Reflecting on critique

The third module of Making Meanings 103 has focused on the limits and possibilities of critique in context of postmodern thought and culture.

Choose an area of interest, e.g. the area of your major (film, advertising, journalism, fashion, international relations, new media, art, design, anthropology, information studies, etc.), and write a reflective commentary on possibilities of critique in that context. Think about the social or cultural purpose(s) or role(s) of that area/profession/practice (or the academic study of that area) as traditionally conceived, and reflect on the challenges that postmodern ideas, culture and society present to achieving that purpose or fulfilling that role. You may choose to focus on forms of critical practice in your chosen area (e.g. fashion as critique, journalism as critique, etc.), or on the kinds of criticism that may be leveled at that field or practice (e.g. fashion or journalism, etc., as object of critique).

In writing your reflection, be sure to incorporate direct citation and discussion of at least THREE of the relevant theoretical readings referred to in this unit, including at least one of the major theoretical pieces set for reading in Module 3. You should also consider doing some additional research (e.g. into the social mission or professional objectives of your chosen area) and you should feel free to refer to any past or current examples of critical practice in that field.

Although you do not have to address them one by one, you might use the following questions to get you thinking and to help guide your reflection:

 What social ‘benefit’ or ‘mission’ has your chosen field or practice traditionally been said to provide or fulfil?

 What traditionally might have counted as ‘critique’ (e.g. as subversion, as satire, as political opposition, etc.) in your chosen field?

 What role does such critique play in helping that field to fulfil its social mission or professional objectives?

 To what extent has postmodernism changed (reduced or enhanced, limited or diversified) the potential and the forms of critique in that field?

 Having nearly completed Making Meanings 103, how do you now understand the potential of critique in your chosen field?

 To what extent do you feel that the critical concepts and practices we’ve explored in this unit may be useful in future study or work in the area?

 Alternatively, what kinds of criticisms has your chosen area been subject to?

 What role has such criticism played in helping that field to fulfil its social mission or professional objectives?

 To what extent have these forms of criticism themselves become ‘popular’ or even ‘banal’?

 What new ideas has Making Meanings 103 helped you to develop about your chosen field and what new critical questions has the unit helped you to ask of that field?


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