Grand Narrative examples –

  1. Lord of the rings trilogy (Film).
  • Who Provides it? The mainstream media and film production companies, tv channels (interviews before release etc) Newspapers & magazines. Internet and web (youtube).
  • Who consumes it? The mass public.
  1. Vantage point (Film)
  • Who Provides it? The mainstream media and film production companies, tv channels (interviews before release etc) Newspapers & magazines. Internet and web (youtube).
  • Who consumes it? The mass public.
  1. 9/11 – Towers collapsing is main story, but meta-narrative is what america are doing in the middle-east etc.
  • Who provides it? Media (newspapers, internet, news reports) Film producers.
  • Who consumes it? Those who are exposed to it.

Spectacle Lecture notes

-Dadaism-Marcel Duchamp

-Surrealism/Freud- Not just about art but politics as well.

-Andre Breton (communists were surrealists, if not you were thrown out).

-Situalationism Anti- Bourgeois, it opposed everything before it. “Detournment” -turning things around, using existing workings and subverting them.

-Mirror image of detournment. Recuperation- supporting status quo.

*want, desire to consumer goods


*Commodity, fetishism *Roland Bathes*

*The New Citroen (Mythologies)

-Lead to false consciousness-Everything that was directly lived has now moved away into a representation.

-Totality Revolution/ want to make a change, change everything. You are either a part of a Spectacle or totally against it. 7

*Spontaneous collective-action for authentic existence

*1968 Revolutionary * .

* Integrated Spectacle




Find out what Baudrillard means by simulacra.

It is something that replaces reality with its representation “it is a question of substituting the signs of the real for the real”

Look at the relationship between spectacle and simulacrum.

Neither spectacle or simulacrum are real, they are simulations of reality. This is portrayed through signs and symbols.

How do both of these relate to marxist theories of alienation and commodity fetishism.

We are alienated from the real world as we are part of a spectacle. Everything is an illusion and we buy into that illusion, feeding our desire for consumption. This is commodity fetishism.


SIMULACRUM (simulacra)Something that replaces reality with its representation. Jean Baudrillard in “The Precession of Simulacra” defines this term as follows: “Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being, or a substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal…. It is no longer a question of imitation, nor duplication, nor even parody. It is a question of substituting the signs of the real for the real” (1-2). His primary examples are psychosomatic illness, Disneyland, and Watergate. Fredric Jameson provides a similar definition: the simulacrum’s “peculiar function lies in what Sartre would have called the derealization of the whole surrounding world of everyday reality” (34).

Subject/Theme/Object – Power in politics – Gives people power to vote, Gets a lot of media attention on British screens even though we cannot vote in it, we inevitably know that the result will affect us as a nation as well.

Candidates come here and meet the queen etc. Could be a way to get the British media on their side.

Legitimate and Illegitimate effects – Legitimate effects – Gives people power

Illegitimate effects – There are other things that need more attention but this spectacle has drawn the attention from other events e.g. Hurricane Sandy.

Surveillance – The government monitor who we are voting for and the trends in the country, they monitor hispanic and black voting trends from each state.  You can check Barack Obama Facebook and twitter to have real-time check on what is happening.

The elections on British media influence our social lives as what we see in the paper/news etc. we will talk about to our friends family, for example: If someone says they would have voted Obama then others may as well.

The main idea of faucault is discourse, discourse is the truth, morality, and meaning which are created in conversation. Every age has a dominant group of discursive elements that people live in unconsciously.

If we apply this to the power and knowledge of internalised surveillance/techniques of power then the information that is given to us by these groups of leaders is information that gets us to talk about them and remind us of them, hence the reason why we vote for them, or discuss the possibility of voting for them.

Basically, we are subconsciously absorbing all the information surrounding the US elections without actually directly being involved in them or participating.

Film extracts surrounding the idea

The campaign :

How have we come to focus on this topic

We looked at many recent spectacles that have happened in the past few weeks and the main one that stood out was the US elections.

Why should we be interested?

We should be interested because the results will indirectly affect our lives because the government leaders will meet and discuss potential deals that could potentially benefit or disadvantage our daily lives.

In this weeks lecture we were looking at ‘The Economy of Power’ and in further depth at Michael Foucault.

Michael Foucault was a french philosopher. His philosophical theories concentrated on what power is and how it works, also looking at how it controls knowledge etc. He thought of it as a form of social control.

He concentrated on human science and how we work as individuals and as a collective in order to generate power.  In the lecture we looked into depth about several techniques that are processed and how they are used today to explain social forms of power. ‘Foucault’s’ main idea was discourse, discourse simply means a conversation, information or knowledge. Now i briefly mentioned that he looked at how knowledge can be controlled so the idea of discourse for a social form is that when we talk to each other we have a physical control upon one another.  

Many people were confused at this stage but we were just scratching the surface, the ideas Foucault had was basically that us as individuals have the ability and the power to influence and be influenced by other things and by ourselves. which brings me to the examples we looked at in the lecture.

Now even more confusion stroke at this point in time but after letting it settle and thinking about it, we  can understand what Foucault was saying. The videos above are examples of three things. The first is Causality, the second is Choice and the last one is about limitations.

To begin with Causality is an excellent word and explanation for general life, for every action there is a reaction, or every cause there is an effect. Now applying this term for a general day in life is quite simple, whatever we do has a follow up, if we drop a pencil it hits the floor, if we pick it up we put it somewhere or write with it. The idea of the example is to get us to think about the idea of that and challenge it. A prime example is that if we drop a pen, what happens, it hits the floor, how about one day when we drop the pen and it floats, you would laugh, but it thinks outside the box and it is not a cliché it is a different way of looking at it. like ‘the merovingian says ‘people are told what to do’, in reply morpheus says ‘we have a choice’ and then the merovingian says no, choice is an illusion it is made by those who have power, the real questions is WHY? and that we should understand causality and that is how power is generated.

Now overall that is very confusing but it make sense, and the fact that as individuals we can apply that to our life makes us think differently, the other two videos cement that point. The second video looks at choice and we see that the choice that is given is given by morpheus who has the power, the question is why is he offering the pills in the first place, just another way of looking at the world. The last video is the limitation if we can look at these things different maybe we can touch upon something completely different to other people and make the public see things differently.

Foucault was heavily criticised due to his dense philosophical theories, however once you think about them and put then into practice they can make sense, one more example of looking at things differently was about deodorant. who told us that body odour was bad, other people now back in the 10th century i don’t think lynx was around o word of mouth and this idea of discourse has misdirected us and we have now power, because the person who distributed it has the power, the only real question is WHY?

The last thing looked at in the lecture was what the merovingian said last, we are all ‘Out Of Control’ at time in life you will look at these decisions and realise the ‘Why? and the reason don’t matter and so we just continue to live subliminally. ‘This is the nature of the universe, we struggle against it, we fight to deny it, but this is of course pretend, it is a lie, under our poised appearance the truth is, that we are completely out of control.

Identify at least 3 main social sites of contestation of where power is exercised?

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram

For each site, how is the power exercised, who is doing what to who and the different mechanism used?

  • Facebook – advertising is the exercise used in order to sell things to people
  • Twitter – Followers and being followed, the followers you have the more power and influence yo have
  • Instagram

What role does the media play in reproducing power relations identified in the 1st question?

  • If anything happens on these social sites the media escalates it and turns it into an issue. For example Tom Daly’s olympic gate and Ashley Cole when he called the FA a bunch of ‘twats’. The media picked up on this and escalated the matter to the public, giving us power to judge and criticise them. also the retweeting mechanism took place and journalisms picked it up as well as fellow celebrities.

Look at the master and slave relationship and how that relates to power and how we fit into particular discourse and the issues of that?

If you are being told that you fit into a particular discourse, even if the discourse can be a negative one, you can still be blind sided and believe in it; self fulfilling prophecy – if you call someone something for so long you will believe it. school is a good example of this, it starts at a young age and you grow into it.

When we talk about observation of others, how does this power reflect in our own lives, how are we observed?

Observations are made constantly, we are observed by everything we search. Even during social activities i.e facebook private messaging if you and  a friend were talking about a football match, once the page is refreshed then adverts related will be about the topic of football. we are always being observed even if you do think you are in private.

If there was a modern panopticon, how would it look?