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

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.

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

Transnational Subjectivities (Lecture 4)

Shanghi Baby

bridget-jones-babyBridget Jone’s Baby

  • Postfeminist (structure of feeling)
  • Inspiration: Pride and Prejuice

Cultural Sentiment

  • Disavowal of stereotype
  • Feminism as bodily property
  • Individualism and (consumer) choice

Biological Essentialism

  • Return to traditional values → men and women are fundamentally different (the particular roles of women like take care baby and cooking)
  • Heterosexist → reproduces ideals that are problematic for both men and women (body as a marker of success)

Human > Consumer

  • Education, water, health etc. → commercialised
  • Freedom, choice, empowerment > commodity


  • Empowered, postfeminist subjects vs. downtrodden victims of patriarchy
  • #bring back our girls

Intersectional Analysis

  • Multiple axis of differentiation
  • Intersect in historically specific contexts

Problematizing Whiteness

  • Whiteness as an “invisible” signifier → nameless
  • Power reasserts itself in complex ways → racial hierarchies


Beyoncé – the icon of black postfeminist

What dose Beyoncé represent?

  • The way that white people see black people
  • The self-awareness of black people

How does Beyoncé self-representation challenge and reinforce postfeminist femininity?

  • She uses her songs to show the power of women and to express that women can be part of the world, it is not all for men

Why is Beyoncé race made problematic?

  • She is a black people from Africa but she tried hard to get into the America world and to integrate their culture, this make people very appreciate her braveness.

Cultural Intelligibility

  • Recognition as a subject within symbolic
  • draw on cultural norms and discourses to perform identity
  • Means careful negotiation for non-white, non-Western, non-hetero, working class women

Transnational Postfeminism

  • Cultural hegemony
  • Shanghi Baby

Historical Context

  • Open door policy: free trade, opening itself to the world → economic neoliberalism and socialism
  • Changing gender relations → “feminism” as state policy, so different “post-feminism”

Screen Cultures and Selves (Lecture 4)

Presentation about morality

Each group had a presentation of an advertisement, which is immoral. We talked about why the advert is morally wrong and in what way it is wrong. We also discussed the image and its relationship with the previous topics covered in the lecture so far.

cokeWe disagree with the group that talked about the advertisements of Coca-cola. Their
argument is that the connotation of those image is oral sex. However, we think that everyone drink coke and no matter men or women, we all drink in the way that show in those advertisements, it is difficult for us to think of oral sex because it is just a coke. Maybe they just have this association because of today’s topic.

presentation-tipsProfessional Presentation

  • Do some reading and research before presentation
  • Can quote some references
  • State arguments

Research and Practice (Lecture 4)

Mobile Technology



Media Loan Shop

Steps: Book by category → MLS equipment → Choose equipment → Add to basket → Create booking → Select time (only loan for 24hrs,  include weekend on Friday) → Terms and conditions → Verify booking → Submit

* Forward the email to Ady if you want to book longer than 24hrs


Mobile Appsunnamed

  • Adobe: Premiere Clips/ Spark Post/ Spark Page/ Spark Video/ Photoshop
  • Photo editing: Meitu