Ilana Gershon, Media Ideologies

Gershon, I. (2010). Media Ideologies: an introduction. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology. 20(2).

Ilana Gershon’s article is an adaptation of the introduction for a volume in which she is an editor. It is featured in the Journal of Linguistic Anthropology though because she (and the contributors to the larger work) take up the principles foregrounded by language ideology. In fact, the volume began with the question: what analytical possibilities can scholarly work on language ideologies offer the study of media (283)? Media ideologies and language ideologies are intertwined but are dependent on the ethnographic content of a study, but it can unite the shared concerns of media scholars and linguistic anthropologist (284). Drawing on the work of Debra Spitulnik, the contributors of the volume believe media ideology helps draw attention to the relationship between language and media and how the two work to shape our communicative practice. As well, they address issues of materiality/technology, channels, and semiotic systems and how people understand the possibilities of media in their society and/or communicative practice. Media ideology is able to address issues that linguistic anthropology cannot or is not interested in answering.

Overall, the volume meets at the intersection of language ideologies and media ideologies. There is demand for scholarly attention about ethnographic analyses of media beliefs and media practices and language. The response is tenfold as multiple authors contribute to understanding participant structure, agency, audience expectation, and appropriated behavior. The crux of Gershon’s article and the volume more generally is that “Media ideologies weave together together under one rubric scholarly attention to how people understand a channel’s impact on the creation of authorship, remediation, entextualization, knowledge storage, referentiality, address, and publics (283-284)”.

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