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This media critique will be written on o the following theme (Justice). In this media critique you begin by asking: How is this text constituted through particular discourses and particular ways of seeing/understanding/knowing “Justice”. In this paper you will use a minimum of five (5) glossary terms (will attach below) and material from relevant course readings (minimum of two (2)) (will attach below) to answer this question. The goal of this paper is to have you demonstrate your ability to analyze media texts and your ability to apply key theoretical concepts in that analysis. this is the link of the pilot episode of the series Black Mirror which the critiques going to be about. You will have to watch the first episode of this series enable to write the critique. Here is 2 of the course reading I am going to attach the link here:


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SOCI/CRIM3546.2 Crime and Media
Winter 2018—Media Critiques
From the syllabus (just as a reminder):
This critique will be written on the following theme: Justice.
You can do these in any order BUT you can only focus on each theme once and the
theme MUST BE clearly indicated on the top of your assignment or it won’t be graded.
As you prepare for each critique you should have the following in mind:
How is this text constituted through particular discourses / ways of seeing / understanding
/ knowing “crime,” “criminals,” and / or “justice”? In each assignment you will use a
minimum of five (5) glossary terms and material from relevant course readings
(minimum of two (2)) to answer this question.
Ultimately, the goal of this assignment is to have you demonstrate your ability to analyze
media texts and your ability to apply key theoretical concepts in that analysis.
3546(Media Critique Handout)
Parameters of this assignment:
Length: 3 pages
Details: 12 point font, 1.5 spacing, SPELL CHECKED!
• Titles of TV shows in italics—also true for titles of books and journal
• Titles of episodes in “quotation marks.” —also true for titles of articles and/or
book chapters
• Episodes should be references in this way: (1001) First episode of first season,
(1002) second episode of first season. So the full reference for the pilot (first)
episode of Dexter would be: (“Dexter” 1001)—“Dexter” is actually the name
of the pilot episode of Dexter (note how it’s in “”, while the title of the series
in in italics)—if you want to know the title of a particular episode of a
particular series, google the series’ episode guide.
Source Materials: Any of the TV series we will be screening in class this term, that is:
Breaking Bad, Weeds, Dexter, The Wire, Oz, Orange is the New Black, Black Mirror, and
• You may only write about a show ONCE per term.
• You can write about ANY episode(s) of the show you want/are familiar with
(that is, you are not confined to the episode we watch in class). Just make sure
that it’s clear to me what episode(s) you are writing about.
• Minimum of FIVE terms from the glossary and TWO articles must be
referenced (clearly) in each assignment (see more below)
GROUP work: Absolutely fine. You can work in groups of no more than 3.
My GOAL for this assignment:
For you to demonstrate your ability to critically engage in a sustained inquiry of a text
relevant to the topic Crime and Media, focusing on three key concepts: crime, criminal,
and justice Further, to demonstrate your ability to use relevant research materials (course
articles and terms from the glossary) to support your argument and critique.
Your ROLE in completing this assignment is: To
(a) Identify a text that is appropriate to critique.
(b) Consider a critical question you want to ask/answer, or a point you want
elaborate, about that text (e.g. Is Dexter a moral subject? How is risk used to
legitimate particular forms of governance in The Wire?).
(c) Use the terms you’ve learned to define this semester (glossary), and the course
readings, to interpret the text; use these materials to support your
argument/critique/help answer your question.
3546(Media Critique Handout)
(d) Analyze your text through a critical evaluation based on what you’ve learned this
term; for example, contrast it with other relevant examples (of texts, of case
studies, of mediums), or proposing alternatives to the way it was put together (its
plot structure, characters, underlying ideology, dominant discourses, rhetorical
ploys, assumptions…)
(e) Don’t spend a lot of time describing the text.
What to do and what NOT to do:

DO NOT just describe the text. You may have to describe some aspects of
it. For example: “In the pilot episode of Dexter, we are introduced to Dexter
Morgan, a serial killer who works as a blood spatter expert in Miami.”
Okay… I think we’re on the same page now, what did you want to tell me
about Dexter?: “Although we know Dexter is, technically, a criminal, the text
works really hard so that we don’t see him in this way. In what follows I will
show you how the text constructs Dexter in particular ways that may facilitate
the audience’s reading of him as a hero rather than a villain/criminal.” Then
you will go on to make your argument, using a variety of terms and readings
from the course, and alternating between discussions of the text (you’ll notice
I said discussion and not description) and analysis of it.

Wait… what’s the difference between discussing the text and describing
it? Think of it this way, if you are describing the text to me, you are telling
me, step by step, what is happening: “In the opening scene Dexter (Michael C.
Hall) is talking to his boss. He comments that everyone thinks he’s normal
except for Detective Doakes (Erik King). They go into Captain LaGuerta’s
(Lauren Velez) office and she tells them about a new serial killer on the loose
in Miami. Doakes glowers at Dexter. Over lunch, Dexter complains about this
to his sister, a cop named Debra (Jennifer Carpenter), while she complains
about how much she wants to get out of vice and into homicide….” You get
the picture? If you are discussing the text, you already assume we share a
basic familiarity with it and we can move on to talk about the topic (crime,
criminal, justice) that is the actual focus of the paper: “From the start, the text
sets us up to feel sympathy for Dexter, or at least to sympathize with what he
does: kills other killers and people who have slipped through the criminal
justice system. While we may feel uncomfortable with the kind of thrill he
gets from dead bodies (Upon seeing the first victim of the “ice truck killer” he
says: “I’ve never seen such clean, dry, neat-looking dead flesh. Wonderful”
(“Dexter” 1001)), we understand that if there is a hero/villain dichotomy at
work here, Dexter is the hero. Consider the first murder scene in the pilot
episode, when he says to the child-murderer he plans to kill: “Children. I
could never do that. Not like you. Never, ever kids. Why? I have standards.”
o Note that when you introduce a character, it’s conventional practice to
put the name of the actor who portrays them in brackets (only the first
time you mention them though, not every time).
3546(Media Critique Handout)

DO NOT define the glossary terms in the middle of your critique. That is,
don’t say: “Dexter is a hero. According to our glossary a hero is….” Tell me
WHY you think Dexter is a hero given the way you (now, or maybe already)
understand the term. OR maybe…

Do NOT describe or quote huge portions of articles or basically make the
exact same argument as an author/article does and follow it point by point,
citing the author at the end of every one of your sentences (although this is
better than doing the same thing and not citing them). USE the articles to
support your analysis.

DO read the description of the requirements of the assignment carefully.
This is key to success. The outline of the proposal / paper (in a handout or
the course outline), will usually tell you exactly what needs to be in the
proposal / paper. Make sure you put everything that’s asked for in there.

DO ask a question you can answer
Even a small paper like the one you’ll be writing for this class requires
that you ask / answer a question, or look at some kind of data to
understand something about it. The first thing to consider is: can I actually
answer the question I’m asking? For example, take the question: Does
Trailer Park Boys make people commit crime? Can you answer this
question? Does data exist that would allow you to make a link between
crime and TPB spectatorship (the answer is no)? Then this isn’t a good
research question. If you ask—Does TPB affirm or disrupt stereotypes
about the kind of people who live in trailer parks?—then the answer to the
previous question is yes. You can look up research of perceptions of trailer
park dwellers. You can read articles about TPB. You can examine the text
(your data) to find examples that support your conclusion.

DO support your claims
In a research paper, you cannot just make broad claims about things
without supporting them. Take the claim: Nova Scotians love TPB, for
example. How do you know this? Do all Nova Scotians really love TPB?
You might say (if you can find the data): “According to X, 50% of all
Nova Scotians have watched at least 1 episode of TPB. About 50% of
them thought it was funny” (insert reference here). These are supported
claims, the previous one is not.
3546(Media Critique Handout)

DO remember who the social actors are and avoid generalizations.
Here are some things that are not social actors: Society, the Media. When
you say: Society does x, or thinks y… what and who do you actually
mean? Always try and be specific. If you say: People think the TPB are
hilarious, who do you actually mean (and how do you know this—see #3).

DO cite properly: Plagiarism is a slippery slope. Here are some rules:
o Always use “ ” when you are quoting directly (even if it’s just one or
two words).
o Paraphrasing means taking and idea and restating it completely in your
own words—it does not mean reorganizing someone else’s idea by
moving / changing a few words around.
o Always include the name of the author (last name), year of
publication, and page number. Always include a page number!

This is my ideal proofreading behavior:
o Write a rough draft.
o Print it out, read it and make notes and corrections on the paper.
o Check your assignment to make sure you haven’t forgotten to include
o Revise.
o Print a new draft. Read it aloud AND/OR trade it with a friend
(preferably someone with a firm grasp of spelling and grammar, who
knows your field). When reading aloud, listen to the sound of your
paper. Does it make sense? If asking a friend, tell them to be tough.
o Make or take notes and then revise.
o Read through a last time to find any typos, missed citations, etc.
o Make sure your information is on the final draft you are going to hand
in. Check for page numbers (the title page is NOT page 1).
o Hand in.
3546(Media Critique Handout)
Choosing a topic and getting started:
How do I pick my text?
Up to you, within the parameters described above. Try not to give yourself too much
material to deal with (e.g. all five seasons of The Wire). If you LOVE Breaking Bad, that
might be a great text to write about, but it’s also several seasons long… that’s a lot of
data. So maybe you want to write about one season, or even one particular episode that
highlights one of concepts we’re focusing on this term. Or maybe you want to talk about
just one character, and how s/he evolves across a number of episodes or seasons.
Whichever option you choose, don’t take on more than you can manage in three pages.
Okay. I have a text in mind. Now what?
Start by asking: what is it about this text that interests me in relation to the particular
concept (crime, criminality, justice) I’m focusing on in this? Then formulate a question
you want to ask, or a thesis about the concept that you would like to explore. It is fine to
start off with something general, BUT this can only be a starting off point. Remember:
you only have 3 pages.

Ask a question you can analyze by looking AT the text. Asking: “Does
watching cop shows make people mistrust the police?” doesn’t give you a
question it’s possible for you to answer. Instead, consider: “Does the first
season of The Wire offer narratives that suggest we should trust or mistrust the
police? What ideologies about policing underpin these narratives?”

So take a general question and look for a specific example that you can
answer in this type of assignment.
How do I cite:
(a) Glossary terms. You don’t need to cite the terms at all. Just use them. If you are
quoting from the glossary either cite or cite whoever I have referenced (although
see above on using definitions in these papers)
(b) Articles. In the course outline, I have a whole page on citation practices that I am
not going to reproduce here. Read that. But here are a few things to keep in mind:
(1) DO have a reference section at the end of your essay with the full citation of
the articles you’ve used (they are ALL in the course outline). (2) If you are
quoting directly please use quotation marks to indicate the quote. (3) All citations
of articles should be clearly indicated in the body of your work. For example:
a. Byers (2010) argues that “Dexter is a prime example of the ways in which
neoliberal; discourse…” (210).
b. Is Dexter a neoliberal hero? Well, Byers (2010) seems to think so, going
so far as to argue that he… (210) * Note that I have a page number
here even though I am not quoting directly. This is the style I prefer.
3546(Media Critique Handout)
c. At least one author I’ve read has argued that Dexter’s heroism needs to be
argued in light of the dominance of neoliberal discourse in contemporary
American television (Byers 2010).
3546(Media Critique Handout)
Context: The environment in which a particular event takes place,
which includes time and place and thus, within them, a sense of the
sociopolitical and cultural knowledges that belong to that time and
place. In media studies, context is often considered in terms of
both production (where was something produced, when, by whom,
under what circumstance) and reception (who is the ‘reader,’ what
is their experience, where are they…).
Changing Education Paradigms:

Genre: (OED): “kind, sort; style.” In a sense, genre is a series of
conventions which, taken together, allow us to identify a text as
belonging to one (or multiple in the case of hybrids) type, for
example, comedy, drama, thriller, and so on. Genres are usually
recognizable to us, but they aren’t static; they change, usually in
relation to changes in the sociocultural and political contexts of
their production and reception.
(Sex Pistols) Holidays in the sun (1977):

(Sum 41) Fat Lip (2001):

Halloween (1978):

Scary Movie (2000):

Effects: Something that produces specific results (often in the
sense of results that can be quantified, replicated, anticipated). In
media studies, we refer to “effects research” which is research
which attempts to show a clear, causal link between engaging
(reading, watching, listening) in media texts and particular forms
of behavior (particularly violent or otherwise socially “deviant”
Bowling For Columbine (Marilyn Manson):
Mediatization: Rather than view media and culture as separate
spheres, mediatization implies the reciprocal loop that connects
them In a mediatized world, we come to know and experience
things through the “social practice” of mediation (of things coming
to us through the media) (Brown, Sheila. Crime and Law in Media
Culture. Buckingham: Open U Press, 2003, 2). Here is no world
out there that media is separate from and represents, rather, media
plays a role in organization and shaping that world and its
The Newsroom (opening):

Diegesis: The world as it is lived by those within it. The
conventions of a particular text, which govern the characters that
live within it.
See, for example Buffy the Vampire Slarer, Lost, Star Trek
(pon farr and slash fiction), Battlestar Galactica (esp. the sue of
the word “Frak”).
Frame: In media studies the frame defines the parameters within
which a story is told and known. Those “pieces” of the story which
fall outside of the frame may not be represented (or representable).
London Riots:
Class dismissed:

Real/Reality: Compact Oxford English Dictionary of Current
English, Oxford University Press, 2005. (Full entry for reality:
“reality • noun (pl. realities) 1 the state of things as they actually
exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them. 2 a thing
that is actually experienced or seen. 3 the quality of being lifelike.
4 the state or quality of having existence or substance.” In
contemporary social theory, we refute the idea that reality is
knowable as a singular, unified truth; rather, it is seen as flexible,
fragmented, porous, and temporally/culturally specific. For
instance, poststructuralists would argue that reality is made
through language/discourse and so everything we know to be real
emerges from the organization language (we can link this to our
discussion of intertextuality, as well as to Brown’s points about
Any episode of virtually any episode of any Reality TV
Read up on the concept of “fake news.”
Dated, but still useful: Unmasking Photoshop:

Metaphor: “A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that
describes a subject by asserting that it is, on some point of
comparison, the same as another otherwise unrelated object.”

Drowning in grief
To have a broken heart
Raining Men
To reek/smell (on infidelity, of failure, of wealth)
The wheels of justice turn slowly
That (wo)man is a worm
Famous metaphors (from
• All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely
players. They have their exits and their entrances—William
• Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life—
Pablo Picasso
• I am the good shepherd, … and I lay down my life for the
sheep—The Bible, John 10:14-15
• All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same
tree—Albert Einstein
• Chaos is a friend of mine—Bob Dylan
• All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of
the mind—Khalil Gibran
• A hospital bed is a parked taxi with the meter running—
Groucho Marx
• A good conscience is a continual Christmas—Benjamin
• Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the
charming gardeners who make our souls blossom—Marcel
• And your very flesh shall be a great poem—Walt Whitman
• Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket—
George Orwell
• Dying is a wild night and a new road—Emily Dickinson
• Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart—William
• Conscience is a man’s compass—Vincent Van Gogh
Myth: Rather than something false, a myth is better thought of as a
story which hold, explains, documents, etc. a central belief of a
given social group.
The Purity Myth:

Joseph Campbell: the Power of Myth (SW):

Heroism/Hero(ine): Heroism is usually a narrative attribute of a
hero or heroine. In fiction, the hero(ine) is a character who faces
some sort of danger or struggle and must overcome adversity
(internal and external, literal and metaphorical) in order to find
resolution by making the world better for all or allowing us to “live
happily ever after.” The hero(ine) is often initially unrecognized
(or overlooked), and often appears unlikely to be victorious in the
face of a stronger opponent. It is often only through inner strength
of character that the hero(ine) is victorious.
Some heroes are antiheroes—that is, key characters who seem to
lack the qualities we associate with heroes/heroism, but who are
still centered in the narrative, and may be read as heroic through …
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