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Identify a piece of workthat emphasises the agency of audiences to construct their own identities.

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Introduction

Identify a piece of work that emphasises the agency of audiences to construct their own identities. In Miami Vice and the Politics of Image and Identity (Kellner, D. 1992), Kellner bases his own research in the micro-social corner of global media, suggesting that the structural power of Miami Vice influences cultural norms and values (identities). It also draws upon the individual agency of audience members to construct their own identities from the global television programme Miami Vice (1984-1989). "Miami Vice is the critics' favourite example of post-modern television." (Giltin 1987 p.144) According to Kellner, "Popular culture provides images and figures, which its audience can identify with." (1992 p145) Miami Vice was extremely popular on national television. Its use of multiracial culture was accepted by audiences unlike no other at the time and it quickly became, "intense, fascinating and seductive." (p.148) This notion is exaggerated in the opening sequence. The artificial images and bright Florida colours are structured to emulate the excitement of Miami Vice. This in effect, would appeal to the viewing audience immediately as it's an alternative lifestyle to their own. ...read more.

Middle

Their style was copied by audiences all over the world as the series grew in popularity. Detective Crockett had a new alternative style that appealed to young, white men. "He started a men's fashion revolution." (Shahita, Yasmine 2003) Detective Tubbs, on the other hand, has a mixes black/Hispanic race that appealed to a whole new category of audience members. He was a positive role model for young, black men and his character was not stereotypical like many other black actors at the time. Trudy and Gina were the female mixed-race detectives. They expressed dominant male behaviour in the series. "They replicated images of women warriors that have become central images in the late 20's and 80's e.g. Superwoman, Ripley." (p155) Kellner points out that all the characters in the series were role models for "whites, Hispanics, women and teenagers." (p.154) Different images of sex, race and class are portrayed than usual of the television world. It has been described as "an ideal partnership between men and women based on deep respect." (Buxton, D. 1990 p.144) ...read more.

Conclusion

(p.151) This reflects audience identities who are constantly changing with society and their role models in the media. "Television culture plays a key role in the structuring of contemporary identity." (p.145) "Show after show Crockett and Tubbs assume their criminal identities and slide from good guy to bad guy." (p.146) Such fragmented identities emphasise the artificiality of identity and that it's constructed and not given. It's a matter of choice, style and behaviour rather than structure. Identities can easily shift from one to another. This happens in the series as well as in real life. This analysis suggests that what might be called post-modern identity is an extension of the freely chosen and multiple identities of the modern self. Audiences understand that identity isn't fixed so therefore construct their own from different media sources, like the characters on Miami Vice. This could be a problem for the modern self as it produces and identity crisis, but Kellner believes that "diversity is essential." (p.147) The analysis touches upon globalisation and cultural imperialism, suggesting the powerful images of the series have an adverse effect on the audience, influencing certain ideologies. However, Kellner concludes that the "current construction of identity is distinctly post-modern and has had a fundamental shift in the construction of identity altogether." (p. ...read more.

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