Screen Cultures and Selves (Lesson 3)

Structuralism: about you, me and being human

Nature vs. Nurture

Nature: gene(DNA), appearance, physical, gender, talent

Nurture: being construct by others

Are we born with character, love, hate and morality? Or are we the products of family, environment, experience and education?

Are mass murderers born to be evil? Or they become evil because of something that happens to them?

Who are we? the mixture of nature and nurture

Basic instincts of a baby: breathing, eating, sleeping, crying, go to the toilet → these are our basic desire to survive

Elements of nurture: semiotics and myths (we have to learn and experience)

Morality: right and wrong things in a society

Jaques Lacan:

  • The unconscious is structured like a language
  • Claude Levi-Strauss (1908) is structuralist anthropological writing during the 1950’s

The unconscious mind: doing things that we cannot control

Anthropology: things that people have done and will continue to do → Why do we get married? Why do we do what we do?

Is it nature or nurture that people in remote area get married? If it is nurture, why do different people do the same?

myth of binary opposition → every cultures have good and bad

Sigmund Freud’s Iceberg Metaphor

Claude Levi-Strauss:

  • The Savage Mind
  • Man obeys law that are inherent in the brain
  • Myths are not made by individuals but by the collective human consciousness
  • The savage mind had the same structures as the civilized mind
  • The human is the same everywhere – in relation to the centralization of structure
  • ‘Bricolage’ – the characteristic patterns of mythological thought
  • Reuse available materials in order to solve new problems

The conscious mind is structure. The desire of structure is nature. We cannot understand the world without it.


Screen Cultures and Selves (Lecture 2)


How we make meaning? How do we understand who we are? How do we identify with the world/images/films/TV/computer games/books?

  • Meaning → Semiotics → Signs (we know red means stop and green means go)
  • Signifier → Signification → Signified
  • E.g. we see the word “cat” → learn what is the word “cat” → think what is cat (if we see a word in other languages meaning cat, we do not know what is it because we did not learn about it)
  • Arbitrary: no connection with what you see and what you think, there should be a process of learning
  • Denotation: literal meaning
  • Connotation: what is actually intended
  • Process of signification → myths
  • Binary opposition: a pair of related concepts that are opposite in meaning (e.g. boy and girl)
  • we learn by culture and what we have been told