Sunday, October 25, 2009

Teresa's questions

1. It seems that mastering a language is necessary for conducting a semiotic analysis. For ESL people, this represents a huge barrier. Are there any examples of semiotic analyses conducted by non-native speakers? From what I could gather, I saw no example of this, which I find it amusing and discouraging at the same time.

2. Berger mentions that Marxist scholars face the danger of knowing the answers before asking the questions. I wonder whether any deductive approach to science faces the same problem: we have a preconceived idea of what is going on and we conduct our research study to demonstrate that this is or isn’t so. If several studies replicate an initial finding, the results become a theory. Does Berger’s critique really apply to Marxist theory only or to the deductive approach in general?

3. Discourse analysis can be approached from two different perspectives: (1) as a linguistic practice (e.g., van Dijk) and as a social practice (e.g., Foucault). In practice, how these two approaches are manifested in a research study or analysis?

4. In order to conduct an ideological analysis, the researcher should be immersed or deeply understand that ideology, so as to make sense of the codes and symbols that reflects the ideology in the text. But if the researcher is so immersed in that culture or ideology, how he/she can question assumptions that became natural or taken for granted? What’s a good practice to follow before doing an ideological analysis?

5. When Santa Ana talks about “the media” he means “mainstream media.” The advent of the digital media represents greater possibilities for the creation of alternative sources and voices; therefore, what are the consequences for the representation of marginalized or underrepresented groups? Does the creation of more alternative media diversify the hegemonic representation of certain groups or they become mere echo chambers of the mainstream media? Also, given that many of these alternative media have allowed the expression of polarizing views, I wonder whether the representation of these groups improves or worsens.

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