Screen Cultures and Selves (Lecture 6)

LACAN – The Psyche

The Three Orders

  • The Real
  • The Imaginary
  • The Symbolic
  • Fred 3 parts of the psyche – Id, Superego, Ego
  • Form the way which we experience the world

What has this got to do with the media?

  • Triad: symbolic-real-imaginary → a system of perception + dialogue with the external world
  • Perception, subject formation, language and image are central in both psychoanalytic and media discourses
  • Theories of media are embedded with invocations of these three orders and a further concern with their interplay
  • Attempts to theorize media in terms of the intricate and slippery border between the internal and the external, discussions of language, image, sound

The Mirror Stage and The Symbolic Order100babymirror

  • No one can remember the first time that we see ourselves (birth of the subjectivity)
  • Mirror stage: a baby recognize itself in the mirror as a whole and to counteract the primordial sense of his fragmented body
  • The image itself in the mirror is described as the “Ideal-I”, it provides an image of wholeness which constitutes the ego
  • Realize human being – identify internal self with external image
  • Represents first encounter with subjectivity
  • Think about inner and outer
  • A baby starts to understand the external world and internal world are completely different

The Real

  • The state of nature
  • all about need (not desire)
  • A baby at the mirror stage started to understand what the real is
  • If he need something, he cries and does not care about what other think
  • If he wants to sleep, he sleeps; if he wants to shit, he shits
  • The only real that we experience is only 5-6 months

Lacan’s Sense of Jouissance – a mode of pure enjoyment, an absolute pleasure

  • Pleasure becomes pain
  • The subduing of the “lust”
  • External prohibition (not moral in society) – tell the baby that you cannot do that, which becomes painful

The Imaginary Order

  • Primarily narcissistic
  • Whereas needs can be fulfilled
  • Demand are never statisfy, we won’t get the things we want at life
  • A baby started to think the lack of things he need – a sense of something lost (lost state of nature)
  • Difference between “demand” and “desire” – the function of the symbolic order, is simply the acknowledgement of language, law, and community
  • Put the poster of pop star/film star on the wall – imagine he/she is yourself

The Imaginary

  • The imaginary becomes the internalized image of this ideal, whole, self and is situated around the notion

The Symbolic

  • A contrast to the imaginary
  • The imaginary is all about equations and identifications
  • The symbolic is about language and narrative
  • Once a child enters into language and accepts the rules and dictates of society, it is able to deal with others
  • Laws and restrictions that control both our desire and the rules of communication

These three things are all happen at the same time: to tell a baby to go to the toilet in a private room and lock the door, then he shame on himself and realize the real is dirty


Exploring Digital Culture (Lecture 6)

Posthuman Subjectivity

What is posthumanism?

  • Multifaceted
  • Many different uses
  • Different contexts (lots of different feels)
  • Permeability
  • Rejection of anthropocentrism
  • Reconsidering the place of the “human”

Rethinking of the liberal, human subject

  • Could vote
  • Own land and properties
  • White
  • Male
  • Able bodied
  • Heterosexual
  • Class based

Rethinking of the idea of a fixed, bounded self

  • Affect
  • Embodiment
  • Permeability
  • Different subjectivities
  • Interacting
  • We are constantly changed by what is around us

Rethinking anthropocentrism – We are the centre, everything is all around us

  • Animal
  • Earth
  • Machine
  • What make someone rights?

All human should have the same rights. How about animals? We can extend rights to animals.

‘Post-anthropocentrism displaces the notion of a species hierarchy and of a single, common standard for “Man” as the measure of all things. In the ontological gap thus opened, other species come galloping in.’ (Braidotti 2013: 67)

Posthuman Subjects

Relationships with Technology

  • A phone is not just an object
  • It has photos/connections/memories
  • It is about the way what it is upon us
  • How the media shape humanity


  • Technology allow us to overcome ourselves
  • It can solve our problems as human
  • It do not have boundaries/barriers


  • How we expect more to technology and less to each other
  • Loss our humanity

‘resistance to both the fatal attraction of nostalgia and the fantasy of transhumanist and other techno-utopias’ (Braidotti 2013: 90 )


‘human functionality expands because the parameters of the cognitive system it inhabits expand’ (Hayles 1999: 290- 291)


‘we were always posthuman’ (Tufekci 2012: 34)


Self and Other Gradually Blur

‘a displacement of the lines of demarcation between structural differences, or ontological categories, for instance between the organic and the inorganic, the born and the manufactured, flesh and metal, electronic circuits and organic nervous systems.’ (Braidotti 2013: 89)

‘an amalgam, a collection of heterogeneous components, a material-informational entity whose boundaries undergo continuous construction and reconstruction’ (Hayles 1999: 3)


What makes a human “human”?

  • To be creative (from inspiration by feeling/seeing/reading something)
  • Emotion
  • Critical thinking
  • Interacting

Transnational Subjectivities (Lecture 6)


  1. That we are both individuals, as well as parts of a collection of groups, both national and transnational.
  2. Women become objectified, ironically becoming “slaves” to set themselves free.
  3. Neo-liberal economics allow for women to be able to become self sustaining and independent on a transnational level.
  4. That capitalism tricks us into wanting to buy things we don’t need, which comes at the expense of exploiting others.

An Essay Film is…

“To me, the essayistic is not about a particular generic fascination for voiceover or montage, the essayistic is dissatisfaction, it’s discontent with the duties of an image and the obligations of a sound. It’s dissatisfaction with what we expect a documentary to do especially.” (Kodwo Eshun)

  • Use picture/words/sounds to demonstrate
  • Not to repackage the lecture content
  • Try to connect different case study

Learning Objectives (Things going to be marked)

  1. Demonstrate knowledge that reflects holistic thinking, by being able to understand feeling as both individual, personal experiences and wider body politics.
  2. Understand complex bodies of thought that inform current theoretical concepts of subjectivity and be able to apply these in complex and agile ways across a range of case studies to produce new theory.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of a theory and practice based empathy with others, and be able to understand this empathy and interrelatedness as central to the formation of their own subjectivities in an international context.
  4. Show an ability to manage group work and the presentation of oneself in a professional context.
  5. Be creative in their practical skills, and able to capture meaning that moves knowledge beyond traditional academic values, by producing work that has multiple layers e.g. visceral, embodied, auditory, sensorial, affective and tactile, alongside its academic worth.

Action Plan

  • Research our own feelings and understandings to topics and theories to bring back to the group within two weeks.
  • Division of labour:
  • Lewis – Editing, camerawork, researching, writing, local knowledge
  • Mohamed – Editing, camerawork, director
  • Jing – Researching, writing
  • Ashleen – Post production (story boarding), camerawork, editing, acting
  • Zoie – Editing, camerawork, researching
  • Ivy – Editing, camerawork
  • Esther – Editing, camerawork, audio, lighting
  • Matilda – Acting, researching, writing, post production

Structure and Storytelling

  • Keep your audience in mind
  • What will they see? What will they think?
  • ✘ and then, and then, and then
  • ✔ money → capitalism → therefore…

Plan and Timeline

  • 14/12 – presenting the “first draft” narrative of our final essay film
  • How are we going to create the work?
  • Identify our own knowledge and strengths
  • Research visuals
  • Write a cross between a script and a essay

Group Argument for Essay Film

The argument that our group want to make about the content so far:

  1. That we are both individuals, as well as parts of a collection of groups, both national and transnational.
  2. Women become objectified, ironically becoming “slaves” to set themselves free.
  3. Neo-liberal economics allow for women to be able to become self sustaining and independent on a transnational level.
  4. That capitalism tricks us into wanting to buy things we don’t need, which comes at the expense of exploiting others.

Research and Practice (Lecture 6)


What Graduate Employers Want

Good Communication

  • How clearly you convey your idea
  • Ability to listen to others
  • Build rapport (make communication with each other)
  • Persuade and negotiate

Effective Leadership and Management

  • The potential to motivate and direct others in order to achieve common objectives

Planning and Research Skills

  • Come up with a suitable strategy and plan of action
  • Seek out relevant information from various sources
  • Analyse, interpret and report these findings

Teamwork and Interpersonal Skills

  • Your individual contribution towards achieving common goals


  • Successfully directing your work towards objectives
  • Prioritising your duties
  • Working well under pressure
  • Managing your time effectively (time management)
  • Flexible, resilient and can be trusted
  • Taking on new learning and challenges
  • Reflecting (look at yourself and think about it)

Relevant Work Experience

  • Be resourceful in gaining the type of experience that employers are after
  • In some sectors, such as media and the arts, it is necessary to network and make speculative job applications
  • Benefits: develop skills, familiarity with behaviour in the workplace, make contact, build a portfolio of evidence to support application

Business Sense

  • Help to make profit

Enhancing your blog

  • Prepare examples as evidence of your skills/competencies
  • Show you can reflect on your personal and professional development – another key employability skill
  • Close your skills gap
  • Watch your digital footprint
  • Research roles and organizations very carefully
  • A positive attitude is essential. Employers often say they hire for attitude and train for skill.

Demonstrating your skills

  • CV: personal profile
  • Your blog
  • CV: key skills/key strengths/core skills
  • Cover letter
  • LinkedIn
  • Interview

Go to Career Portal and look for some career advice.

Blood in the Mobile

Minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo are used in mobile phones. Congo is extremely poor despite all its natural resources.In the past 15 years, 5 million people have died as a consequence of civil war in DR Congo.

The UN have for years reported links between the minerals trade and the war.

Do our phones really contain minerals that finance war in the Congo? Nokia is renowned for their social responsibility, but no one willing to answer this question in Nokia headquarter. Are they using blood minerals? If that’s true it hardly matched their description as a human corporation.

The only safe way to fly in the Congo is with the UN peace-keeping forces. Goma in North Kivus seems like the right place to look for blood minerals. There is no other place in the world has so many UN peace-keeping troops. Their mission is to protect civilians against the violence of the armed groups.

The major in the UN headquarter did not talk about the groups are financed by mining when it has stated in UN reports. Maybe even the UN is threatened here and is careful about commenting on what goes on.

What is the connection between mining and the armed groups?

A group of Mai-Mai went to loot the diggers. Those who are digging in the forest but it is no idea that they digging for whom. Is it the Mai-Mai or the FDLR, who came back to try to take back what they consider their goods. Their coltan, their cassiterite…All the things they’re taking from Bisie. Who’s selling it? It was under control of the FDLR. And then came the Congolese business men. They used to come and buy and then bring it to Goma. From Goma to Rwanda or Uganda. And from Uganda to Europe. To do for mobile phones and computers. After that, from the money they buy guns to continue the war.

Soldier: “There is only one aim in the war – is to kill. It is much easier to do administration in a war than in peace. In the war, it is only to kill the enemy, and then get his uniform and gun. If you want peace, you must prepare a war.”

How the armed group make money on the mining? They let the local population do the hard work and then they impose taxes on everyone. To get in and out of the mining area you also have to pay money. In this place people die, so we can get mobile phones. People come from far away with a dream of making money but living expenses are so high due to the taxes from the armed groups that most people can’t afford to get out again. They are trapped here. Armed group came here and bullets were flying around. Then people died here. Every month people die in the mine holes when one of them collapses.

Isn’t this almost the same as slavery? There are hundreds all over East Congo. Bisie alone is estimated to produce for $70 million a year.

Today Nokia is one of the biggest corporations in the world. Every third phone on the planet is a Nokia. Nokia are market leaders on social responsibility. If they are using the blood minerals, the whole business is likely to do it.

Nokia have taken action since 2001 in this issue when they first became aware of the fact that a raw material called coltan coming from Congo can be turned into tantalum. The material is used in mobile phones, but also all other electronic products. They went to their suppliers and asked them can they trace where the tantalum comes from.They quickly realized that there is a huge challenge in tracing metals. There is no mechanism to determine where the raw material is coming from. It is difficult to tell that which part of a particular metal coming from which mine. They need mechanisms, and these they are now developing. There is a big challenge but it is a serious issue. They work on it, and hope there will be a resolution that will enable them to securely say that they have a responsible supply chain.

It is technically possible to trace the raw minerals. They must be traced before they are smelted into metals.

Break the link between natural resources and armed conflict. It is a long-term proposition. It takes years to put together an inter-governmental certification scheme. The idea is worth pursuing but not to the detriment of immediate action. The situation in eastern Congo is urgent. It needs both short term solutions that can change the situation on the ground and medium to long term solutions. The recommendation from several NGOs is to publish their supply chain.

As a global company and a market leader, Nokia have a responsibility to be part of the solution as a company but then also help drive things at an industry level. They are committed to improve their transparency.

Why would they hesitate doing anything about it? It costs them money. It is a wonder why they have not taken more steps on this minerals issue. They need to see more public pressure, before they will take action. Their workers in social responsibility department are appalled about what is going on in the Bisie mine. They do not want their company to be associated. They want to fix it but they tend to be some mid-level corporate responsibility person who does not have the authority or the budget, who does not have the ability to demand the resources that are commensurate to the problem in Congo.

If you make a phone that is conflict mineral free, we will buy it. Is there a difference between these demands? Transparency is one element of it, but it is not enough.

When you think of how you can stop the mayhem that is going on and awful things that are being perpetrated on women and children, the best thing is to get your hand on the money and stop it. We have to use minerals that have come from a traditional, legitimate source, not through the back door of these warlords stealing and using people and using it to fight a guerrilla warfare. You cannot reap the benefits of civilisation on the backs of that kind of cruelty and awful treatment of human beings. We have to do what we can to stop it.

Nokia have been working with the industry association GeSI which is a consortium of electronics manufacturers. They have commissioned a study and have been working with some of the NGOs. And they have discussed the issue with the suppliers of these metals. What they try to achieve in the first place is to scope the problem in its entirety, it is a comprehensive understanding of the flows of materials in the chain. There will be a solution ahead but it is not going to be easy or simple. It is a sustainable and long-term solution.

Exploring Digital Culture (Lecture 5)

Digital Subjectivity


  • Subjective: own experience, how we see something
  • Objective: fact, things to be discover
  • Who am I? different roles act in different ways (e.g. daughter, sister, partner, lecturer, researcher)

What possibilities are open to us?

  • Historical
  • Social
  • Cultural
  • Who we are and how we act is always contingent on other things

Subject to…?

  • act in different ways according to different roles and subject to different expectations, conventions, behaviours

What outside forces act upon us to shape us?

  • Consider how institutions shape us into certain subject positions
  • How are these enforced?
  • How are they complicated?
  • How do they change?
  • Criminal
  • Consumer
  • Student
  • Husband/ Wife
  • Tax payer
  • Voter
  • Immigrant

Some of the biggies…

  • Most discussed aspects: race, gender, sexuality and class
  • so much of the understanding and negotiations areas is through specific social engagements and institutionalised understandings
  • We are subject to certain implications or understandings of self


  • White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh
  • “I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group”


  • The male gaze
  • Sexual imbalance
  • women are simultaneously looked at and displayed → connote to-be-looked-at-ness
  • “Woman displayed as sexual object is the leit-motif of erotic spectacle: from pin-ups to strip- tease, from Ziegfeld to Busby Berkeley, she holds the look, plays to and signifies male desire.” (Mulvey 1975)
  • “Male characters are stereotypically hypermasculine and female characters are hypersexualized” (Pulos 2013: 79)


  • Biological sexuality is only a precondition
  • Heteronormativity
  • Works on the basis of fixed, binary gender positions
  • Fixed “roles” – masculinity and femininity
  • Assumes that heterosexuality is the “norm”


  • Categorising social groups according to hierarchies of wealth, occupation, taste and culture
  • Lower class → lower level of expectation/ taste
  • Class in education → public school: free/ private school: nice but have to pay

Digital Subjectivity

  • “Virtual” worlds are only virtual in a limited sense; real-world issues can and do impinge on the fantasy landscape of games such as WoW” (Anderson 2006 quoted in Pulos 2013)
  • “Digital worlds do not have to adhere to any specific formula or organization, and yet ideological constraints have seeped into its very existence and frameworks.” (Pulos 2013: 78-79)

Transnational Subjectivities (Lecture 5)

Apples and Hauls

The “Global” Brand

  • Status, luxury, superior, innovative, cool
  • History of “cool”: calm and collected (15th Africa), to cool down → staying cold, col → tabacoo → cool (19th), itutu → ancient (west Africa)

14962342_10154339213704475_923483659_nCreative Class

  • Commodity designed for the hip, trendy, urban consumer
  • Creative “careers” in the arts, fashion, advertising, media
  • Give every undergrad students a MacBook Pro → industry standard
  • The only thing in your pocket is the only thing you need

Means of Production

  • Most production moving from Eastern Congo to East Asia
  • iSlave: Foxconn’s workforce is supplying the world’s leading electronic brands (lots of workers committed suicide)

Planned Obsolescence

  • Phoebus cartel
  • “desire to own something a little newer, a little better, a little sooner than is necessary” (Stevens, 1955, p.7)
  • Agbogbloshie: where the old technology go through
  • The electronic waste trail

Hauling and Unboxing Or, how ideology gets inside


  • Assembly line removes us from the producer
  • Alienates the maker from their product


  • “I shall then suggest that ideology ‘acts’ or ‘functions’ in such a way that it ‘recruits’ subjects among the individuals (it recruits them all), or ‘transforms’ the individuals into subjects (it transforms them all) by that very precise operation which I have called interpellation or hailing, and which can be imagined along the lines of the most commonplace everyday police (or other) hailing: ‘Hey, you there!’…I might add: what thus seems to take place outside ideology (to be precise, in the street), in reality takes place in ideology. What really takes place in ideology seems therefore to take place outside it.” (Althusser 1971, p.174)
  • Woman ideology: tell me not to sit like a man
  • Educational ideology: appear when I sit in ET building

Research and Practice (Lecture 5)

Media Independent Research

Subject Databases: find journal articles (i.e. academic magazine), which can be useful for research

screen-shot-2015-04-08-at-14-39-36Locate: search for books/journals which can borrow from library or read online (login to “my account” to renew books)

Centre for Academic Writing (CAW)

  • Check for title/structure of essays and dissertations
  • Proofread
  • Help for reference

Google Scholar: access to scholarly materials

Manifesto of Transnational Subjectivity


Through a series of case studies, I believe I can understand more about our societies and nation since I can explore the historical events as well as global environment. I can also understand myself in the global and digital aspect by knowing different cultural elements and the mass media.

To participate in the group discussion, we can combine our own experience with each other and have an overall understanding because we are from different countries and have different cultural background. I can develop my own subjectivities in an international context while I connect with them and learn from them. It is also an opportunity for us to work together and to demonstrate our own ability.

To accomplish my individual tasks, I can combine my own reflections and subjective experiences with my own culture and background, to develop my thought and ideas base on the topic that I have learned. I believe that it is also a great chance for me to use my practical skills to create meaningful and professional piece of work.

I will try my best to engage in the class activities as well as the individual and group work. Therefore, I will be able to understand what is transnational subjectivity and to fulfill the learning objectives of this module.