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Jessica Debbie 3 PPISMP TESL 2 Moral Education Week 9 (170811) Community as Moral Agent

Community and Organization Concentration
Prepares students for advanced practice in the range of settings that focus on social problems and social change at the community, organizational, and societal levels. The conceptual framework of the concentration is built upon the community  as a field of practice in which individuals are engaged as citizens, residents, members, constituents, indigenous leaders, representatives, and heads/officers of community groups, organizations, and other action or change agent systems. This framework conceptualizes community practice at macro, mezzo, and micro levels and concentrates on groups, communities, and organizations (the practice units of attention) as actors and targets of change. The Community and Organization Concentration is anchored in the social justice orientation of the School, the University, and the social work profession. Within the concentration, this orientation shapes a particular commitment to communities and populations that are powerless, oppressed, at-risk, and/or targets of discrimination. The concentration is committed to the improvement of the quality of life of community members, to the humane and effective functioning of human service organizations, and to support the development and modification of social policies for a more peaceful and just society. It is also committed to a vision of community in which people relate to each other as equal moral agents, the development of democratic institutions, and the use of participatory practice strategies.


Relationship Family love



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If you ask the average teacher what he or she competes with for the minds and hearts of children as far as education is concerned, do not be surprised by the answer: television. This would not have been said of radio sixty years ago, which prompts a second question: "Why this difference between media?" One tentative answer is that Western culture has come increasingly under the influence of commercial interests outside both home and school, so that both parents and teachers compete with a new constellation of socialization agents in mass media personalities. The transmission of culture through socialization agents is a relational activity where the new generation comes into contact with the older one's cultural myths, values, and so on. The process is a dynamic interchange and in a sense there can be a reciprocity of roles between the generations. The older generation generally attempts to duplicate itself (that is, social formation or socialization) and the newer generation tends to forge changes in predominant cultural images (that is, transformation or social change). This process is dialectical and it should not be surprising that the valences change. It is safe to say that, in general, the older generation tends consciously or unconsciously to reproduce some of its dominant, accepted "cultural myths," the predominant cultural images by which a culture represents itself (Sullivan, 1980).

Parents essentially relinquish this role to the schools where possible. the message of the central myths of "commodity culture. Business was to provide the source of a life-style. but with patently more utilitarian motives. This cultural transformation is quite complex and I cannot deal with this dramatic change for our present purposes. As already indicated. where there is a total absence of parental figures. pp. the media are supported by modern advertising. 1976. to restrict our discussion to television is simply to provide a focus for the reader in a chapter that will consider a medium as a powerful device for cultural transmission. Obviously. We will be focusing upon it in this chapter because it carries. What I would like to call attention to is the advent of a new major mediating device for socialization in the twentieth century. Therefore. was careful not to demystify all authority: Rather it pointed toward the commodity market and its propaganda to replace the father's authority. The advertising business both welcomed the demise of familial authority and. As opposed to parents. they carried or mediated the cultural messages to the younger generation. This chapter will self-consciously concentrate on television as a moral educator. its symbols and images are passed on by institutions. . One thing is certain. comics. more anonymous and democratic. radio. the computer will not replace the television as a medium. and television--are. the twentieth century has seen a complete reversal of this process. the mass media--that is. at the same time. It can be seen in some of the early advertising journals that the media were to conflict with the family. schools and family were the two main cultural mediators. who concentrate their efforts on their own children and possibly their neighbors'. the mass media are directed to a wider range of people. Rather. In simpler cultures it has been historically the only mediating device for cultural transmission. at the same time. where before the father had been the dictator of family spirit. 1983b). (Ewen. This does not ignore the fact that we are presently in the midst of what appears to be another information revolution in the development and penetration of the computer technologies into our culture. Before the advent of the modern era." When compared with parents and schools. 1975). in an unequivocal manner.Culture is mediated. It is indicative that this should go unnoticed (Dorfman and Mattelart. newsprint. The second major mediating institution has been the school. I have discussed some specific issues around this phenomenon elsewhere (see Sullivan. that is. that is. the family has been devastated as a cultural mediating device. that of the mass media. the most important mediating institution in the socialization of children was the family structure. In our own time. 131-32) The decline of direct parental authority can be seen in all of Disney's comics. whose main message is to sell products as commodities to people on a large scale as the correlate of mass production. In essence. it is an amplification and extension of television.

reflection. 1975. I would like to amplify on the last two features since they define human action as at once moral and communicative. at least in some aspects. McLean and F. The deliberation involved in the reflective component of human action opens up the question of the autonomy or freedom of human action. that is. by intentions (Taylor. Act and Agent: Philosophical Foundations of Moral Education and Character Development and Knowles's treatment of human action in Volume 2. intention. after the process of deliberation. in humans this involves the negative pole of action. Rose Golsen. MEDIA AND THE MORAL ACT To speak of the mass media as a moral educator is to indicate that a particular type of communication system has the capacity to influence moral actions. It is a household expense. therefore. Wittingly and unwittingly. Yet it is much more important as a moral influence than we care to think because it is a symbol-making medium.The average person takes television for granted. a reflective component which in ordinary language we call deliberation (Sullivan. 14-15). It is a power we see exercised daily by the television business as it penetrates virtually every home with the most massive continuing spectacle human history has ever known. The notion of a "deliberate action" assumes that. intentionality. I have elsewhere indicated that the defining characteristics of a human act are its features of consciousness. which by my definition is responsible action. The attribution of responsibility for an action is canceled altogether if it can be shown that the behavior was not governed. makes a penetrating observation: The power to dominate a culture's symbol-producing apparatus is the power to create the ambience that forms consciousness itself. and values that many cultures and subcultures revere and need to keep vigorous if they are to survive. and purposes. For my purposes here. My own treatment of these features shares striking resemblances to Caputo. institutional forms. it is necessary to clarify the nature of the act being influenced. As such. Psychological Foundations of Moral Education and Character Development. one should not discount its influence. The daily consciousness-raising sessions transmitted by television demonstrate the narrow range of alternatives selected by a handful of people as eminently worthy of attention and collective celebration (Golsen. It follows that a fundamental condition of education is the fostering of moral conduct. 1984). Responsibility is one characteristic of a "human act" insofar as one is accounting for the actions of a person in terms of their desires. and significance (Sullivan. "Responsible action" has. intentions. there is a motive . responsibility. Ellrod. attitudes. G. Nicgorski and Ellrod in Volume 1 of this series. 1984). 1964). Samay. pp. this business and its client industries set the stage for a never ending performance stripping away emotional associations that centuries of cultural experience have linked to patterns of behaviour. Of necessity. in How Television Works and Works You Over. To talk of moral acts being influenced. like a car or a toilet. as part of its ongoing process.

Therefore. let me turn to the feature of the human act as significant.e. that significant human action is cultural action. 1984). What is implicit in all of this is the belief that a moral point of view. One might say that children keep a good deal of company . 1980). Elsewhere. is mediated through social influences. as it were. I develop the notion that a human act has a sign quality that makes it simultaneously an act and an expression (Sullivan.. miseducational) in relation to responsible human action. but rather. or lack thereof. after Geertz (1973). in the best sense. There is an intuition here that we are strongly influenced by the company we keep. For example. There is nothing astounding here. Education is. 1980). There is also interjected into this discourse the idea that individuals can rise above their surroundings. he or she will have seen 350. Before going into this issue. MIRRORING: THE POSSIBILITY THAT WE BECOME WHAT WE BEHOLD It is often said that morality is fostered by good example. What is important now is to establish in the mind of the reader that "moral conduct" or "responsible action" exists within the framework of communications. There are those who venture that education in goodness must mean education in value realization and that authentic moral education must involve the removal of all inertial obstacles which tend to block or deflect the positive direction of moral action.000 commercial messages each year or more than three hours of television advertising a week (Sullivan. One of the issues that we must face in this chapter is whether the mass media foster responsible moral action (i. the cultivation of responsible moral agency. it is estimated. My task will be to assess how mass communications influence moral actions. are educational) or are inertial obstacles (i. 5).000 television commercials. it now has a contender in television. In some working-class families. Therefore. This notion will take on a deeper meaning later when we consider Paolo Freire's notion of "cultural action for freedom" (Freire. Although the school still plays a significant role in the legitimation of culture. It is also said that evil is fostered by bad example. The meaning or significance of a human act is the place that it occupies in a network of relationships (Chein. A human act is not an isolated event. 1974). 1972). the sign quality of a human act puts it in the category of a communicative event. I assume..force which carries that action to some outcome or completion. before a child reaches the age of 20 in this country. except that we tend to forget the effects of normative influence. "Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself spun. The average child. I take culture to be those webs" (p.e. will have seen 20. This is usually said to someone who cannot avoid bad company. relational. there is no such thing as a significant act in itself. one of these influences is the television which interacts with the children more even than do their parents (Sullivan.

As it has developed in North America. which signals whether actions are good or bad. You do this with a few simple techniques like fast-moving images. The image may start you on a regimen of eating or not eating. 197). that the advertising industry saw the commercial possibilities that this medium offered (Mander.with the ethos of consumption. Similarly. what you see is not yourself but your image or reflection. That it works best for a viewer who is seated and in a dark room. taller. part of that web being a culture's moral code. What is important to consider from the side of such cultural socialization agents as parents. judge socialization agents. thinner. worthy or unworthy. television does both. however. In this notion of mirror. knows that before you can convince anyone of anything you shatter their existing mental set and then restructure an awareness along lines which are useful to you. From there. television has been around since 1925. etc. While it can be said. where consumption is the major cultural action fostered for the attainment of the good life. Mander points out Every advertiser. that parents and schools are frequently impediments to the fostering of responsible action. human action is embedded in webs of significance. for television is a mirror of commodity culture (Sullivan. One part of a cultural code is its moral code. television does reflect a moral code. capacity for responsible action). therefore. We should. and mass media personnel is the extent to which they encourage a sense of agency in those whom they would try to influence.e. the reflector can encourage or discourage certain types of action. or smaller. For example. it is the most active in the creation of images while reducing its watchers to a relative state of passivity (Sullivan. schools. such as parents. In order to consider the effects of social influences on moral character. It was not until the 1940s. one must not fall into the trap of thinking that those being socialized (children) are passive and those socializing (parents) are active. A mirror is a reflector. on their power to influence or detract from the development of moral agency (i. socialization agents are reflectors or mirrors of cultural codes. 1980). you may be flattered or miffed. in some instances. you may appear fatter. 1978). Depending on the qualities of the mirror.. It can give us images of ourselves and our surroundings. It is a mixture of both. as any parent will attest. Of all the other media mentioned. . they are not the issue here. As I said earlier. When you look in the mirror. teachers. This chapter concerns the role of television in the fostering or impeding of moral agency. whereas in radio you must create your own images since only the audio is supplied. and switching moods. 1980). jumping among attention focuses. Mander goes so far as to say that television is the invention of modern advertising. and mass media. As a technological device. aids in the achievement of a passive state. it will be helpful to introduce the idea of images and imagining. for example. There's nothing to it (p.

The paradox here is that the decline of public presence is synonymous with the steady advance of communications technologies. it is possible to watch television in an analytical-critical frame of mind: noticing specific camera angles.The socially constructed nature of television makes it more of a private event." It is a revolution because we are said to be moving.. camera distances. reflection is the enemy of commercial interests. We are now in the midst of what is being called a "communications revolution. 30). 1980). What has increasingly occurred since 1945 is that with the indirect mediation of significant events through the new technologies provided by the media without other forms of public expression. Modern advertising is designed to short-circuit reflection and deliberation. because your judgment may arrive at a different conclusion than the product being advertised. 1983a). There are some indications that something of the nature of a "cultural revolution" is taking place. in a rather dramatic fashion. TV AND THE DECLINE OF PUBLIC LIFE Moreover. As I have already said. as viewers. 1980). This finding does not mean that it is impossible to be analytical while viewing. a human act is an expression which has as one of its distinguishing characteristics. p. the use of moving camera. Yet the typical viewing situation is one which discouraged this kind of critical attentiveness (Nelson. these vicarious events become our public rituals. but it is not a normal outcome of conventional viewing: Thus. With satellite communications the viewing audience for major public events. sound-image and relationships. The turning point for this was the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963 (see Goethals. the advent of commercial television a cultural institution follows a steady development that can be characterized as a decline in "public life. Television was the focal point for a national ritual." This decline has been going on since the nineteenth century (Sullivan. even though the viewer-listener is receiving communications. Significance implies that moral action has a public nature. from an industrial to a communications society. Increasingly. A morally responsible actor is not a private actor. etc. significance. and determining the extent to which such techniques constitute to overall meaning. 1980. It has increasingly taken on this role since that time. There are some research indications that television viewings tend to disengage analytical thinking (Nelson. We depend on them as a means of communication with a wider world than our own immediate surroundings. such as a royal wedding. our . It is a premise of commercial television that the viewer is a consumer rather than an actor. is greater than for any prior events in the whole history of the human race. This kind of attentive viewing engages both hemispheres rather than putting one on "hold" [the left]. which presently have reached revolutionary proportions. Whereas a responsible actor deliberates.

that of the privatizing of consciousness and human experience. that a viewer. what is interesting and important to note about these communication technologies is that the programs and the commercial interests which sponsor them proceed on the assumption that there is a public to be formed (i.. Others will read a newspaper. in a typical North American family. The media give viewers access to many events outside their immediate awareness." or detective crime stories. news.V. health. Kavanaugh (1981) refers to these values as the "commodity form. examples underline the dependence that our culture is developing on communications technologies. In the process of discussing the new technologies of mass communications we have moved to the opposite of public expression. The less socially sensitive members of the family may tune out the spuriously public event of night-time TV watching and tune into another world offered by the Walkman. game shows.. In sum. you can only turn it off. p. during the day. wake up to early morning programming via TV. sets. soap. be it news.way of life and our cultural interests are being molded by the new communications technologies. is to keep the viewer or listener tuned in. is that there is no expectation that you will go out into the streets and do something other than consume the advertised products. 283). etc. Moreover. any gesture of response you make is an invisible act (Sennett. set. Some watch the evening news. should be privatized in terms of her or his own consciousness. beauty." What is very evident in conventional commercial programming of whatever variety. a passive public) to certain commercial and consumption values. Some watch children's programming. but in a form that leaves one as a private spectator to the events seen. Nevertheless. in order to hear the commercials.. Some will leave the room and go to their personal computer to play games. You cannot talk back to your T. soap operas. for example. etc. more will congregate to watch popular dramas such as "Dallas. etc. Richard Sennett makes the same point: The mass media infinitely heighten the knowledge people have of what transpires in the society. 1978. The viewer is asked to make no public commitment on . Many programs have a hooker advertisement for some of the fare to be seen later than evening. at least. commute in a car where a radio gives them traffic reports.e. game shows. be it radio or television. It is likely.V. In fact. and they infinitely inhibit the capacity of people to convert that knowledge into political action. and exercise programs. that each individual in that family will have been spoken to by TV figures more than they have spoken to one another. there is a paradox here which needs elucidation. having increased access to world events via the evening news. and financial information. Many North Americans. the main objective of a network such as CBS. It seems contradictory to say. Unless you are something of a crank and immediately telephone your friends to inform them you have tuned out an obnoxious politician and urge them also to turn off their T.

1984). People are not encouraged to discuss and problematize what they are seeing or hearing. Let me now make some summary statements before proceeding to some new issues. responsible and significant (cf. It is done in the privacy of one's own home. in some way. Either way. Television is a medium par excellence of these images (Sullivan. as already indicated. intending. There is the program communicator and the listener. I have characterized the human act as conscious. moral action is not simply an individual action. For each viewer or hearer it is a private and intimate event between the communicator and the individual. therefore. In other words. The issue of control over . I have specifically elaborated the characteristics of responsibility and significance because they amplify the moral and public nature of human action. it is a private experience. 1984). at least. Moral action and the development of character must be seen as a gift from one's society or culture (Nicgorski and Ellrod.the basis of the communication. Sullivan. Volume 1): the formation of character takes place within the womb or matrix of one's culture. characterizes the important concerns that culture must deal with in order to be called a culture. 1984). Television. There are images for social maintenance and social change. It is public because it is an expression that opens on a "world": it is significant. there is a positive case to be made for problematizing this medium as part of a program in moral education. public mass communications avoid public scrutiny. it's taken for granted. Every culture produces a set or cluster of images which. 1980). it is at the same time cultural action (Sullivan. A moral act is a responsible act that involves deliberation in order for it to be called a free act." Because of its privatized nature. Part of that moral education is to eliminate or. which can be combined or separate. intentional. Let me now suggest some parameters for the development of a problem-posing experience with television. It seems to me that the task of the moral educator is to foster institutions which encourage human acts which are responsible and significant. raise the problem regarding those institutions that reduce us to irresponsibility and insignificance and encourage us to be patients rather than human agents (Sullivan. 1981). THE MORAL ACT AS CULTURAL ACTION The idea that a moral act is responsible and significant assumes a "culture" which can enhance or deplete one's responsibility and significance as a moral actor. at the level of structure. For this reason I call this an event of "privatized consciousness. Because of the powerful influence of television as an inertial obstacle to human agency. The television is as familiar to the family as the family pet. At the same time it is the reflector or mirror of the most powerful commercial interests of our culture (Smythe. these images become part of the symbolic system of the child as he or she moves toward adulthood. is also monological in form.

rather than as groups. A culture's vision is its ability to continue coherent change. challenged form) of the cultural project or vision. however. and any culture which denies this will eventually die. cultural story and vision) as it is reflected in the culture's most important medium of communication. we happen to be the one who knows less. Through the stabilizing aspects of the cultural story or habitus. members are given a projection into the future. and the cultural task of believing that this is the best of all possible worlds. indeed an obligation. This perception of order and continuity is buttressed by "ideological symbols" which give a sense of stability and inevitability to a particular cultural synthesis.. This perception of cultural change is buttressed by utopian symbols (i. To live is to change. Thomas Groome refers to these symbol systems as stories and visions. I would like the reader to attend to the contemporary version of that dominant myth (i. in our case North American culture. The project is that dynamic within a culture that augments a future. It is important to understand that these symbol systems are not separate at the level of practical life. A culture's perspective or value consensus lives ambiguously within this story and vision. television. individuals are given a continuity with the past. in . for all intents and purposes.e.e. maintained. While I cannot go into the complexity of this history. These are not distinct. as a viewer. Western culture. Let us first notice that the communicator addresses us on the TV as individuals.e. We also come to learn that there are those who know more and those who know less. It is the cultural story of consumer capitalism. a duty to consume. Any culture is a complex mixture of a dominant story and project and non-dominant alternatives. It is in this interplay that cultural values are created. or that dynamic within a culture that preserves our cultural memory. We are individuals who have a right to own.. and that the individual.. The story is the linkage of the past into the present. its main cultural memory is that we have consumed yesterday and therefore have a right. Every stable culture has within it dominant symbols which rehearse why a culture is what it is and also symbols of what it ought to be. The vision is the linkage of the present into the future. ideological and utopian symbols)." With rare exceptions..our symbol-making capacities has some important consequences for the cultivation. of moral action. the not yet) which give a sense and direction to cultural change. I call this vision the cultural project. they never problem pose their expertise so we.e. It is here that one can see rehearsed our culture's habitus and project (i. is the receiver of a dominant story and project that has been developing over several centuries. is a receiver of information. it is the work we do today for a tomorrow. We are never asked to use our judgment: We are to rely on the judgment of "experts. Elsewhere I refer to the cultural story as its habitus. and altered. to consume today. Because of the transformative nature (i. but the dynamic interplay of humankind's need for stability (story) and change (vision). or lack thereof.

the utopian symbol of progress constantly erodes the cultural story by tying it to the "myth of consumption. The same applies when capital and labor. The TV frequently eclipses the need for public rituals that go beyond addressing the individual by providing quasi-public events. first and third world. a multinational such as United Technologies presents advertisements depicting technology as a cultural actor and transformer of our world. However upon closer scrutiny. Progress achieves equality by molding all within the confines of the dominant myth. male dominance. some nevertheless are more equal than others. They are capitalist white men from the first world. Here we come to believe that technology creates culture. 1983a). such as the football Super Bowl. or stereo that we bought yesterday is no longer adequate. Thus. but are the outcome of human decisions. For example. the portrayal of men's roles. Although it is not a person it is personified and we come to believe that technology accomplishes cultural tasks. The only stability in the story is the process of consumption itself and not the products. This is done by exploiting nature or manipulation. although undesirable. a public political life in which we make judgments is not encouraged. Thus merit becomes an essential caveat to our notion of equality. Progress symbols project the vision that we go forward gradually but inevitably." The products or the effects that we have acquired from products are constantly eroded by new products for consumption. It is interesting that a sports event of this kind could assume such prominence. For example. nuclear reactors don't just happen. are inevitable necessities for the maintenance of progress. accept their judgments as absolute. which are not shown in these commercials (Sullivan. . The mass media encourage us to think that we can move forward best by not questioning the integrity of the dominant cultural story. in contrast to women's. Therefore. In addition. it becomes clear why this is so. 1983a). the car. At the same time. It is the cultural myth of mastery over stewardship. Thus the agents of utopian change remain the same as the agents of the cultural story. At the level of viewing we come to realize that although all people are equal. are considered (Sullivan. What is absent from all of these commercials is the "human agency" and judgment which decides how our technological inventions come to fruition.effect. technology. It is best done when the communication is private and unquestioned. whites and blacks. men are said be equal to women. it is intimated that lethal armaments. toothpaste. The event extols the nation with a flag ceremony. The cultural vision or project of the dominant myth is the idea of progress. Thus. at the level of media images. shows the male species to be more important and significant. Although it is never the center stage of TV programming. Further. I might add that all of this cultural myth making can be done in the privacy of your own living room. given the new line of commodities. one of the dominant actors within our culture is not a person but technology. rather than being the by-product of a cultural consensus.

allows one to codify the dominant cultural story and vision. Commercial television. in fact. dramatizes the need for a stable social fabric: The first of the soul's needs. as we shall see. occurs that external circumstances have any power to inflict spiritual violence on the soul (Weil. the one which touches most nearly its eternal destiny. a texture of social relationships such that no one is compelled to violate imperative obligations in order to carry out other ones. if looked at carefully.. which focused upon both working conditions and wages. as she states it. 1971. help to manipulate public opinion into consumptive patterns of commodity culture.* then. but consumer action.competition. Stuart Ewen gives a current history of the new mass media and its systematic attempts to manipulate public opinion through advertising. is order. the French philosopher. Its objective is to penetrate any sense of order or resistance you might have to the message and thus render you a passive subject with consumption needs. p. a sense of order is the matrix for responsible and significant action. Media carry the messages of legitimation and mass media. and merit rewarded in the games "star" system. It is the dominant story and vision because commercial television is the forum for the most powerful commercial interests in our society. CONSUMER CAPITALISM: THE DOMINANT CULTURAL STORY AND VISION May I say at the outset of this section that it is essential for people to have a sense of order (i. I maintain that the dominant story and vision of commercial capitalism has progressively eroded our moral sense in the twentieth century. What I would like to consider now is the extent which the dominant cultural story and vision increasingly detract from our capacities to be moral actors within culture. 18). In North America. are the negations to one's sense of responsible moral action. The intent of a commercial is not to encourage you to be a moral agent. Freedom is built on an ordered social fabric (Marris. a significant turn of events took place around 1920. It is only where this. There is even a moment of "ideological silence" to pray for a suffering people. They sponsor the programs. It is within this dominant story and vision that we individually and collectively attempt to make our way as responsible and significant moral actors. . that is to say. Simone Weil. 1974). Weil is saying that a culture's "sense of order" is an antidote to violations of the soul which. Up to that time there was a considerable amount of labor unrest.e. The dominant story and vision of the mass media mirror is not moral action. habitus) in order to perform responsible action.

To this day.. As Dorfman and Mattelart point out about the Disney comics: As we have observed. in some significant ways. commodities in the marketplace of objects and ideas. In their own distinct way. It is. In essence and in all of its guises. yet in a real sense children bring new realities into our world. that message would be the advertising pitch for the consumption of products. but in the twentieth century a significant new organ of socialization has. it was found that labor could buy more products and this stimulated industry. or at least encircled.g. The cultural industry is the sole . there is a feeling of hope for the new generation in our elders. The legitimacy of the capitalist world order would be achieved not by coercion symbolized by the presence of the "captains of industry. One of the carrots was to sell labor on the idea of the need to consume products. In 1964. how could the mass population come to accept poor working conditions which many industrial jobs have as a natural outcome of mass production? The consensus was to draw the attention of the public away from the alienating production process and focus it upon the attractiveness of the products to be consumed or purchased as the outcome of that process. Television enters almost every home. Cultural stability is accomplished through the education of our children. The question was. rich and poor alike. As we have already indicated. television as a medium created the "child market" which specifically pitches its programming at children from 3 to 11 years of age (Golsen. The magazine is part of the situation. all of the mass media serve the cause of consumer culture.Concentrations of wealth (e. replaced. We seem to take all of this for granted for in advertising we live and move and have our being. it is extremely rare for an advertisement to show a product in the making. but one must realize that this is an invention of the twentieth century (Sullivan 1980). This refocusing away from production to products was to be accomplished through advertising. these traditional socializers. In one sense. 1975). This occurs partly by accident through a certain slippage in the socialization process. parents and schooling are partly responsible for the reproductive process of culture. a very democratic instrument." By 1920 North American labor was receiving better wages and there were significant attempts to bring the working people in line with industry. and makes no literacy demands (Mander." The message would be common to the population at large. those of Rockefeller and Ford) increased the resentment against these "captains of industry. all the relationships in the Disney world are compulsively consumerist." Rather. 1978). With higher wages. if I may be facetious. a more anonymous group of people (the ad men and women) would achieve this through the manipulation of the public's consciousness on a mass scale. it is part of an entertainment whose business it is to feed leisure with more leisure disguised as fantasy. The Disney industrial empire itself arose to service a society demanding entertainment. Ewen calls advertisers the "captains of consciousness.

306-307) At this point. friends and strangers the merits and demerits of the old and new models in any of a thousand different social contexts (Smythe. This is not restricted to the news. narcissism. 1983c). audience members come to the TV tube with rich past experience. The anchor-persons for the evening news are now assuming the legitimacy of cardinals in time past. NON-DOMINANT CULTURAL STORIES AND VISIONS: CULTURAL RESISTANCE TO THE DOMINANT FORMS . we cannot ignore the power of the mass media as a powerful instrument for value formation within our culture today. bards of the turf all converge on the event. I would like the reader to understand that I do not believe that people arc inherently passive and pacified by consumer images. and which very few can leave. teenagers. in the homes of friends and peer group members. Moreover. We bring to these media a certain complicity with our dominant culture: It is obvious that as children.remaining machine which has purged its contents of society's conflicts.A. The Super Bowl pulls out all the stops on the wonders of science and technology. This is irresponsibility and social anomaly. (Sullivan. 1980). and in all other social relationships (including transportation vehicles). At some level we must assume responsibility for the lives we lead or are prepared to tolerate. It is the bard for the glorification of technological wizardry. individualism. competition. Statistics. and on the persons of people they see at the job front. At the same time. It would be educationally dishonest to blame the mass media for our passivity before commercial images of the good life." where in this discourse is the opening for your capacities for critical judgment on cultural events? Without a sense of resistance to our present dominant cultural forms. and adults. is the only means of escape into a future which otherwise is implacably blocked by reality. educators must come to terms with the fact that a medium such as television is a moral education into the dominant cultural story and vision of North American culture. etc. If McDonald's does it all for you and Walter Cronkite says "that's the way it is. Technological experts are constantly marched out to explain to the unwashed public the significance of an event. A football game is a national ritual for those in the U. the game proper being a small portion of a larger extravaganza (Sullivan. consumption. experts. This new class of experts extol the values of expertise and technology. (pp. the school. our capacities for moral actions are rendered inert. Walter Cronkite was revered more than presidents and trusted more than clergy. They will also have discussed with family members. 1983c). They have observed and evaluated old and new models of products on the street.S. with commodities-in-general. and therefore. It is a playground to which ail children (and adults) can come.

The general description of the dominant cultural story and vision does not exhaust the stories and visions within a complex culture such as our own. Sartre (1968) in defining his notion of the human project declares that.e. encompassing the ideologies of culture. military. that is. Hegemony. hegemony) in all ideological realms. even if some of those classes are hardly in a position to consume... It is convenient here to consider what Kellner (1978) identifies as the four major ideological realms: (1) the economic realm. distribution. values. and values are reproduced and solidified through a range of institutions (e. (2) the cultural realm. To say that our personal worlds are not powerfully determined (i. social groups. 1983c).. and. legal-judicial system. these currents are contained and do not challenge the dominant myth (Sullivan. 1971). (p. In the normal course of events.. police. 95). schools. etc. experiences. (3) the political realm. beliefs. encompassing ideologies of the private sphere. Almost all social classes in our society adopt the powerful consumer values of the dominant culture. "every man is defined negatively by the sum total of possibles which are impossible for him. encompassing ideologies of the state. the dominant cultural form is said to be hegemonic (see Gramsci. exchanges.. 206) Williams (1973) identifies two oppositional forms to the hegemony of the dominant culture. Raymond Williams (1973) introduces the notion of "oppositional forms" to the dominant ethos as a way of handling this problem: We have to think again about the sources of that which is not corporate of those practices. The degree of existence of these alternative and oppositional forms is itself a matter of constant historical variation in real circumstances. television). etc. We can express this in two ways. There always exist within a culture oppositional stories and visions. it would seem that there is no room for any independence from this pervasive consciousness. values. etc. church. Hegemony refers to a form of ideological control in which dominant social practices. by a future more or less blocked off" (p. meanings. There is clearly something that we can call alternative to the effective dominant culture and there is something we can call oppositional in a true sense. The presence of a residual form is indicative that some experiences. If the powerful legitimations of modern capitalism exert themselves with such a dominating force (i.g. because of pervasiveness. etc. How could this be if the hegemony we have just spoken of is all pervasive? Left at this point. A residual is in essence a carryover from a previous historical period. we are locked into a total determinism of reproduction ("Whatever has been will be"). mass media. which are not part of the effective dominant culture.e. education. in the present case. Nevertheless. The hegemonic presence of the dominant cultural story and vision is not restricted to only mass media communications. which encompasses the ideologies of production. we do see breaks in the dominant form. and (4) the social realm.. . family. Normally. reproduced) under the hegemony of capitalism would be patently naive. relates to all major spheres of social existence.

1983). etc. 1983. which like divisive tactics and manipulation. nevertheless. Slinger. The experts are constantly marched out to explain to the audience public the meaning of events. Technological experts are not only there to sell products in the programming. If one thinks that part of what constitutes a moral action is deliberation and critical reflection. The concerns of ecologists for the environment. The emergent form. also serves the end of conquest. Why deliberate when there are "experts"? Does not TV extol the value of expertise in its day-to-day programming? Television suggests that technological expertise makes unnecessary our need for deliberation and reflection. It is conservative in the sense that certain historical values are considered to be worthy to be conserved (i. new significances and experiences are continually being created (Williams. of which programming is only a part. a repulsion at the moral outcomes of our present cultural values. A sense of history or lost history is intimated in the rejection of the anomaly of the present dominant commercial form. At the level of culture it is what Paolo Freire (1974) calls "cultural invasion": Cultural invasion. are some of the new moral agendas that our culture is facing. To be a moral actor within these types of concerns demands new responsibilities and significances. To speak of an "emergent form" in opposition to the dominant culture is to assume that new meanings and values. What we see in emergent form is the culture's development of a new set of moral concerns that have not been on the culture's moral agenda up to now. Values conserved from a previous epoch are remembered and extolled. In this phenomenon the invaders penetrate the cultural context of . Advertisers frequently talk about "penetrating an audience" (Ewen. questions the dominant cultural images but does not retreat from those images to an earlier cultural synthesis. The stories and visions for these nascent concerns are in the making and are thus emergent. 1973). respect for parents). 1983. This nostalgia can be held with a sophisticated criticism of present values and. One could characterize a residual position as both reactionary and conservative." The main function of the larger commercial venture. new practices. feminists for gender domination. is to make you a consumer rather than an actor. Kavanaugh.. Part of the problem of realizing new moral responsibilities is the veritable crowding out of these oppositional images within the media organs of the dominant culture (see Cover.e. The image it conveys to me is that of an invader. in many cases. the peace movement.. 1976). A certain nostalgia for a past cultural synthesis can be laced with romantic utopianism or a cultural pessimism. then it is necessary to come to terms with factors which discourage deliberation.meanings. like the residual form. lined on the basis of the residue of some previous social formation. It is reactionary in the sense that a residual system is a reaction to a dominant system or process. overriding oppositional images. The onslaught of mass media images acts as a veritable eclipse. and values which cannot be expressed or verified in terms of the dominant culture are. This hermeneutical exercise is what Paolo Freire (1974) calls "naming the world.

g. Rather than being viewed as resistance to the dominant myth. The media act as a "cultural invader" (see Freire. the mass media accent their differences and cover up their similarities as oppositional currents to the dominant social mythology of capitalism. labor concerns... hegemony). At times. many oppositional strains within our culture exist as independent expressions (e. I use the term creative significance because as moral agents our expressions must have (and be seen to have) the qualities of significance and responsibility (i.. peace movements).e. a movement). as an essential ingredient. these oppositional strains are frequently characterized within the mass media as simply deviance from the accepted cultural norm (i. peace movement activities).g. 150-51) I call the reader's attention to the last sentence in the above quote where it is indicated that creativity is linked to expression. in disrespect of the latter's potentialities. (pp. Culturing of Resistance . Linguistically..another group. trivializing oppositional images. but this is the exception rather than the rule. In order for moral action to be significant. In a very real sense.. I have already indicated that moral action is an expression which must have significance and responsibility (i. dialogue with one's world and events. In order for oppositional expression to be significant." It is a reflective cultural action (praxis) which poses problems about one's circumstances and is open to new ideas and new ways of looking at "taken for granted" cultural realities. that is.. THE FORM OF A CRITICAL PEDAGOGY Within our culture today there are emergent themes which are oppositional to the dominant social mythology capitalism. In addition. it is necessary to reflect and deliberate on those institutions which act in culture as a narcotic to critical oppositional awareness. This renders the person involved in this dialogue less prone to hyperbolic images to mystify events in the world (McDonald's does not do it all for you). deliberation). the pervasive onslaught images acts as a veritable eclipse. these opposition strains converge on a social concern (e. deliberation). because they rule culturally oppositional forms of their creative significance within dominant culture. it is necessary to reflect and deliberate on those institutions which culturally act as a narcotic on moral awareness. they impose their own view of the world upon those they invade and inhibit creativity of the invaded by curbing their expression. Frequently these oppositional forms are coordinated into a larger social expression of opposition (i. Critical awareness through the problem posing of media programming moves the situation to that of a dialogue. This moral awareness is what Freire (1974) calls "critical awareness.e. Thus.e. third world solidarity movements. The normal communication framework of TV is monological in nature. ecology. 1974). education for a critical (deliberative) consciousness has.e.

Under the hegemony of the mass media. one does not have to devise complicated learning processes. The cultural domination of the media presents a practical problem for oppositional currents within mass culture.. Developing Societal Projects . This media image should be problem posed in groups where people can have a dialogue about the cultural realities that form their awareness. a critical pedagogy of the mass media would be a culture of resistance to the dominant cultural myths of liberal capitalism. therefore. Since we are culturally saturated with these stories and visions. as a given within present day popular culture. With a playback the viewer assumes a modicum of control so as to gain a footing to problem pose dominant images (see Freire. or critical ability.e. "what is left in and what is left out of a program? Who benefits from what is left in and what is left out?" These probes are purposively simple because they tap into what Gramsci (1974) calls the public's "good sense. monological). Therefore. This is a first step in a problem-posing process (i. The normal viewing of TV. It is now possible to use media programming as a curriculum for a critical pedagogy of our cultural values. for example.One must accept. The need for a critical pedagogy. critical awareness).. it is important to assess the effect they have on us. It is. when one asks children to do some reflection on TV commercials.e. It is a latent awareness. does not allow dialogue and usually the viewers do not converse with one another (i. 1974). With video playback machines. will only be experienced when there is a sense that the dominant cultural myths are problematic to human survival and enhancement. of course. a critical media pedagogy confronts dominant images (i. What I am saying may first appear contradictory. given that the media communications system is a veritable communications eclipse around transformative and oppositional cultural stories (habitus) and visions (project). that the mass media are a popular molder of the dominant cultural values of capitalism. One can see this "good sense" when one problem poses soap operas in a women's reflection group. we have been cultivated as passive consumers of information. Problem posing a medium such as television has the effect of giving one easy access to the dominant myth making in our culture. the viewer now has a chance to control and edit dominant images and reflect on their influence for mounting the oppositional currents. a simple way to problem pose television programming is to ask.e. in the viewers. politically obtuse to treat the media as a peripheral concern in a liberatory educational praxis. that media images conceal more than they reveal and that the concealment serves to subjugate the viewers' awareness of real social processes. To explore media images further. For example. Therefore. One can see this good sense.." This is there to be developed and does have to be contained. resistance) rather than withdrawing from them (as if ignorance could detract from their cultural power).

The culturing of resistance can be only one aspect of a deliberative moment in critical pedagogy. Commercials can be reviewed and heroes and heroines can he discussed as a way that children will see the images which are considered important within our culture. sports. reflection on the media cannot be considered as complete unless it opens on and is motivated by the domain of politics in the public sphere (e. Children's Values. The latter cannot be done in front of a television. 1984). The case can be made that children's cultural values can be strongly influenced by a medium such as television (Sullivan. state apparatuses.Developing resistance to media images as a critical pedagogy cannot be an end in itself. A FEW EXAMPLES I close with a selected set of examples which are only suggestive of the particular form that a critical pedagogy of mass media might take in specific instances. health care. McDonald's will not do it all for you anymore than Walter Cronkite could have told us. One could take the Saturday morning children programming and explore values in our culture. 1980. for responsibility we have dependency. attitudes toward violence. ecology. their conscious intentionality. Thus. I will here suggest three areas in what the reader must realize are my own idiosyncratic examples." A critical pedagogy serves the educational function of helping actors to "name the world" with their own reflective judgment. that "that's the way it is. intentions. can easily utilize popular programming. to name a few. In a certain manner of speaking resistance is a negative moment which has the potential to reveal the normally concealed condition of domination. for intentionality we have withdrawal or privatization. etc. without question.. work settings. corporate images. This is the condition of the consumer vis-a-vis the mass media. It is in the public sphere that the world can be named and this is where the action of agents (not consumers) becomes cultural action that has significance (it means something). and for significance we have meaninglessness or anomie (Sullivan. A teacher who would like to have children reflect critically on their values concerning consumption. etc. This situation for those dominated turns its agent conditions listed above into their opposite. When the media are problem posed in this manner.e. children can achieve a certain distance from the emphasis on . domination or oppression operates when the agency of one's person or group (i. One can raise questions about peace. sex roles. and significance) denies that of the other person or group. responsibility.g. for intentions we have an absence of goal orientation or rootlessness.. 1983a. labor images. sexual stereotyping.).b). The education of resistance to mass media images simply names the oppression and codes existing power relations. for consciousness we have repression or concealment.. Thus. schooling. To reiterate. It seems to me that it is possible to use the media in an infinite number of ways for cultural reflection.

Women's Issues and the Mass Media. Soap operas. The film Killing Us Softly is a collection of advertisements which has the dramatic effect of coding the attitudes of modern advertising toward women. peaceful resolution of problems.consumption. illustrates the extension of this violence into pornography where women are perceived as desiring the violence that men visit on them for their sexual pleasure. more than men.. children have what Gramsci (1971) calls the "good sense" to assess commercial images critically which saturate the programming directed toward them in the media. Women exist for the project of men. In conventional advertising there is no sense of a project for women.g." "Charlie's Angels. competition). Soaps also show women as either very naive or as vicious schemers.. But the exploration of gender relations does not have to be restricted to advertisements. The exploration of sex roles through the media can be a critical pedagogical exercise for both men and women who are trying to transform the present gender hegemony. Since a video playback machine can freeze frames. and sexual objects. This is the place where children can explore alternative cultural options to their media images (e. The documentary film of the National Film Board of Canada. cooperation vs. agency).e.g. Surprisingly. This can be done by editing commercials and programs. competition.). "Policewoman. use sexuality to lure criminals. It is a place where children can explore the limitations of TV cultural images while watching popular programs. situation comedies. temperamental. The women's movement is one of the emergent oppositional forms dealing with exploitation along gender lines. even where women are acting as detectives (e." "Lobo. one is allowed a modicum of control over images for more conscious deliberation of dominant cultural images (i. Men are also seen as the dominant intelligence in the police hierarchy (e. and violence which is so pervasive on commercial television's children's programming (Sullivan. Careful attention to the media presentation of sex roles indicates the dominant values of commodity culture vis-a-vis women. Advertisements appear to be a very good revelation of the exploitation of women by the male cultural project. Not a Love Story.. A judicious editing of advertising can be very revealing when considering the exploitation of women as commodities. and detective stories can be equally revealing.. Women are constantly depicted as fickle. they. . 1980). They are constantly pictured as adornments to commodities or to men. A sustained look at modern advertising also reveals the high tolerance that our culture has toward violence to women. This type of coding helps to name and clarify the oppressive structures of gender that saturate popular awareness and resist transformation.g. For example." etc. Charlie's Angels always calling in to the anonymous Charlie). What the media reveal about sex roles is the powerful exploitation images that our culture has toward the sexes.

There was also a very marked positive aura for corporate activity." which can affect more people than a strike. Television: Corporate America's Game.The Coverage of Labor Issues. We can ignore it only at our moral and political peril. Ontario .. doctors. psychiatrists). rank-and-file workers from three unions studied television programming. lawyers. Ontario Institute for Studies in Education Toronto. The resourceful reader can think of many more examples. Crime was invariably blue-collar crime and law enforcement was usually carried out against working-class people or unemployed marginals. They concluded that all major networks illustrated a favorable bias in reporting management issues. My one major conclusion is that media communications must be an essential part of a critical pedagogy. It dramatized labor's uphill battle in having its agenda presented fairly and accurately by media coverage. There is no comparable violent symbolism for a "runaway corporation. when a union withholds its labor it receives the appellation "strike. The above examples are only illustrations of how a study of the media can be part of a consciousness-raising critical pedagogy. In addition. It also shows how labor resistance and initiatives are trivialized and made to appear deviant by media coverage." which has a violent connotation. In a very interesting study entitled. in regular programming there was a predominance of models from a professional class (e.g. What is important about this type of study is the consciousness raising that this activity had for rank-and-file union members. Thus.