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Forum nameOkay Activist Archives
Topic subjectMyth & Symbology: Constructed Meaning
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=22&topic_id=33408&mesg_id=33449
33449, Myth & Symbology: Constructed Meaning
Posted by Nettrice, Fri Dec-16-05 04:14 PM
I teach media literacy and one of my sessions covers Text & Constructed Meaning. Text is any media message, including film. One of the reading I give to students is by Daniel Chandler who asserts that there are three models that describe the relationship between text (the media message) and the reader:

- The objectivist model refers to communication that is 'transmissive' or the meaning is 'transmitted' from a 'sender' to a passive 'receiver'.

- In the constructivist model meanings of texts are "neither completely predetermined nor completely open, but are subject to certain constraints."

"Individual readers may either accept, modify, ignore or reject such preferred readings, according to their experience, attitudes and purposes. This whole attitudinal spectrum towards meaning- making with texts parallels that relating to the nature of reality: ranging from objectivism, via intersubjectivity, to subjectivism."

- In the subjectivist model the reader is more experienced and involved in a "continual process of making inferences, evaluating the validity and significance of texts, relating them to prior experience, knowledge and viewpoint, and considering implications."

Depending on the level of literacy a reader (or viewer) will construct the meaning of the text based on myth & symbology (for example).

Symbology is the study of symbols and/or signs, in their various manifestations. A myth is a traditional story accepted as history. Myths serve to explain the world view of a people. Often symbols are used to form the story because they can be repeated and remembered over and over again. In the case of LOTR Tolkein created a myth for the people of England. As a Black person I am aware of this and do not expect any awareness or understanding of African or the Black experience. King Kong is different because we know about the symbology of Hollywood as it relates to racial stereotypes and we are aware of the psychology of white supremacy. We reject the myth because we find it hard to accept the symbology. A myth is not fact, so we cannot be objective about the content.

Peter Jackson may or may not be aware of the symbology but he certainly is aware of myth. I think he wants to perpetuate a myth that goes before Tolkien, back to the early writings and culture of the Enlightenment period that coincided with colonialism and oppression of native peoples of color.