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by | Jun 18, 2022 | Questions & Answers

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HUMN 3010 ? Communication Traditions
__Use the Brummett textbook as one of your sources. Please!__

Rhetorical Analysis of Popular Culture Paper ? 150 points, minimum 750-1000 words in length

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Both your topic and your paper will be submitted online through TurnItIn.com

* Topics submitted by noon on Monday, November 21st

* Paper due no later than noon on Friday, December 2nd

* No additional sources ? outside of the Brummett textbook ? are required

* Any popular culture text that is cited must be included in your paper (either materially or as a direct link)

Think about what we have covered in the Brummett textbook thus far (the following is a quick paraphrase of chapters 2 and 3).

(Summary of chapters 2 & 3. Please implement these in the paper.)

Signs, which are all around us, can function indexically, iconically, or symbolically. A particular subset of signs that are specifically powerful are known as cultural artifacts (signs become artifacts when they are charged with meaning). An artifact is any action, event, or object that has widely shared meanings and manifests group identification (think of the tattoo, functioning as an ?inside joke? to a particular group).

A text is a set or group of signs, whether that set is large or small, whose meanings all contribute to the same set of effects or functions. Most often, large groups of signs and artifacts, contributing to the same effect, are read as texts (a Michael Jackson music video, Pulp Fiction, attending a Marlins game, or an ad campaign for Dos Equis featuring ?the most interesting man in the world?).

Furthermore, like our in-class lunch exercise, any text is a representative sampling of an overall system of meanings that constitute an ideology linked to a group. Those meanings are rhetorical when we consider how a text (and the meanings we find or assign to it) is being managed so as to influence people.

This essay should be a critical analysis of an artifact of popular culture. In the paper you should:

(1) State a thesis about a specific text

(2) Decide what the context is for the text and stipulate whether the text can be read as reactive or proactive

(3) Outline the artifacts (the charged signs) apparent in the text

(4) Critically detect the meanings of those artifacts (consider that it is rare to be able to explain the entire meaning of a text, instead try to focus on some of the more interesting, influential, or controversial meanings and assess whether they have broad or narrow meanings)

(5) Say something about the audience/culture for whom the text is intended (Americans, Hispanics, women, soccer fans, homosexuals, Christians, etc.)

(6) Explain how the text (via the meanings located in its artifacts) functions to influence that audience/culture to think/act via direct tactics, implied strategies, or structures

(7) Determine whether that text?s meanings and influences either

a. act as metonymies, or

b. empower/disempower groups, or

c. can be used to make well-supported evaluative judgments that the text is good or bad, desirable or undesirable, etc.

Avoid topics that are obvious (sexism in music videos, violence on TV, materiality and the Kardashians) and instead aim for a substantive and original topic to examine.

Possible texts*:

* Music videos

* Advertisements

o Posters

o Billboards

o Print

o Video

* Viral videos

* Images/photography

* Television shows

o Characters in shows can be potentially read as texts

* Films

* Popular music

* Sporting events

* Magazines

* Cartoons

*I presume most people will want to select contemporary texts. However, you are welcome to consider historical texts (like Gone With the Wind, for example), but you will need to do more work to either place the work historically within its original context or offer a new context that is insightful and enlightening).


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