Estudios culturales Archive

  • In light of numerous scientific studies, and also as a result of the challenges faced in the area of artificial intelligence, today it is possible to understand and describe in great detail how our brains work. 

According to some current ideological trends, we create our image of reality. However, it is not an unreal, intentionally skewed vision imposed from without, but rather one that has been validated and consolidated by our experiences, created by combining an infinite number of schemas, facts and perceptions that together constitute our mental “puzzle” of the world we live in  –an image filled with distortions, gaps and flaws, true; but even more so with accurate assessments, since otherwise it would be impossible for us to survive–. 

Our brains, furthermore, work in modules, using specific mechanisms,  transforming our perceptions into symbols, and in turn into behaviours. 
This explains why human languages are the way the are, and why literature builds stories the way it does;  as well as why both language and literature really influence us, and we them, with all the advantages and dangers this entails. 

The inevitability of both good and bad uses of human expression and their impact on us, explains why we have a specific mental module, innate, having the mission of detecting lies, traps and falsehoods, since they  threaten making efficient decisions regarding survival.  
Since we have this module, people who lie end up having no credibility, as tends to happen in the media, institutions, civil and cultural authorities, and individuals in a cyclical manner throughout history. 

Later in this article we will discuss in greater detail the fascinating characteristics of brain function which are relevant to linguistic and literary studies; and the clear advantages studying Humanities and Neuroscience (non-ideologically speaking)  provide for our survival.

    THE WAY OUR BRAIN WORKS, AND HUMAN EXPRESSION. Implications for Literature, Media and research

    In light of numerous scientific studies, and also as a result of the challenges faced in the area of artificial intelligence, today it is possible to understand and describe in great detail how our brains work. According to some current ideological trends, we create our image of reality. However, it is not an unreal, intentionally skewed vision imposed from without, but rather one that has been validated and consolidated by our experiences, created by combining an infinite number of schemas, facts and perceptions that together constitute our mental “puzzle” of the world we live in –an image filled with distortions, gaps and flaws, true; but even more so with accurate assessments, since otherwise it would be impossible for us to survive–. Our brains, furthermore, work in modules, using specific mechanisms, transforming our perceptions into symbols, and in turn into behaviours. This explains why human languages are the way the are, and why literature builds stories the way it does; as well as why both language and literature really influence us, and we them, with all the advantages and dangers this entails. The inevitability of both good and bad uses of human expression and their impact on us, explains why we have a specific mental module, innate, having the mission of detecting lies, traps and falsehoods, since they threaten making efficient decisions regarding survival. Since we have this module, people who lie end up having no credibility, as tends to happen in the media, institutions, civil and cultural authorities, and individuals in a cyclical manner throughout history. Later in this article we will discuss in greater detail the fascinating characteristics of brain function which are relevant to linguistic and literary studies; and the clear advantages studying Humanities and Neuroscience (non-ideologically speaking) provide for our survival.

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  • A quick review of recent news from around the world, confirms the 2012 Edelman Barometer's conclusions (25 countries, 30,000 persons surveyed), in regards to the remarkable loss of trust, respect and credibility, experienced by major institutions in the last few years –a crisis deep enough to negatively affect their maneuverability, and to obstruct their proper and efficient operation. 
Let's consider the case of communications media:  A 40% credibility rating in countries like the USA and Europe, where people traditionally <strong>trusted</strong> their primary media companies, amounts to nothing, regardless of whether other institutions are faring worse.

In this article, including both the Edelman Barometer video and the above-mentioned information corroborating its claims, we present our analysis of how trust was lost and can be recovered. …As long as the stakeholders allow the establishment of some limits to agendas --...for their own benefit!
Not doing this would kill the Digital Society in which we have invested so much, before it can even operate to its full potential.

    No transaction without TRUST; no trust without evidence of VALUES –But WHOSE values…?

    A quick review of recent news from around the world, confirms the 2012 Edelman Barometer's conclusions (25 countries, 30,000 persons surveyed), in regards to the remarkable loss of trust, respect and credibility, experienced by major institutions in the last few years –a crisis deep enough to negatively affect their maneuverability, and to obstruct their proper and efficient operation. Let's consider the case of communications media: A 40% credibility rating in countries like the USA and Europe, where people traditionally trusted their primary media companies, amounts to nothing, regardless of whether other institutions are faring worse. In this article, including both the Edelman Barometer video and the above-mentioned information corroborating its claims, we present our analysis of how trust was lost and can be recovered. …As long as the stakeholders allow the establishment of some limits to agendas --...for their own benefit! Not doing this would kill the Digital Society in which we have invested so much, before it can even operate to its full potential.

    Continue Reading...

  • In the same way that “no action is without an equal and opposite reaction”, there are no sounds that produce no effects.  
And precisely because they generate things inside of us  –they change us–, sounds are powerful: Just as they make us happy or well, they make us uncomfortable or ill.
That said, what do we know about them?; what are their effects? 
Do we know how to use them, both in our professional lives (for example: as a brand for our product), as well as in our private lives?
Julian Treasure is a professional who creates sounds for marketing and for communications media. And today's talk (the video) –the first of three–, simply and brilliantly introduces us to the world of sounds. Because “hearing better”, is living better...

    THE POWER OF SOUND –…by its effects you shall know it; talk by Julian Treasure

    In the same way that “no action is without an equal and opposite reaction”, there are no sounds that produce no effects. And precisely because they generate things inside of us –they change us–, sounds are powerful: Just as they make us happy or well, they make us uncomfortable or ill. That said, what do we know about them?; what are their effects? Do we know how to use them, both in our professional lives (for example: as a brand for our product), as well as in our private lives? Julian Treasure is a professional who creates sounds for marketing and for communications media. And today's talk (the video) –the first of three–, simply and brilliantly introduces us to the world of sounds. Because “hearing better”, is living better...

    Continue Reading...

  • An analysis of morbid content as a narrative device with a boomerang effect, since even when it generates an audience, it tends to kill the media source that resorted to using it (updated version).

    Have you ever wondered WHAT “MORBID” CONTENTS ARE?

    An analysis of morbid content as a narrative device with a boomerang effect, since even when it generates an audience, it tends to kill the media source that resorted to using it (updated version).

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  • A story where "nothing happens", may hardly prove interesting.  Another one that produces in us a brutal level of anxiety, by accumulating destructive events, cannot sustain itself as the most enjoyable one --as a "long runner" product, either.  In mass media, like everywhere else, the "right" seasoning is difficult to obtain, as different types of contents must be balanced and integrated to produce an enjoyable and memorable "dish", so that it will be able to fulfill its social function without harming society.  This is what this article talks about.

    Little by little, you can grow ACCUSTOMED TO (ALMOST) EVERYTHING!

    A story where "nothing happens", may hardly prove interesting. Another one that produces in us a brutal level of anxiety, by accumulating destructive events, cannot sustain itself as the most enjoyable one --as a "long runner" product, either. In mass media, like everywhere else, the "right" seasoning is difficult to obtain, as different types of contents must be balanced and integrated to produce an enjoyable and memorable "dish", so that it will be able to fulfill its social function without harming society. This is what this article talks about.

    Continue Reading...

  • This article was our first project on literary theory (or “poetics”), regarding works produced for popular, mass consumption. It explains how they are characterized by the repetitive and codified use of certain narrative schemas with which the audience is already familiar, and provides examples taken primarily from the telenovela industry. 

It was published long before Hawkin's "memes" (contagious, imitated ideas) became habitual amongst Communications people, and it does not only refer to them, but to the many various elements Literary scholars have analyzed as narrative building blocks in cultures all around the world, for centuries without end.

    MARGINALIZED LITERATURE, a new vision of an everlasting cultural issue

    This article was our first project on literary theory (or “poetics”), regarding works produced for popular, mass consumption. It explains how they are characterized by the repetitive and codified use of certain narrative schemas with which the audience is already familiar, and provides examples taken primarily from the telenovela industry. It was published long before Hawkin's "memes" (contagious, imitated ideas) became habitual amongst Communications people, and it does not only refer to them, but to the many various elements Literary scholars have analyzed as narrative building blocks in cultures all around the world, for centuries without end.

    Continue Reading...

  • Once in a while we run across the words "colective aesthetics", but few can explain to us what they mean in terms anyone can understand.  This brief article achieves this seemingly unsurmountable task, through exposing us to a fun and short test no-one "flunks", no-one fails to answer.  Not only does it make us laugh, it also makes us think why in the world we all know these things.  If our brains strive innately to learn and retain them, then --somehow, they are necessary for our survival both as individuals and as societies. It naturally follows that those literatures that feed on these elements and keep them alive, constitute a premier social institution, even if our society frequently fails to appreciate it.

    A test about media, YOU JUST WILL LOVE TO ANSWER!

    Once in a while we run across the words "colective aesthetics", but few can explain to us what they mean in terms anyone can understand. This brief article achieves this seemingly unsurmountable task, through exposing us to a fun and short test no-one "flunks", no-one fails to answer. Not only does it make us laugh, it also makes us think why in the world we all know these things. If our brains strive innately to learn and retain them, then --somehow, they are necessary for our survival both as individuals and as societies. It naturally follows that those literatures that feed on these elements and keep them alive, constitute a premier social institution, even if our society frequently fails to appreciate it.

    Continue Reading...

  • Like any other schooling system, Modern formal education in the Western world, tends to reproduce in students a certain mindset -a certain frame of mind, therefore privileging a particular type of intelligence --the literate one in this case, over others. 
We must not forget that this type of intelligence is not the only one humans can access, however:  There are other intellectual abilites which it is also worthwhile to acquire, like those an oral culture appreciates, and which are innate to our species.

If we keep basic concept like this is mind, we will be able to make more accurate assumptions about reality, thus improving the quality of the decisions we make,  the worth of our opinions, and their impact in the world.

This article mentions one clear example: How  the differences between the oral and the literate mindsets, and their intrinsic biases, reduce the possibility of reaching a durable and fair solution for conflicts as serious as the Chiapas rebellion in Mexico, thus gravely affecting the life of a whole nation.  The paradigm shift is another example.
__
This is a short version for the general audience, of a very long specialized article that the Revista Digital Universitaria de la UNAM, published in 2002.

    O, YEE PROUD PRINTED LETTER…!, or How we have come to forget the worth and value of orality and “normality” in the last 100 years.

    Like any other schooling system, Modern formal education in the Western world, tends to reproduce in students a certain mindset -a certain frame of mind, therefore privileging a particular type of intelligence --the literate one in this case, over others. We must not forget that this type of intelligence is not the only one humans can access, however: There are other intellectual abilites which it is also worthwhile to acquire, like those an oral culture appreciates, and which are innate to our species. If we keep basic concept like this is mind, we will be able to make more accurate assumptions about reality, thus improving the quality of the decisions we make, the worth of our opinions, and their impact in the world. This article mentions one clear example: How the differences between the oral and the literate mindsets, and their intrinsic biases, reduce the possibility of reaching a durable and fair solution for conflicts as serious as the Chiapas rebellion in Mexico, thus gravely affecting the life of a whole nation. The paradigm shift is another example. __ This is a short version for the general audience, of a very long specialized article that the Revista Digital Universitaria de la UNAM, published in 2002.

    Continue Reading...

  •       Many say that the Digital Revolution --the birth of the internet, mobile (cell) phones, etc.-- killed traditional electronic media (radio, tv and cinema), as well as paper media.
     Nevertheless, when we analyse media sales-and-consumption statistics around the world --and particularly in the Western world, we realize that they started to lose credibility, reach and financial viability, long before the Digital Age.
     This talk makes a quick review of seemingly indestructible mainstream media along centuries and decades of our history --many of whom we are still familiar with, and how and why they met their end.

    When and WHY MASS MEDIA DIE

    Many say that the Digital Revolution --the birth of the internet, mobile (cell) phones, etc.-- killed traditional electronic media (radio, tv and cinema), as well as paper media. Nevertheless, when we analyse media sales-and-consumption statistics around the world --and particularly in the Western world, we realize that they started to lose credibility, reach and financial viability, long before the Digital Age. This talk makes a quick review of seemingly indestructible mainstream media along centuries and decades of our history --many of whom we are still familiar with, and how and why they met their end.

    Continue Reading...

  • This web is the result of a seminal discovery, expressed by an uncountable number of impartial consumer and scientific studies: That both because of personal and social reasons, the majority of us want […]

    FOR AUDIENCES WHO LONG TO HAVE FUN WITHOUT SUFFERING (including parents, teachers and all kinds of consumers)

    This web is the result of a seminal discovery, expressed by an uncountable number of impartial consumer and scientific studies: That both because of personal and social reasons, the majority of us want […]

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  • When we study colective aesthetics –like those modelling most popular and folk literatures, there is no way we can divorce the creator from his/her audience. Mass media, just like folk tales, feed precisely […]

    ARTICLES THAT INTEREST EVERYBODY (both creators and consumers)

    When we study colective aesthetics –like those modelling most popular and folk literatures, there is no way we can divorce the creator from his/her audience. Mass media, just like folk tales, feed precisely […]

    Continue Reading...

  • Communications media ARE in a terrible financial state; and not only in Spain, but in the better part of the Western world as well.

Last week news-programs loudly celebrated the fact that in 2010 “more Spanish films than ever before” had been shown (…!) in Spanish movie theaters; but this week only a few mentioned the fact that Madrid's movie theaters had 9% fewer patrons than last year... (Report on the Economic and Social Conditions of Madrid's Residents, apud “Qué” (daily newspaper), October 13, 2011, p. 4).

MacLuhan believed that “the media is the message”, because the dizzying developments in the technology we use to transmit media contents, dazzle and appeal to us in-and-of themselves –it calls out for attention like a volcanic eruption would.  That said, the frenentic technological race is coming to an end –in addition to proving to be extraordinarily costly, both for the media as well as for society.  ...And the contents that those in power allow us to transmit, are further and further removed from what their respective societies would naturally and spontaneously choose to consume, if allowed to.

The “ropes” are on fire; and it would appear that few in the world of Communications media –traditional, electronic or digital–, are prepared to risk it all, shouting “water for the ropes!”. The majority are terrified of speaking out, and of admitting that something is terribly wrong.  And therefore they are losing trustworthiness, influence, audience, and money.

As we already said on another occasion:  Every nation needs media; but the media –without its people– cannot exist at all…

    HELP SAVE MEDIA PEOPLE! (artists, creators, producers, publishers, distributors…)

    Communications media ARE in a terrible financial state; and not only in Spain, but in the better part of the Western world as well. Last week news-programs loudly celebrated the fact that in 2010 “more Spanish films than ever before” had been shown (…!) in Spanish movie theaters; but this week only a few mentioned the fact that Madrid's movie theaters had 9% fewer patrons than last year... (Report on the Economic and Social Conditions of Madrid's Residents, apud “Qué” (daily newspaper), October 13, 2011, p. 4). MacLuhan believed that “the media is the message”, because the dizzying developments in the technology we use to transmit media contents, dazzle and appeal to us in-and-of themselves –it calls out for attention like a volcanic eruption would. That said, the frenentic technological race is coming to an end –in addition to proving to be extraordinarily costly, both for the media as well as for society. ...And the contents that those in power allow us to transmit, are further and further removed from what their respective societies would naturally and spontaneously choose to consume, if allowed to. The “ropes” are on fire; and it would appear that few in the world of Communications media –traditional, electronic or digital–, are prepared to risk it all, shouting “water for the ropes!”. The majority are terrified of speaking out, and of admitting that something is terribly wrong. And therefore they are losing trustworthiness, influence, audience, and money. As we already said on another occasion: Every nation needs media; but the media –without its people– cannot exist at all…

    Continue Reading...

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