stories in a situation.

Lifeworlds are made visible to an analyst by studying the social performance of actors in particular contexts.

Metz and the “Impression of Reality in the Cinema”

Photography vs Cinema

Theatre vs Cinema

Figure Painting <–> Film <–> Theatre

How does medium X reveal reality to our perceptions? And thus, how are we given a position with regard to reality?

Photography introduces new type of reality “here and then” as opposed to the “here and now.” Viewer is a contemplative spectator who can not participate.

With cinema, because it captures movement, volume and 3D objects, we’re able to perceive a different reality with a new “here and now.” Viewers actively participate or assume the new reality.

Thursday Assignment Stuff

UPDATE by Jeff.
This table breaks down a major, basic distinction of classical film theory, which Kracauer accepts (and takes sides on: he likes the realists better than the expressionists). Prince critiques this distinction in light of changes brought on by modern imaging technologies (especially Hollywood special effects).

Realist Film Expressionist Film
Lumiere Melies
Realism Formative/Formalism, Expressionism
Camera captures reality Camera shows director’s imagination
Shots reveal an existing reality Shots construct an imaginary reality
Viewer contemplates reality Viewer immersed in the director’s dream visions

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