Hip-Hop for Dummies

I would not consider myself a hip-hop fan and until Mondays lecture I didn’t know the first thing about it. So this blog will be more of a self reflection of what I have come to understand about hip-hop; sort of a hip-hop for dummies tutorial.

  1. Firstly I learnt that hip-hop has 5 elements: MCing, DJing, breaking, graffiti and beat boxing. These five elements are interchangeable and have adapted by including additional fads that surface in these rudiments over time. (Such as popping and locking etc.)
  2. Hip-hop has many sub genres, these include commercial hip-hop, gangsta hip-hop and conscious hip-hop etc.
  3. People that live their lives according to hip-hop embody it as a lifestyle or vehicle of self expression and identification. In fact this quote was used during the lecture to describe the hip-hop lifestyle: “People talk about the four hip-hop elements … I think that there are far more than those: the way you walk, the way you talk, the way you look, the way you communicate” (DJ Kool Herc xi).
  4. There are many types of hip-hop depending on the place you live! It is usually a representation of a place and can include hip-hop of groups such as neighbourhoods, ethnic groups, towns and languages.
  5. Hip-hop is a diverse popular culture.

Overall, hip-hop is a form of expression and way of life for many people. It is an influential popular culture not only to artists and subscribers but to almost anybody that is exposed to the art form. Hip-hop is a phrase that carries many stereotypes and is often misunderstood. By dedicating more than 3 hours of my week to the study of hip-hop I can see that it is a beautiful form of self discovery and personal messages transformed into a form of art. While hip-hop is not my cup of tea I can honestly say that I have taken a much greater understanding of the concept and will apply it wherever possible. In conclusion, hip-hop is not limited to any race, skin colour or nationality but is a diverse and interchangeable form of culture.

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Me, an international student?

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Recent studies have announced that Australia is one of the most expensive countries students can take exchange in and makes up a total of one third of our export industry.

Before this week I had never really considered life as an international student or the notion that I could be considered an international student.

I have never travelled much and have never been out of the country at all, I transitioned straight from high school, a place with so few different nationalities to university one of many. Despite this I felt no real shock; I have always found such interest in cultural studies and want very much to travel to many countries. The shock was in a statement that Sukhmani made during a discussion about our interaction with exchange students. Never before had I considered myself as an international student. In my short time at university I have been exposed to many new things, during my first semester I lived with two initial strangers. One of the women was part Turkish and part Chinese, the other was from Pakistan.

International education as self-formation by Simon Marginson outlined what it means to be an international student and details some of the struggles that students face in Australia. Marginson provides insight into how we as Australians can contribute to an exchange students time in Australia and similarly what the student expects from Australia.

Marginson begins his article with statistics including my opening statement, he moves to a discussion about the educational and social experience of exchange, stating that exchange is more than a profit-making business rather it is an extremely enriching experience, potentially altering the perspectives of the students that undertake the exchange.

Marginson explores the lengths exchange students will go to in order to gain greater interactions with Australians, stating that many are willing to take risks to do so. Furthering this he explores Australia’s expectation that exchange students should adjust and acculturate themselves to their host country. It is expected that the student will alter from their home countries identity to their hosts. Marginson suggests that this is because Australia as do many other western countries assume they are superior to the home countries of the international exchange students.

Marginson compares the psychological definition of human identity to his own, determining that they are opposing as psychology states that human identity is fixed, while Marginson contradictorily defines human identity as ‘open, fluid and in motion’. In conjunction with this he states that identity is ambiguous, it is both how we see ourselves and how others see us, and just as we do international students shape their own identity.

Marginson emphasises that we as a host country must be aware of who these international students are and who they may become, we should treat each other with cultural negotiation rather than cultural conformity, and we need to give international students dignity as people, equal in standing and in rights with us.

I will leave you now with a quote from the reading, that I feel summarises the concept; “I want to emphasize that this idea of international education as self-formation markedly changes the way international students are seen and the way they are treated.”

God bless americanization

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I have returned to the bloggers sphere! After a hard earned break from the clicking of keypads and pens against desks, I have resumed my second semester of university. Naturally in the communications and media degree being back at UNI obviously means I am back to the blog. However while I am emulating the blog I established in BCM110, I am now reporting on issues at a global scale. This week I will be discussing globalisation in particular reference to cultural imperialism.

For those of you who have not sat through lecture after lecture on globalisation, it can be defined as a global movement towards the integration of economy, trade and communication.

Globalisation provides an interconnected world in which the difficulty has been removed from activities such as trade, communication and interdependence. Through which countries are able to adopt a more westernised culture.

Cultural imperialism is the extension of cultural values and ideas; this is more so spread through the media as opposed to economic trading. Cultural imperialism generally favours the more dominating culture, out weighing the ‘less desirable’ culture.

We can accurately explore cultural imperialism through the concept of Americanization. The nature of Americanization is to make American culture accessible anywhere. This is presented in the micro and macro world and evident in television shows, clothing and accessories, the media, politics etc.

For example:

 Television and movies:

Many of us favour American television shows and American channels on T.V; this extends to shows such as the Big Bang Theory, Under the Dome and Arrow (etc.) but not only does the value of Americanization release popular television shows, some of which airing in over 70 countries- America also produces many of our favourite T.V channels including MTV and FOX.

But Americanization is not limited to Television, many of our greatest blockbusters spring from Hollywood. Through these channels Americanization is strengthened by the mass numbers they are able to reach- thus making the media an incredible tool in its expansion.

Americanization is also portrayed in clothing and accessories, our media and politics (etc.)

Furthermore while globalisation connects the world, Americanization and similarly Westernization promote ‘the correct’ culture. At this rate quirky, rare and yet beautifully fascinating cultures will become extinct at the hands of the western world. I just don’t know if that’s a world I want to live in…

Until next week ladies and gentleman goodnight.

The finale: my reflection

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“If you never did you should. These things are fun

 and fun is good.” 

– Dr Seuss

6 weeks ago my BCM110 classmates and I were told that we were to initiate a blog; beginning with an introduction to ourselves, followed by a post a week that corresponds with what we have discussed in our lectures and tutorials. Some of my peers had experience in blogging, while I did not.

The experience can only be described as positive, liberating almost. To write about topics I am passionate about and examine aspects of that topic I may not have previously considered was a growing experience for me. Like many other bloggers the greatest thing I am taking away from this experience is the ability to express my opinion and feel that it is important because it is being read; through reading other people’s blogs I have seen such a difference in what we all have to say on the same topic. This has forced me to step out of my comfort zone in some instances and in others reflect upon something I hadn’t considered.

As just one person in a large lecture hall it was great to hear the voices of individuals and know that some were hearing mine.

Blogging has taught me to never take anything for face value, to examine it and investigate further, to ask questions and find answers. Perhaps the greatest thing I have learnt is that the use of semiotics is something I will never be able to escape from.

This week Dr Carr discussed surveillance, in brief: the use of surveillance is deemed important to our society. ‘If something goes wrong those CCTV cameras will catch it’- is this the case? Maybe you guys: my lovely readers could use my voice to research this. Is it invasion of privacy? Who then owns or controls the images? Are they a help to society?

And with that I will leave you.

Thanks guys♥

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Realate to me.

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Today’s topic is the public sphere, no-no not an actual sphere: rather an arena in which citizens may debate and discuss common societal concerns- as defined by Mr Jurgen Habermas in his book the Public Sphere

Well naturally as we modernise so to do our debates; and although we may consider ourselves to be a tolerant society and actively striving for equality- the public sphere is still a prominent module. So where does the public sphere operate? Just about everywhere! It is easy to find the most recent public concern buy flipping on your TV or radio, turning the page in your magazine or newspaper; in fact you can’t even escape the public sphere when having a conversation. I consider the greatest reflection of our society to be the content shown within it; this is evident when exploring television shows such as:

*        Modern Family

*        Can of Worms

*        Current reality TV

*         Etc

ED O'NEILL, RICO RODRIGUEZ, SOFIA VERGARA, NOLAN GOULD, JULIE BOWEN, ARIEL WINTER, TY BURRELL, SARAH HYLAND, JESSE TYLER FERGUSON, ERI STONESTREET

Modern Family abolishes what may be defined as the traditional family unit (mummy, daddy and two or three little babies) and introduces social change, portraying many different characteristics of today’s family:

*        Step Families

*        Age difference

*        Gay relationships

*        Adoption

*        Diversity

*        Etc.

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In conjunction to Modern Family, Can of Worms may be considered the epitome of the public sphere. Can of Worms is a talk show dedicated to discussing aspects of society that are present, common, every day concerns for the average community member. The show brings forth topics such as:

*        Social values

*        Political values

*        Personal values

*        Etc.

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In addition to Modern family and Can of Worms presenting the changing nature of society, current reality TV shows are an opportunity to view and express personal values that often address shifting societal values. We have can observe this is in programs such as Big Brother, the Hills, Australia’s Next Top Model, the Biggest Loser etc.

TV After Oprah

I consider Ellen DeGeneres and her talk show to be a great example of debate in the mediated sphere as well as a positive influence upon it. The talk show presents homosexuality, notions of acceptance and equality- alongside these aspects the show also embodies social values such as current events, holidays, celebrities, occasionally news and so on.

The show can be considered creditable in identifying societal change. A consistent discussion brought about by Ellen is equality to gay relationships; homosexuality is a frequently debated, familiar topic within the public sphere. While being gay is a common and a mostly accepted characteristic public concern persists over amending the Marriage Act to include the union between homosexual couples.

For more information about homosexuality in the mediated public sphere click on these links:

Homosexuality around the world: http://www.datehookup.com/content-homosexual-rights-around-the-world.htm; http://worldfocus.org/blog/tag/homosexuality-around-the-world/

Gay Rights a world of inequality: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/13/gay-rights-world-of-inequality

Homosexuality on TV: http://www.harvardindependent.com/2012/09/homosexuality-on-tv-not-there-yet/; http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/Spring04/Douglas/homosexuality%20on%20prime%20time%20television/root/index%20page/

In conclusion, as I have previously mentioned we are an evolving society that presents large amounts of power to the media that we subscribe to. The beauty in this is that through that media we are able to express and debate our opinions about what society should value; and while we are not all equal in terms of marriage, relationships and acceptance, with the publicity and exposure homosexuality has gained I believe it’ll get there.

“Power is addictative”

 

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Rupert Murdoch is chairman and CEO of News Corporations; he has published the Australian, the Wall Street journal and founded twentieth-Century Fox Film, Murdoch is a mass media mogul and according to Forbes has a net worth of 11.2 billion dollars, he is the 91st richest person in the world 33rd in America and 26th most powerful person in the world.  

Rupert Murdoch owns many media platforms including magazines, newspapers, news channels, television shows and movie networks. So when it comes to getting his opinion across Murdoch has no worries. The idea of media ownership is important to explore and at this point you should ask yourself ‘who owns my media?’

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Why is this important I hear, well I’m glad you asked.

Daily we are exposed to the media, whether it is as we read the morning newspaper, watch the television or listen to the radio we are all subject to the broadcasting of society’s media moguls. With greater ownership comes greater power; the more you own the more pull on society’s thoughts and opinions you have and with the ease in consuming media, here lies our problem.

The diagram below is to give you a greater idea of how much control Ruport Murdochs company News Corp. has:

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Media moguls may be considered some of the greatest influences in our lives; this is because the things we are shown, told or read about are in their hands. People like Rupert Murdoch are able to contort information in order to shape our experiences simply with the context of their broadcasting.  For example it is not at all hard to pick up a newspaper and see the blatant bias expressed in an article- how many of you question the point of view being fed to you.

Questioning who owns your media is essential in understanding where the information you consume is originating and recognising just how much control these people have over you.

A hijab of hidden messages!

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!” 

Con.tro.ver.sy: ‘a prolonged public dispute, debate, or contention; disputation concerning a matter of opinion’.

I want to talk about the fundamental aspects of semiotics. Semiotics is the study of signs and symbols used as a communication device. They consist of the signifier- the image itself and the signified- what is evoked by the image.

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The picture above has no words yet I’m sure that at least half of my readers associated it with a negative connotation. This is the beauty of semiotics, it is the power to influence the audience or provoke a specific thought with just a simple image.

The stereotypes of the Islamic faith are well renowned, however in case you haven’t turned on a TV in the last twelve years, the Islamic faith has a common stigma of being a congregation of terrorists. In a ‘multicultural’ nation it is undignified that we do not take it upon ourselves to look further- specifically when it determines another human beings reputation at a national level. Today I will attempt to change your perception and explore the controversy surrounding the Islamic faith.

"In television, films, books, newspapers and 
magazines Islam is presented as being a backward and barbaric 
religion. It is seen as oppressive and unjust; 
and more than this it is seen as being most oppressive
 to women. These various forms of media
 misrepresent Islam in different ways."
 (Simms, undated: np)

Beginning in 622 CE, Islam can be identified as a religion of ‘submission to god’ (Allah) and can be considered one of the world’s most controversial belief systems. This belief system was inspired by Muhammad (known as a ‘great prophet’), originating in the city of Mecca but gaining the appropriate structure as a belief system in Medina. Islam takes the form of prayer along with benevolence, charity and tolerance. Islamic beliefs dictate that the Koran (like the bible) provides ethical, moral and fundamental principles, values and norms that set the boundaries of human behaviour. Islam has many parallels to Christianity and Judaism, an essential concept of Islam is the belief that everything is premeditated- nothing happens without the ‘will or knowledge’ of Allah.Capture

Although there has been a rapid expansion of Islam throughout the world, negative connotations are continuously linked to the word ‘Muslim’; in spite of the facts. The Islamic faith is a peaceful belief system dictating that followers respect equality, morality and their faith and the majority of Islam adhere to this.

There are many degrees of the Islamic faith however for the purpose of this argument I will focus on just two. I will start with conventional Islam- these people are known as the Sunni’s, they carry out their faith directly according to the Koran, they are peaceful and considerate humans that bear many of the some values as you or I. The Sunni’s make up over 80% of the belief system and although the majority they are unfailingly the held responsible for the extremists. The extremists are dubbed the Shi’a, however more commonly known as the Al Qaeda or Taliban – they make up the minority of Islam however captivate the greatest audience. The Shi’a fight through and for Islam, they admire and worship martyrs and through their own dissent are violent towards both Muslim’s and non-Muslims.

It is clear that while the ‘terrorists’ do exist in the name of the Islamic faith, it is not fair to generalise this callous behaviour to all Muslims. It is unrealistic to accept everything the media tells you at face value.

The image displays an Islamic woman, this is the signifier. What is signified is up to you.

One other thing guys, please watch this video!

for more information about the islamic culture visit: http://religioustolerence.org/