SOCA3666 Reflexive Analysis Assignment – Australia

Subject Code & Title :- SOCA3666 Reflexive Analysis
Assessment Type :- Assignment
Length :- 1000 words
Weighting :- (30%)
This assessment item asks you to choose a specific consumer product or technology object that was important to you in your early teenage years and write a reflexive analysis of your relationship to the object using theory from the course. Dig deep and be honest!
SOCA3666 Reflexive Analysis Assignment – Australia

SOCA3666 Reflexive Analysis Assignment - Australia

Students need to demonstrate their understanding of theory by reflexively applying it to themselves. The object needs to be a material thing that you can touch shoes, clothing a toy a brand ipod ipad phone, what ever. Do not use texts like a movie, TV show song digital games book etc.)

While you need to use and reference the theoretical material like a normal essay it is fine to use the first person in this assessment item as you need to talk about your own experiences and feelings through the course theories. But you do need to make sure that you use course theories each time you make an analytical point. The long lists of readings throughout the course guide are a good place to gather relevant material for this task.

A common question is: how many references should I use’? We don’t really have a preferred specific number – you just need to ensure that you are using references to define terms and also when you are reflecting you need to relate those personal experiences to the theories of the course. So when you do that you have to reference those theories to the author. In terms of the structure of the exercise, use the
5 questions below as sub headings and answer each question by using the relevant theoretical ideas from the course that relate to it:

• How did the object give you a sense of identity?
• Did the object relate to a sense of modernity? Why/ why not?
• Did you object help give you a sense of belonging or place? Why/ why not?
• In what ways were you “entangled” with the object?
• How has your relationship with the object changed over time and what has influenced this change?

The whole thing should be written in your own words no cutting and pasting, no using quotes.The 1000 words includes your answer to the 5 questions. It does not count the bibliography. The reflexive analysis is submitted by uploading it to Turnitin by the due date and time.

If you want feedback for your analysis you must complete the Essay Self Evaluation and Checklist sheet posted on Canvas and include it as the front page of the document that you submit to Turnitin.

Feedback will only be given when it is asked for through this method Essays not accompanied by this sheet and/or essays that have not asked for feedback will receive a mark only.

My object was a Hard cover graphic novel collection of the 1985 series Crisis on Infinite Earth. I purchased the book in 1998, and this item was my prized possession during my teenage years.

SOCA3666 Reflexive Analysis Assignment – Australia

1.How did the item express your self-identity?
Whilst the graphic novel in question may have been considered just a comic book to almost any body else to me it was imbued with the semiotic richness that Mary Douglas identified as coding objects with meaning far beyond their initial purpose (Douglas, 2003: 148). To me this book represented my new found identification as a comic book collector and in my mind, put me into an elite subcategory of an already niche identity. Whilst identification as a nerd did not bother me I was still concerned with my own authenticity and for me owning this book proved that I was serious about collecting. As Barthes noted, signs are polysemic (1973: 156), and whilst a reprinted collection of a comic book series printed ten years earlier may have symbolised nostalgia for another collector for me it represented the future and an image I wished to project and adopt. This purchase definitely betrayed my desire to belong to the comic reading subculture and to seek legitimacy within this sub group, and was certainly a bridge towards displaced meaning Paterson, 2006: 35). Upon reflection, my quest for individuality could definitely be seen as reliant on my ability to consume, even if this had never occurred to me at the time.

2.How would the item be construed in terms of social identity?
This book helped contribute greatly to my social identity by allowing me to position myself with a hierarchical group of friends by demonstrating that I possessed the required capital to authenticate my membership. Whilst the purchase of the collected edition was an expression of my economic capital the book being considerably more expensive than the usual single issues I could afford it was also an expression of my symbolic capital proving that I knew the right way to consume. I was utilising
the tool of consumption to assert my own status within a particular social group defining my own position in regards to other members (Lury, 1996: 46). My social identity was also being influenced by the avoidance of symbolic violence with in the community. As I had only started reading comics in 1997 my knowledge of continuity and characters was limited in comparison with my peers many who had been reading for decades. This inability to keep up in conversations betrayed my position as the newcomer, and thus influenced my purchase of what I saw as an integral graphic novel. This also betrays my reliance on the expert knowledges Lury discusses as I allowed myself to be guided by those that I identified as being more experienced than myself

SOCA3666 Reflexive Analysis Assignment – Australia

SOCA3666 Reflexive Analysis Assignment - Australia

3.In what ways were you performing distinction?
Given my limited habitus in the area of comic book collecting purchasing this book allowed me to perform my own distinction based on my consumption of the right cultural touchstones Peterson 2006: 44). By consuming this particular book I was demonstrating that my tastes were in line with the higher culture of a classic book rather than what was seen as the less attractive mainstream alternatives. Bourdieu acknowledges that this pursuit of arbitrary socially constructed distinctions is a point less expenditure Bourdieu 1986: 280 however it was necessary for me to ensure I was taken seriously and that I was demonstrating I had taste rather than just a populist mentality that would be happy to read any thing. Despite the fact that I would also purchase the more common Batman X-Men or whatever other
mainstream comics were released, my possession of this expensive collected edition allowed me to demonstrate my tastes which Bourdieu would suggest allowed me to identify myself within a social group and distinguished me from those that lacked the required taste to “properly” consume comics as a higher form of art (Bourdieu, 1986:175).

4.Were you being a pseudo-individual or does the consumer product express individuality?
Whilst at the time I was sure that my book was an expression of my individuality upon reflection I can definitely acknowledge that as described by Adorno, I was certainly partaking in pseudo individuality. I was definitely mistaking my mass-marketed mass produced graphic novel for an expression of personal choice Adorno, 2001: 61 Ultimately, it made little difference whether I was consuming a graphic novel that I considered “artistic”, or a trashy issue of X-Men. According to Adorno I was practicing the inevitable conformity of the culture industry by consuming any form of popular culture. The false need I had for the product reinforced my passivity as a consumer and certainly suggests an unflattering image of myself as a mindless dupe, accepting of a standardised commodified culture (Mackay, 1997: 3). Reinforcing the notion of pseudo pleasure as discussed by Adorno and Horkheimer I was being sold the illusion of satisfaction through consumerism making-do with what was on the menu rather than exploring cultural
options outside of mass produced popular culture.

SOCA3666 Reflexive Analysis Assignment – Australia

5.How has your relationship with the product changed over time and what has influenced this change?
As I’ve now owned the item for over ten years, my relationship with it has certainly changed. When I first bought it I was a newcomer to my hobby, and the book semiotically represented all the potential the comic industry could offer me. My purchase of the book, and the position I assumed within my social circle, allowed me to experience the forces of social gravity, and I have internalised the language and
symbols of that world (Hage, 2011). It is now almost an innate part of my identity that of being a comic book reader, so much so that it has permeated into almost all aspects of my life, including body modification in the form of a Batman tattoo. Now how ever I like to think of myself as a more savvy consumer rather than a mindless dupe and my tastes and experiences have expanded considerably. This expansion of taste was only made possible through the accumulation and utilisation of my own habit us and by reflexively regulating my own consumption of popular culture. This ability to act reflexively has allowed me to adopt a more active approach to consumption and to find creative ways to express my ability to consume.

SOCA3666 Reflexive Analysis Assignment – Australia

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