I’m wrapping up my typology of TSO players and intellectual property rights chapters this weekend and I’m getting kind of sentimental and sad about ending a chapter in my life also – and all my…ehm…work being visible on paper. I could have easily finished this sucker a year ago, but then I would have missed out on a few thoughts and new insights. But I suppose that also has contributed to my low self esteem and the constant second guessing of my thoughts, memories, sentences, conclusions, understandings, sanity and intelligence. So I’m not recomending the extra year, far from it, but I’m just saying that I’m glad I took it. I’ve had such a great time, learning so incredibly much – both relevant and irrelevant.
One thing that I absolutely adore and despise about Media Studies is that it encompasses so incredibly much! Back in my bachelor days I never quite got into the spirit of ‘reading’ film – I mean, sure! I loved reaching for hidden meanings and mis-en-scene and – well, to be honest I’m getting bored just writing about it now, so maybe ‘love’ is too strong a word here. Two semesters of film classes was quite enough for me. Anyways…I was lucky and privileged to have Tiziana Terranova introduce me to…ehm…I think we called it Cyberculture, back then (1997-2000) – which blew my mind and woke my desire to learn more! I remember becoming a huge Baudrillard and Foucault fan and discussing hyperreality with passion at the local pub. Ooooh! I’m about to give you my life story here aren’t I? I suppose my point is that I come from a Media Studies background, a part of the Cultural Studies movement (?). On paper I can supposedly ‘read’ film, pictures, commercials and understand media politics (hahahahaha!) and well at least discuss the issues of identity in media and semiotics.
When I decided to go back to university and start my Masters Degree, it didn’t even cross my mind to look at other departments than the Media Studies department. Ofcourse, now, I would have had an extra look at Dr. Walker’s Humanistic Informatics, but I didn’t even know it existed back then and I might have been tempted to start all over with New Media Studies(which really looks like a great and useful degree). Of course, then, I only knew that I wanted to reasearch a virtual society – I still didn’t know that gaming was my true intellectual turn on!
I guess now that I’m nearing the end (dear God, plz, don’t let me extend the deadline AGAIN!!!!), I’m wondering if I’ve strayed too far away from Media Studies. Which ofcourse leads us to the question of what exactly is
Media Studies? Now…I’m about to finish my Masters in it, so I really should know, shouldn’t I? Well…guess what! First step, as almost always, wikipedia
“Media studies is an area of scholarly inquiry approached from both humanities
and social science perspectives that considers the nature and effects of mass
media upon individuals and society, as well as analysing actual media content
and representations. A cross-disciplinary field, media studies uses
techniques and theorists from sociology, cultural studies, anthropology,
psychology, art theory, information theory, and economics.”
Well….who can disagree with that? But kinda vast, no? That’s media studies for you! So I guess you could say that all we really do is take some form of media (it doesn’t have to be mass does it?), analyse it and it’s impact on society using lots of other discipline’s theories and techniques? Which makes me wonder…what’s NOT Media Studies?
I am, ofcourse exaggerating immensely here – but I can say that my Media Studies bachelor degree is a lot different and I mean EXTREMELY different from what my fellow Master Students have. I’m not saying either one is better than the other – they’re just soo incredibly different! I had the privelege of being a seminar leader for a media analysis class one semester and the curriculum was unknown territority for me (except for Bordwell & Thompson
ofcourse!). And I remember being taken aback by the stubborness of these students and their definitions of what media are. Sometimes I felt like a witch trying to lure the students to my way of thinking with my mumbo jumbo witchcraft of ‘question everything’! I’m not knocking them, I think I was just the same at that stage in my education, it just suprised me is all! This concrete wall of stubborness! What I thought was even more peculiar, however, was when I started facing the wall again in classes specially designed for masters students at my department – but I’ll come back to that later.
Although…you know…I really have to say this one out loud!!! When you’re at the masters level it’s really freakin annoying when you raise your hand in a lecture just to repeat what you read in the curriculum – it’s just a waste of freakin’ time! If you have a genuine question, fine! But don’t do it just to kiss ass! I’m sorry – I can forgive kids for not knowing better – but after 4 years of studying you should know better! ( or…hehe…maybe that’s what I’ve been doing wrong all this time)
So where the hell was I? MEDIA STUDIES!!! Have I used enough Media Studies theory in my thesis? Am I supposed to know this? And I was thinking, Media Studies is so different from one university to the next – would it help if the department came up with their own definition? Maybe a mission statement of sorts? What is it the professors and administration see as Media Studies. Do they have a common definition? Would such a definition restrict research abilities and narrow the field too much – or would it actually empower the department? Make it stronger and oops…I may be overstepping my bounds here but actually working together and not on individual projects outward?
Our department is supposed to be working together with Information Sciences – I’m wondering why? Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s by discussing with Information Science students that I’ve learned the utmost! I can’t tell you how extremely greatful I am for the Infomedia blogs
which FINALLY put me in touch with students and teachers who thought about the same things I do! Which I choose to believe was the whole point of this ‘flower meadow’ (blomstereng) called Infomedia. However – I mention discussion, because we’re still at complete different poles! It’s when we meet, argue, debate and discuss that fertile ground is sowed – but then again, maybe we’re seeing this with youngun Stavelin
and his posse? Huh!I guess I’m also thinking about this now, because I’m wondering if Media Studies is the way to go when studying games! A combination of Media Studies and Information Sciences – hell yeah! Argh…what is it I’m trying to say here, exactly? I suppose I wish that I’d used more McLuhan and Toronto School theory – and there’s a lot that we can use there! I can’t for the life of me understand why I haven’t and I’m rather annoyed by it – but far too deep to even begin considering them now! Although…maybe when considering communication…hmm….those parts are still a bloody mess…maybe this will tie it all together!
I’m completely off track now aren’t I?!! Well..such happens when my mind wanders! But, sadly my day at work (the kind that pays me) is over and I’m not allowed to blog anymore according to my evil alter ego, until I’ve finished these chapters! So excuse the mess – just me pondering away, letting my memories and thoughts flow freely – like a breath of fresh air!