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A seminar & public talks series presenting the best of contemporary media and communications research, thinking & perspectives
Friday, April 27
The opportunities and challenges of electronic research in central and coastal South Africa: A methodological perspective.
Research methodology textbooks are much like the Good Book - some parts are easier to understand than others and it is sometimes difficult to live your life accordingly. The research methodology is also not always easy to follow in all real life situations, but at least we try for the sake of our methodology masters validity and reliability. In the presentation I do not talk about research methodology per se, but try to give the audience an insight in the unique situations and settings within a South African context in which we do our research. This is illustrated by real life examples which hopefully exemplifies how we try to keep as close to the methodology guidelines as we possibly can and as circumstances allow us to do. The emphasis is on research in the electronic mass media where I cover some audience ratings (ratings research) as well as some aspects of non-ratings research namely listener profiling, listener perception measurement, weekly call-out music evaluation, auditorium music testing and living room music testing.
Prof Manie (HJ) Breytenbach
University of Free State, South Africa
Friday, May 11
Mapping the Vast Suburban Tundra: Australian comedy from Dame Edna to Kath and Kim
By the time of federation in 1901, almost 70% of Sydney's population were living in the suburbs: a statistic which suggests that despite prevalent and enduring images of the bushman and the ocker, the 'real' AUstralian was, and still is, more likely to be located in what Barry Humphries has described as Australia's "vast and unexplored suburban tundra". As a satirist, Humphries has been in the forefront of an expedition to map the tragi-comic dimensions of this territory with characters such as Dame Edna Everage who first appeared on Australian television in 1956, offering the box room of "her lovely home" as a potential billet for a Finnish shot-putter during the Melbourne Olympic Games. Some fifty years later, Dame Edna not only presided over the closing ceremony of the 2006 Commonwealth Games, she was joined on the steps of the Melbourne Town Hall, during a ceremony to award her the key to the city, by two more recent suburban icons, Kath and Kim. With the international success of Dame Edna and Kath and Kim, it seems the antipodean suburb is still being mapped, and indeed mined, for comic effect on television both at home and abroad. This paper will explore the conditions of such success within a long tradition of anti-suburbanism dating back to the nineteenth century while exploring the role of comedy in constructing a national imaginary which is now widely circulated via the transnational flows in television.
Associate Professor Sue Turnbull
La Trobe University, Melbourne
Friday, May 25:
Globalisation and regionalisation of the advertising industry in the Asia-Pacific
Very often, the much-vaunted 'globalisation' of our era turns out to be, on closer investigation, a process quite substantially mediated by regionalisation. This paper will present research which has focused primarily upon the structure and operation of the international advertising industry within the Asia-Pacific. The mode and extent of penetration of national markets by European and US-based global agency groups will be outlined, having regard to the huge emergent markets of India and China, as well as to selected Southeast Asian countries and the diverse but more mature markets of Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. Of particular interest is the degree to which the comparative strategic advantages enjoyed by the global agency networks might outweigh the home ground advantage held by the historically dominant local agencies, and the forms of organisation with which the former can gain access to the latter. There is also the question of what is happening to the large regionally-based agencies, notably Dentsu of Japan, in relation to the global groups. As well, attention will be given to instances where international agencies have integrated their organisation in a particular hub from which they coordinate their activities in the region as a whole, and where there appears to be a high degree of cooperation and exchange, as in the case of Australian and New Zealand.
Professor John Sinclair
University of Melbourne
John Sinclair is an Australian Research Council Professional Fellow in the Australian Centre at the University of Melbourne for 2005-10. He was formally Professor in the School of Communication, Culture and Languages at Victoria University of Technology. He has held visiting professorships at the University of California, San Diego, the University of Texas at Austin, and the Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona. His published work covers various aspects of the globalisation of the media and communications industries, with special emphasis on Latin America and also India. He is the author of Images Incorporated: Advertising as Industry and Ideology (1987), and Latin American Television: A Global View (1999); co-editor/author of New Patterns in Global Television: Peripheral Vision (1996) and Floating Lives: The Media of Asian Diasporas (2001); and editor of Contemporary World Television (2004). He has one book in Spanish, Television: Comunicacion Globalizacion y Regionalizacion (2000). He is on the editorial boards of several journals, both in Australia and overseas, and an active member of the International Association for Media and Communication Research.
Friday, June 8:
Bad Adults: The Cultural Politics of Growing Up
In one of his final lectures, Foucault noted that the transition to the phase called 'adult' poses particular philosophical problems (1982:87). The recent emergence of terms such as 'adultescent' and 'kidult' reveals a new set of problems regarding what it means to be adult. Media debates around prolonged adolescence and generational immaturity revolve around those who delay mortgages, marriage and child-raising, while engaging in forms of culture and politics that are deemed childlike. Adults taking pleasure in anything from comics to iPods, Harry Potter to MySpace have been cited as harbingers of a crisis in adulthood. How can cultural studies contribute to an understanding of adulthood that moves beyond the current paranoid readings of failed adults and perpetual children? By recognising adulthood as an exnominated category, the so-called "happy fiction of the standard adult" can be critically assessed and we can consider reparative vocabularies to describe adult becomings (Lee, 2001: 90). Drawing on Judith Butler's work on normative intelligibility and Eve Sedgewick's affective strategies, the paper considers the "many ways selves and communities succeed in extracting sustenance from the objects of a culture" that redefine the act of growing up (Sedgwick, 2003: 150-151)
University of Sydney