Theory Class

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

first class

Hi everyone,

I enjoyed our conversation in class today, and I thought I would use this site to post a couple of ideas I had.

The comment that was made regarding the way in which everyone participates in reproducing stereotypes made me think of something I had read about national identities. I believe it was Michael Billig who discussed the concept of “banal nationalism” and how a national identity is created, not only through overt acts of patriotism, but through everyday activities that we are often not conscious of- like the flying of the flag in front of the post office. The idea is that we are not aware that we see or do certain things everyday, but ultimately they influence our understanding of our environment. I think it is interesting to consider that, just as it is not only the media that reproduces stereotypes, it is also not just the zealous patriot or the government who supports nationalism.

Also, our discussion about communication as a subject rather than an object reminded me of an article I read entitled “What we need is ‘communication’: ‘Communication’ as a cultural category in some American speech” (Katriel & Philipsen). In the article, the authors discuss what they call a “communication ritual” that is performed in American speech. They define communication in this context as a cultural term referring to “close, supportive, flexible speech, which functions as the ‘work’ necessary to self-definition and interpersonal bonding.” Has anyone else read anything or done any research on the meaning of communication in this context?

See you in class tomorrow!


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