The Mind As Primary Organizing Cultural Studies Essay

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It is human tendency to divide the world into Self and Other. Such concepts operate in the mind as primary organizing ideas that influence frameworks of discourse about social relationships (van Dijk, 1980). They are mental containers for a series of images that range from the microcosmic to the macrocosmic: the Self can be thought of as the first person subject or as the entire universe and, similarly, the Other as the second person object or as nature. The worldview of each culture and the circumstances of its particular discourses at a given time shape the specific identity of the entities that are placed within these cognitive frameworks. At different times, the Self can be I, my family, my football team, my neighbourhood, my culture, my ethnic group, my religious group, my country, or humanity. Similarly, the Other can be a spouse, an adjacent community, a neighbouring state, another civilization, or nature. An entity that is viewed as an Other in one context comes to be seen as part of the Self in an alternative placement; for example, a rival state is incorporated into the larger Self in the situations where one identifies with all of humanity.

The clash of civilizations thesis, developed by Samuel Huntington (1993; 1996) and adopted as a primary framework for foreign policy formulation, disregards the complexity of human identities and relationships. To present the hugely pluralist "West" and "Islam" as static, monolithic entities is to misunderstand the dynamics of culture. Evolving relationships between sections of different civilizations produce shifting parameters of belonging. There exist widely-held, albeit vague, notions of what constitutes a civilization and what conglomeration of groups a particular civilization contains. Close scrutiny reveals many unresolved questions about who is to be included or excluded in a civilization; the internal debates on what sets of identities comprise the Self and the Other often give rise to some of the most bitter quarrels. Therefore, a thesis that presents a world neatly divided into well-defined and discrete civilizational blocs and then pits them against each other is dangerously simple-minded. It is a view of the world shared with the ideologues who wilfully ignore intercultural links to pursue a path of conflict. Several commentators (e.g., Aga Khan, 2002, June 23; Al-Nahayan, 2005, April 8; Ferrero-Waldner, 2006, March 27; Said, 2001, October 22; Tauran, 2012, March 17) have noted that the clash of civilizations thesis does not provide an informed way to analyse the conflict between segments of Western and Muslim civilizations. They suggest that its causes can be understood as stemming largely from ignorance rather than being inevitable and endemic outcomes of cultural or religious difference. Left unchallenged, the prevailing cultural ignorance will continue to cloud the analysis of unfolding events and most likely perpetuate senseless conflict.

Since I seek to apply the intellectual leadership model to South Korea's cooptation, I begin to look at the likely information flow from U.S. power elite to Korean media and to the general public in Korea. I then present Edward Said's work on Orientalism in order to articulate my approach. 147Noting the critical importance of financial news in instructing public opinion, next, I look at media frame research so as to categorize primary texts produced by the hegemon into technical, political and counterhegemonic frame. The second section is thus devoted to articulating my approach in adopting frame analysis. Since I also plan to analyze news articles, in this section, I present how I conceptualize "research frames," "symbolic stages," "cue-givers," and "attitudes." I finally pay particular attention to providing specific strategies for data collection. My approach to sampling is also laid out here.

If the importance of this kind of scholarship was evident prior to the events of September 11, such work has taken on added urgency as anti-Islamic discourse fuels the demonization of militant Muslims, validates U.S. led military campaigns, and impedes open and serious discussion of the question "why?" Karim doesn't stop at critique. At the same time as he implicates journalists in the propaganda war, he provides an alternative path by advocating an "informed journalism" disengaged from cultural, national, and institutional allegiance (pp. 183-188). Karim skilfully demonstrates the signifying power of discourse and positions journalists as agents in the construction of dominant representations of Islam. By placing particular emphasis on the notion of agency, he denaturalizes the Islam we see depicted in the news media and compels journalists to assume responsibility for the signifying power they wield and work toward rendering journalism a truly independent practice.


My data collection is divided into six stages that follow: U.S. government officials, U.S. intellectual, U.S and British media, Korean government officials, Korean intellectuals, and Korean news media. By collecting data from September 1997 to May 2005, I used those search words such as "Asia crisis, Korea crisis, causes and solutions, the Asian Monetary Fund, Dr. Mahathir, IMF reform and the New International Financial Architecture." Accordingly, I began to collect the U.S. government documents by using Google search engine. For this purpose, I first identified those government officials who worked with Treasury, State Department, Federal Reserve Banks, Commerce Department, the IMF and World Bank during the Asian crisis. Then, using specific names and the 91 Asian crisis or the Korean crisis, I attempted to reach to government official documents. Because U.S. Treasury, U.S. Congress and IMF provided all the related documents, there was little difficulty in collecting data. Particularly for the purpose of obtaining insider views, I also reviewed two biographies written by Paul Blustein at the Washington Post and Robert Rubin, former U.S. Treasury Secretary.169 In order to identify hegemon's organic intellectuals, I then sorted out the most prominent think tanks in the arena of foreign economic policy. Such think tanks as the Institution of International Economics (IIE), American Enterprise Institution (AEI), RAND Corporation, Brookings Institution and Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) were found. Since I intend to look closely at primary texts represented by research articles, my particular attention was also given to collecting relatively well-articulated financial analyses. Such universities as Harvard, Massachusetts Institution of Technology, Stanford, and University of California-Berkeley were intensively investigated for this purpose. Also I employed Google and ProQuestDirect in particular to assemble related articles. News articles were thus collected by using Lexis Academic or Factiva. In order to identify media frames along with specific attitudes, I focused on collecting editorials and news analyses that had average length of above 400 words. Since I intended to look into how research frames incorporated into public knowledge, I preferred lengthy articles to short-ones. Eventually, the total number of 201 articles was analyzed after being collected from the New York Times, Washington Post, (Asia) Wall Street Journal and Financial Times and Economist.

First of all, Said allows me to understand the relationship between "non-political" knowledge such as economic analysis and "political, institutional, and ideological 148 James Carey, quoted in Eve Munson & Catherine Warren, James Carey : a critical reader. Minneapolis, constrains" on producing it.150 Said then helps me realize the probability of the author's political intention that will determine the utility of knowledge. That is, if the author intends not to shed light on structural problems and focuses instead on technical problems, it is very likely for the readers not to recognize systematic problems. Further, Said assists me in considering the plausible flow from authoritative research institutions in a hegemon to its media to Korean elite and finally to the public in Korea. Said first notes, for example, that that there will be "a pool of interests" that is able to command "the attention of strategic planners and policy experts in [the] U.S. government."151 He then takes a notice the presence of "the leading academic figures … determined the intellectual agenda and the perspectives of influential sectors of the government and academy."152 This dissertation thus attempts to identify who those authoritative sources were and how political interests incorporated into their financial analyses.

I presuppose to see news as a form of public discourses since the news is expected to provide "a meaningful 'story' in the same way as speech is made up out of elements of language. Yet in order to convey story-lines or narratives to audiences, there must be a frame or schema that "holds together and gives coherence and meaning to a diverse array of symbols."154 So such professional communicators as journalists, public relation experts and government spokespersons require make strategic choices in devising supportive frames. It is thus believed that news frames can be manifested by "the presence or absence of certain keywords, stock phases, stereotyped images, sources of information, and sentences that provide thematically reinforcing clusters of facts or judgments."155 Or, such strategies as "persistent, patterns of cognition, interpretation and presentation, of selection, emphasis and exclusion" are supposed to be utilized so as to formulating news frames.156

Hence it is reasonable to claim that such media frames cannot be fully untangled by using such quantitative methods as content analysis. Undoubtedly, it will be plausible to descriptively examine such points as "uses of languages," "positions of images" and "number of sources." Yet since framing is to "select some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more salient," it is less likely to identify such qualitative aspects by quantitative methods alone.157 Thus, for example, Todd Gitlin combines content analysis with discourse analysis in order to figure out "strategies for noting and taking account of emphasis."158 But noticing that recurrence of certain texts may not be impressive, he also adds that the really significant item will be "the one which stands out as an exception from the general pattern- but which is also given, in its exceptional context, the greatest weight."159

Yet it is misleading to believe that such frames are able to penetrate audiences or readers. In other words, audiences may have different schema or frames that can negate, or at least neutralize the organizers' intended frames. The proponents of active audience model thus attempt to prove that audience had the capability of alternative decoding. However, in general, it is believed that such "unspoken and unacknowledged" media frame can affect not only the organizers notably journalists but also audiences. Russell Neuman et al claim in this regard that even though media frame would not predetermine the information that individuals would seek, it might shape aspects of the world and so it would take a central part in the process of constructing meaning.160 Similarly, John Eldridge et al insist that "media portrayals can shape audience understandings of what is legitimate or desirable, and of which characters are likely to be seen as 'cool', 'amazing', or the sort of person who 'everyone' would wish to be like."161 Thus David Paletz and Robert Entman even claim that "the general impact of the mass media is to socialize people into accepting the legitimacy of their country's political system; lead them to acquiesce in America's prevailing social values; direct their opinions in ways which do not undermine and often support the domestic and foreign objectives of elites; and deter them from active, meaningful participation in politics-rendering them quiescent before the powerful."162


Clash of civilizations frame

No political context of Abu Sayyaf

Emphasis taken to highlight Islam and Muslim in all reports

Effort to link Abu Sayyaf to Al-Qaeda

Reference to anti-Christian

Uses of the term "Islam" as a singular civilization or geopolitical bloc are also misleading. Similar to constructions of "the West", "Islam" is also generally imagined as a fixed entity of a clearly demarcated religion and a well-defined global set of adherents. It is often presented as acting as a monolith and also being acted upon by Others as a singly-constituted object. Mohammed Arkoun remarks that "[w]e can no longer use the word 'Islam' without quotation marks. It has been so misused and distorted by the media, Muslims themselves, and political scientists that we need a radical reworking of the concept" (Arkoun, 1990: 50). "Islam" has appeared as a timeless phenomenon?unchanging and static?in the discourses of both Muslims and non-Muslims. Actions that took place a thousand years ago are selectively chosen to provide explanations of the contemporary political stances of Muslim-majority governments or Muslim insurgents (Karim, 2003a). Dominant Western presentations of "Islam" are often caricatures of its most militant adherents, whose voices have tended to become the loudest in the broad range of Muslim opinions. This has come to make "the word Islam . . . sound to western ears like a rattlesnake's rattle" (Bulliet, 2004: 133). Terms such as "Muslim", "Sunni", and "Shia" have often become ways to sound alarms rather than to denote practitioners of a faith.

Despite this information, the overall construct of the news reflects "global war against

terrorism" images and the perception of threat, where terrorism is associated with

Islamic properties.41

Terrorists vs. bandits frame

We don't negotiate with terrorists

Attempt to discredit Gutang

Senator Carr said today the Australian government never paid ransoms, but he would not comment on whether one had been paid for Mr Rodwell's release.

"The Australian government never pays ransoms - to do so would leave Australians exposed in all parts of the world to kidnappers who'd be motivated by a desire to get money and to get it fast from the Australian government," Senator Carr told ABC TV.

The Abu Sayyaf, a small band of militants, is one of many armed Islamist groups operating in the southern Philippines. It has been blamed for the worst terror attacks in Philippine history and has a long history of kidnapping foreigners, Christians and local business people for ransom.

The group was set up in the troubled region in the early 1990s with funding from the Al-Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden and was initially led by a Filipino militant who fought against Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

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'Lawless' islands

The first cultural strategy employed by mainstream Turkish media was to show an ideal image of Western modernization in the fields of politics, community, culture, art, thought and daily life.

Apart from this representation or the "representation crisis" referring to imaginary Westernization fictions, "Turkish style Orientalism arising during this period comes into existence by feeding above all on dualities such as "West-East", "modernization-tradition" and "ancient-new, which had a practical role, purposefully providing a sociopolitical field regarding the psychological necessities of being Western and modern. East is identified with poverty, underdevelopment, traditionalism, violence and terror.