Students will begin a project in media observation and analysis within the frame


Students will begin a project in media observation and analysis within the framework of cultural studies from the beginning of the course and submit by week 4/5. This will be modelled after the work of Kon Wajirō, to be discussed in the first week of class.
Now that the class is in full swing and you’ve had some time to think about your media ethnography project, I would like you to submit a document outlining your methodology. Ethnography requires participation, observation, and some form of control. Three issues for quality control in ethnography are:
Reactivity. How your presence affects the situation you are in and how placing subjects under observation changes behaviour. For this assignment, minimising your own presence might look like creating an anonymous account for a platform so as to see past algorithms already in place.
Reliability. Data must be consistent and credible. Data is shown to be consistent over duration or in multiple contexts, i.e. comparison over multiple times and/or in multiple locations or platforms would provide credible data.
Validity. Whether or not the data you gather is truthful. For example, if conducting a survey, the ability to weed out false answers from true.
Please submit a document that explains:
1) The media you will be analysing
2) How you will collect data following the three controls above
3) What you are interested in finding out – not necessarily a hypothesis but at least a general scope of intent
4) We have covered many different concepts around media in this course, from disciplinary power to eizō. Preliminary, is there a particular framework or idea which you think will help in analysing the information you gather.
This submission is meant to be so I can make sure you’re on the right track, guide you if you need any guidance, and get an idea of what to expect. That is, it’s meant to be so I can help you do well in the midterm project. Lay it out for me so I can understand the how and why of what you will be undertaking. Your submission itself will not be graded here.
Our methodology comes from Kon Wajirō’s project of ‘modernology’ and therefore is a form of Japanese media studies. While ideally the media you are going to study will be related to Japan, methodological considerations mean it may not be the case. So if Japan doesn’t come out in the media you study – for example, algorithmically it doesn’t appear on TikTok – then a good question might be to use that absence as a way to think about the other data. Why isn’t Japan there? A connection to Japan is not necessary in terms of media for you to connect it to Japan, Japanese media, and concepts from Japanese cultural studies.
Please submit your data along with a 1500-2000 word essay demonstrating your findings with recourse to ideas we have discussed in the course, such as aura, subjective technology, eizō, etc.


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