From the Field - Spring 2014

Canadian Journal of Film Studies,
Volume 23,
Issue 1,
Spring 2014

In view of the widespread closures of video rental stores across North America, Scheible’s article tracks the so-far undocumented histories of where videos go when stores close. He outlines a theory of media redistribution by incorporating both site-specific research and aesthetic analysis. Scheible follows “video after video stores” by focusing on the format’s presence in a retail redistribution store, in the art world, and on the internet.

Cinema Journal,
Volume 53,
Issue 3,
Spring 2014

In the 1930s, Soviet film executives proposed building a Soviet Hollywood in the south of Russia, a “cine-city” incorporating a dozen studios. Since the project was eventually abandoned, it has become a footnote in the history of Soviet cinema. Belodubrovskaya seeks to redress this marginalization. In her study of the Soviet Hollywood that wasn’t, she reveals the extent to which Soviet cinema remained engaged with world film culture under the Stalinist dictatorship, the attempts by Soviet leadership to mount a popular communist cinema, and that Soviet Hollywood was only one part of a larger (and ultimately unsuccessful) modernization effort to radically reconceive Soviet film practice. 

Creative Industries Journal,
Volume 7,
Issue 1,
Spring 2014

Since the late 1990s, Hollywood has been prone to develop two marketing campaigns for its major mainstream films: one that seeks the widest possible audience and one that concentrates solely on Christian audiences. This latter approach reframes non-religious films as spiritual causes in order to gain favor with Christian audiences as well as capitalize on churches’ existing outreach. Although Hollywood generally shies away from producing Christian-themed movies, Sampson argues that they have clearly coopted marketing  techniques first used by Christian filmmakers to promote overtly religious films.

Creative Industries Journal,
Volume 7,
Issue 1,
Spring 2014

This article analyzes the transition from analog to digital television through the lens of a “policy from below,” juxtaposing consumer comments from websites such as ConsumerReports.org and Amazon.com with government anxieties about the preparedness of the American public. Petruska qualifies the supposed success of the DTV conversion by questioning the government's equation of consumption with citizenship and the inadequacies of the neoliberal logics guiding government policymakers. Thus, she not only spotlights the failures of government regulation but also marks the future stakes of moving from regulation enacted by the government to that enacted by the invisible hand of the marketplace.

Creative Industries Journal,
Volume 7,
Issue 1,
Spring 2014

While the importance of television formats over “finished” products has increased significantly in recent years, academic discourse often emphasizes licensed reality franchises at the expense of local, unofficial programming. Shahaf argues that unaffiliated productions, or “clones,” play a significant role in reality television global distribution by focusing on Lo Nafsik Lashir (We Won't Stop Singing), an Israeli clone of Pop Idol. In doing so, she calls for a shift in format television scholarship to a more historically grounded, inclusive analysis of both official and unofficial formats.

Creative Industries Journal,
Volume 7,
Issue 1,
Spring 2014

This special issue of Creative Industries Journal on media industry studies guest-edited by Courtney Brannon Donoghue and Kristen Warner features short think pieces on the current state of the field. Daniel Herbert reflects on his own methodologies and considers the value of embodied knowledge and positionality to media industries research. Peter Alilunas cautions that the development of specialized journals for media industry studies and porn studies may push apart these two fields and, instead, proposes that the inclusion of adult media industries into media industry studies at large has grown even more necessary.  In considering game industries, Matthew Thomas Payne and Gregory Steirer argue that as gaming platforms and players diversify, pinning down what a game is will require updated tools and methodologies; the two also highlight distribution and marketing as two crucial research areas for media industries studies and game studies. In the area of production studies, Vicki Mayer traces how creative labor is differently perceived from other forms of labor as well as the implications of such distinctions. Based on research on emergent and peripheral media hubs, Kevin Sanson considers the spatial dynamics of global media production, highlighting some consequences of the increasingly integrated nature of locations and labor. Finally, Derek Johnson suggests that production studies should turn to focus on audiences as well, considering both the consumer and the hierarchies of consumption as part of industry formations.

European Journal of Communication,
Volume 29,
Issue 2,
April 2014

This article contrasts a successful campaign against unpaid labor in the UK television industry with a less successful one in the film industry and suggests that workers in the latter are more prepared to accept unpaid labor than those in the television industry. Following from a survey conducted about the attitudes during these two campaigns, the article explains that those who have worked longer in either sector view unpaid labor considerably less favourably than newcomers. Percival and Hesmondhalgh suggest this could be due to the fact that older workers have never had to do unpaid labor and that younger workers now believe that it is inevitable. They conclude by noting the importance of collective action and of building consensus between these two groups in order to achieve better working conditions for all.

International Journal of Cultural Policy,
Volume 20,
Issue 4,
Spring 2014

Kwon and Kim trace the shift in the Korean government’s policy toward the culture industries in the early 1990s from one of political control to one of economic development through exports. Along with investment in the information and communication technology industries, this shift in policy both expanded the domestic market for cultural products and enhanced these products’ competitiveness in the global market, giving rise to what became known as the Korean Wave.

Media Industries Journal,
Volume 1,
Issue 1,
May 2014

The first issue of Media Industries Journal features brief critical reflections on the state of the field and its future by members of the journal’s editorial board. Charles R. Acland demonstrates how Harold Innis’ concept of “dirt” research allows scholars to expand the boundaries of media industries studies to examine deep economic relations, shifting cultural formations, and other byproducts of media industries besides the entertainment commodity. Des Freedman argues for a critical approach to media policy studies, including an analysis that connects policy debates to creative practice, reception, the spaces of media institutions, and public protest. Tejaswini Ganti promotes the use of ethnographic fieldwork that takes seriously issues of subjectivity, agency, and meaning in the study of media industries. David Hesmondhalgh critiques the central place of instrumentalism in media industries research and education. Aphra Kerr contends media industries scholars should consider theories of space when confronting the globalization of media production and consumption, using the digital games industry as a platform to prove her case. Philip M. Napoli touches on the role of algorithmically-driven decision-making tools in the production of media and the importance of accounting for this industry shift. Thomas Schatz argues for the continued purchase of cultural studies within media industries studies, especially concerning questions of authorship and mode of production. Jeanette Steemers explores the international trade of television content, as well as the implications of over-the-top TV delivery services outside of the United States. Jonathan Sterne argues for the acknowledgement of multiple music industries, rather than a monolithic entity comprised of the major record labels, in order to recognize the overdetermined phenomenon that affect the production, distribution, promotion, and consumption and appropriation of music. Concerning methodology, Petr Szczepanik discusses the viability of collective ethnography in media industries studies, drawing on his own observations as well as those by film students who traveled to Prague to develop their career skills. Joseph Turow makes a case for studying in-store digital advertisements that are increasingly central to retail-customer relations and contribute to a culture of surveillance and data collection. Finally, Patrick Vonderau questions the ability of media industries scholars to critically engage with media industries when the act of studying these industries actually reifies longstanding assumptions about what they actually are; as an answer to his own question, Vonderau proposes a “reverse engineering” approach that focuses on how systems operate and “speak” rather than on those persons or companies that purport to own or run those systems.

Media Culture Society,
Volume 36,
Issue 4,
May 2014

Chakrabarti argues that transformations in marketing, target demographics, and Hindu nationalism contributed to a dramatic shift in focus from middle-class working women to upper-class religious homemakers in Indian soap opera content. Charabarti contributes to ongoing studies of audience measurement systems and their impact on the creation of content, as well as to studies that track the circulation of nationalistic ideologies in everyday life.

Bibliography