Transcultural Subjectivity

Abstract: Written for the theoretical section of this edited book, this chapter maps the conceptual terrain for the concept of “transcultural subjectivity.” It offers new insights into thinking about the idea, practice and constructed personhood in contemporary global media forms in post-colonial contexts. It draws on the literature of post-colonial studies, transnational media studies and digital culture. 

What does it mean to practice advertising ethically in today’s new advertising ecosystem?

Abstract: I argue that a constellation of activities–among them: technological innovation; the emergence of a thriving adtech industry; and increase in behavioral targeting to facilitate monetization of the Internet; and consumers increasing ability to control their exposure to advertising messages–signals an opportunity, indeed, an urgency to begin a fundamental re-visioning of advertising professional culture. This re-visioning acknowledges the many roles advertising plays and the tremendous power the institution wields not only in the marketplace, but also in social and cultural life, in the very economic structure of the media ecosystem, in the maintenance or dilution of our democratic processes. Ad-blocking provides an illustrative case example.

Narratives of Feminine Heroism

Abstract: This essay considers the American heroine as portrayed in life and death on the pages of newspapers and magazines. Journalists use, and sometimes misuse, the term “hero” as a type of news frame, a tradition of highlighting extraordinary feats of individuals.  In the United States, journalistic references to heroism both increased and evolved as the press discovered new methods of news gathering and reportage in the mid nineteenth century. Technological and cultural changes that gave way to a “mass” press encouraged the rise of human-interest journalism, which included stories about heroic figures. As these stories became more and more common, heroes and heroic attributes became increasingly egalitarian. Yet they were not inclusive. Heroes in the nineteenth-century American press were predominantly white and male, and they represented values of nation building and westward expansion. National heroines were virtually nonexistent, yet the attributes of female heroism were part of press content. 

Mad Men

Abstract: AMC’s Mad Men came under scrutiny for representing a particularly white New York in the 1950s, largely devoid of people of color. Some critics and fans were so flabergasted over the lily-white representation of New York City in the show that in 2010, The Root introduced a “Mad Men Black-People Counter” to keep track of the limited representations of black characters on the show.Some critics argued that its lack of black characters was unrealistic and disturbing, while others believed that shows like Mad Men and, most recently, HBO’s Girls served as a true reflection of how life often operates: When you’re privileged, you create and live in a world where disenfranchised people don’t exist, even when they are physically present. While many argued that black people and blackness was missing from Mad Men, W.E.B. Du Bois’ theory of double consciousness is at the very nexus of the show as articulated through the narrative and stylistic elements of the show, especially the character of Don Draper. This chapter examines what cultural critic Ta-nehisi Coates calls “The Negro Don Draper,” through the lens of DuBois and Patricia Hill Collins’ theories of double and triple consciousness, arguing that race plays a major role in the show, complicating the notion that blackness is invisible on the show.

United States–Development and Expansion of Public Relations

Abstract: Twentieth-century US public relations historiography has focused primarily on corporate public relations and agencies, incorporating a “great man” perspective and largely excluding women and minorities. This scholarship allows us to begin to build a narrative, presented here, but the authors also call for an expansion of what is considered public relations and of who practiced it. Public relations was often used by people in areas such as politics, churches, higher education institutions, and social service agencies who were not trying to invent public relations; rather they were solving problems by using communication to inform and persuade their audiences. The activism of suffragist and women’s rights advocate Alice Paul, and Henry Lee Moon, NAACP public relations director, illustrates that American public relations history is broad, diverse, and expansive.

Native advertising: Deception or engagement

Abstract: Native advertising, or paid content designed to resemble the editorial content on the site on which it is published, comprises a rapidly growing segment of online advertising.  While such forms of advertising have analogs in product placement and print advertorials, the limitless variety of approaches to online native advertising coupled with the practice’s growth have brought optimism to advertisers, agencies, and content providers at like.  Like other non-traditional forms of advertising, online native advertisements have engendered controversy on the basis that they may be potentially deceptive to consumers, who may be unlikely likely to recognize that the content they are reading has persuasive intent and has been paid for by a third party.  This chapter will provide an overview of current practices in native advertising, a review of relevant empirical research from previous similar forms of advertising.  After an introduction to the state of native advertising practices and the importance of understanding its effects.

Hybrid News Practices

Abstract: Because “mainstream” and “alternative” journalism are treated too often in discussions of digital journalism as separate spheres, comparatively less has been written about the insufficiency of positing separate spheres, despite the theoretical and empirical necessity of doing so. This chapter critiques separate spheres and theorizes hybrid news practices, in which features heretofore allocated into “mainstream” or “alternative” sphere become mixed and co-present. The chapter uses a cultural-studies approach to analyze empirical instances of hybrids of social formation and use, of technology and form, and of news and marketing.

Cultural Transduction and Intertextuality in Video Games

Abstract: In their chapter, the authors look at the ways in which three different videogames create a link to former products, be they television, film or music. This intertextuality, as the process is known, tries to generate specific audiences for the game by drawing on their previous knowledge and culture. What becomes interesting is to see how this process fits into strategies developed by the game creators in order to ensure a given costumer base for their products, who relish on finding the Easter Eggs or intertextual traces.

The Digital Patient

Abstract: This chapter reviews the past and current trends of one particularly intriguing aspect of virtual worlds—virtual representations commonly known as avatars—in the context of health behavior change.  Despite the growing interest in the influence of virtual representations on health behaviors, there has been a surprising dearth of research exploring the use of virtual representations as a direct and central vehicle of behavior change.  State-of-the-art findings on the use of virtual representations to promote behavior change will be discussed first, followed by a more detailed discussion of recent studies that specifically target health behavior change using virtual representations.

Not Your Mother’s Video Game

Abstract: This essay analyzes the complicated role of motherhood in television commercials for video games, spanning several decades. Video game advertising, in particular, often features mother characters utilizing a kind of double-voicedness. On the one hand, they need to advertise in such a way that the primary target audience for the commercials – young males – are interested in purchasing a game that is decidedly different from the kinds of casual games that they perceive their mothers to be playing. On the other hand, as the primary purchasers in a household, the commercials need to make an appeal to women audiences to buy the games for their families. Ultimately, I argue, the role of the mother is necessarily “othered” by the gaming industry. She is necessary to the process of purchasing video games, yet always must be represented as a non-player.