International Students Studying in Australia

As the presence of globalisation continues to grow throughout the world and more international job opportunities become available it is extremely valuable to have international connections. This can be said to be one of the many reasons that international students chose to undertake their tertiary education in Australia. However along with this seemingly benefitting notion that increases multiculturalism and diversity within our nation and offers international student’s great experiences on a cultural and educational level, also comes some harsh challenges that reveal a lot about our nation.

Source:< https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhHCnXGf43E&gt;

Australia is an extremely multicultural country with an estimated 25% of our population being born overseas (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012). We like to advertise ourselves as a welcoming nation, as seen in the video above, however there is some hard evidence to suggest that we did not only forget to throw a shrimp on the barby for our international students, we have also been uninviting, ethnocentric and parochial. The Australian community has been criticised for not wanting to pursue friendships with international exchange students which results in international students feeling ostracised. This can be blamed for the development of the stereotype of international students grouping together instead of branching out.

Apart from out ethnocentric views there are many other barriers in place effecting the assimilation of international students into Australian culture. With 80% of our international students coming from Asian countries (Marginson, 2012), one of the biggest barriers with assimilating into Australian culture has been language.

aussie-lingo

Kell and Vogl’s paper ‘International Students: Negotiating life and study in Australia through Australian Englishes’ explores the relationship between international students assimilating into Australian society and the Australian English. “The internationalisation of the university had included the increased use and reliance on English as the lingua franca of higher education.” (Kell & Vogl, 2007) Although many non-English speaking countries still study English in primary and high schools, they are mainly written based curriculums and barely equip them with the communication skills necessary. Along with this challenge is the uniqueness of the Australian accent and colloquialisms, which are often hard to interpret. Abbreviations also play a big role in shaping our language and are often misinterpreted and not understood by international students.

When conducting their research Kell and Vogl’s “…focus groups included students from Indonesian, Indian, Taiwanese, Chinese, Japanese and Arabic backgrounds.” I believe that a more rounded representation of how our international students are connecting to Australian society may have been achieved by also including students from English speaking countries such as America and European countries. Even though the majority of international students are from Eastern countries, it would have been interesting to see if students from English speaking nations had the same difficulties with Australian English. This may also have uncovered other variables that effect successful assimilation, such as the effects of commonalities when forming friendships. For example American exchange students may have still grouped together rather than interspersing with Australian’s as they would have a lot in common with others from the same nation.

Language is one of the biggest barriers in the way of international students assimilating into our nation, however if Australian’s dropped their parochial values and took the time to explain our idiosyncrasies we could become a more inviting nation which embraces our international students.

References:

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011, ‘2011 Census reveals one in four Australians is born overseas’, CO/59, viewed 1 September 2015, < http://abs.gov.au/websitedbs/censushome.nsf/home/CO-59&gt;

Kell, P and Vogl, G (2007) ‘International Students: Negotiating life and study in Australia through Australian Englishes’, Everyday Multiculturalism Conference Proceedings, Macquarie University, 28-29 September 2006.

Marginson, S (2012) ‘International education as self-formation: Morphing a profit-making business into an intercultural experience’, Lecture delivered at the University of Wollongong, 21 February 2012, available online at http://focusonteaching.uow.edu.au/content/groups/public/@web/@cedir/documents/doc/uow119828.pdf

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Transnationalism and the Chocolate Factory

With the growth of globalisation present in all different parts of the world it is only natural that film industries across the globe are becoming more trans-nationalised. The concept of transnational film occurs when there is a merging of various cultural identities within a certain film. Countries are becoming more concerned with producing a dominant film industry as they are not only worth a lot of money but also protect against cultural imperialism and assist in promoting a cultural identity on a global scale. However in order to assure their success many films have adopted elements from other cultures to make them more marketable on a global scale.

BCM assessment 2 2

Source: <http://www.timburtoncollective.com/charlie.html&gt;

Tim Burton’s “Charlie and the chocolate factory”, a remake of Mel Stuart’s “Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory” is an example of a film which has been impacted by the influence of transnationalism. Most people would consider it as an American film as the film is directed by Tim Burton, an American director, is produced and distributed by the American film company “Warner Brothers” and stars many American actors such as Johnny Depp, AnnaSophia Robb, Jordan Fry, and Missi Pyle. However, it was filmed predominantly in England, with a few location shots in America and Germany, also produced by Village Roadshow, an Australian company and represents multiculturalism within the cast through the following actors: Freddie Highmore (London), David Kelly (Ireland), Helena Bonham Carter (London), Deep Roy (Kenya), Julia Winter (Sweden) and Philip Wiegratz (Germany). The multiculturalism and diversity of the characters “Burton retains the nationalities which were assigned to the children in the first adaptation” (Leaman, 2014) has also been noted as contributing to the transnationalism of both Stuart’s original and the Burtons Remake.

BCM assessment 23

Source: <http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100319041952/charlieandthechocolatefactoryfilm/images/0/01/Chocolatepalace.jpg&gt;

There are aspects of various cultures scattered throughout the film which further enhances its transnationalism. The influence of India is clearly shown through the introduction of ‘Prince Pondicherry’ and his chocolate palace, which replicates the Taj Mahal, “…arguably the most recognizable Indian landmark for Western audiences.” (Schaefer & Karan, 2010) The strong Indian Influence within this scene is enhanced when the palace begins to melt, a drop of chocolate lands on the Princes forehead in between his two eyes, replicating the location of a traditional Bindi in Indian culture. This location is particularly sacred as it relates to the third eye, and has connections to the spirituality of prayer. This brings in the notion of cultural appropriation, the actor is an Indian man yet the context of the scene is not traditional. The chocolate Bindi is almost done with the intention of being humorous, this could be offensive to Indian culture which places high religious value on the Bindi.

BCM 24

Source: <http://www.dougmoon.com/replacewithracism.jpg&gt;

“Prince Pondicherry” was not in Stuart’s original movie, “Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory” but was incorporated into Burton’s film. This can be attributed to the ‘Bollywoodization’ of the film in order to create a more Hybrid production that appeals to a wider audience on a global scale. This is a concept is explored by Schaefer and Karan in their paper “Problematizing Chindia: Hybridity and Bollywoodization of popular Indian cinema in global film flows”. They note that “The success of America’s highest-grossing foreign language film – Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (…) was attributed to hybridization” (Schaefer and Karan, 2010). However I believe that Hybridisation may not be successful if it is not done in a culturally appropriate way. The addition of cultural aspects may dis-courage an audience from that particular culture to consume the film if it is going to be offensive towards them.

Tim Burton’s film “Charlie and the Chocolate factory” successfully highlights the notion of transnationalism both on a production and content scale. Through analysing this film we are able to see the growing need to incorporate multiculturalism into our films and the impact hybridisation can have on cultural appropriation.

References

Leaman, T.M.B, 2014, ‘Changing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, pp. 5-24, viewed 3 September 2015, < http://skemman.is/is/stream/get/1946/18101/42449/1/Thor_Leaman_-_BA_Thesis$002c_Final_Submission.pdf&gt;

Schaefer, D. & Karan, K., 2010, ‘Problematizing Chindia: Hybridity and Bollywoodization of popular Indian cinema in global film flows’, pp. 309-317

2015, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, IMBD, viewed 4 September 2015, <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0367594/>

2013, ‘BINDI- Meaning and Significance of the “Dot” on forehead’, Sanskriti, viewed 4 September 2015, < http://www.sanskritimagazine.com/culture/bindi-meaning-and-significance-of-the-dot-on-forehead/>

Opening up a world of Globalisation

Globalisation is a term tossed around society on an extremely frequent basis, I personally have come into contact with it on numerous occasions. However I have never fully understood the complexity of the concept and its vast presence in our lives until this week. “Globalisation refers to an international community influenced by technological development and economic, political and military interests. It is characterised by a worldwide increase in interdependence, interactivity, interconnectedness, and the virtually instantaneous exchange of information” (O’Shaughnessy and Stadler, 2008) With the presence of globalisation becoming stronger in our everyday lives it has inevitably lead to the presence of new concepts encompassed by it; the global village, cultural imperialism, imagined communities and Utopian and dystopian views are all concepts that have opened up a whole new world of insights for me this week.

The notion of the “Global village” (O’Shaughnessy and Stadler, 2008), a concept imagined by Martin McLuhan, ties in with the ideals of a Utopian vision of globalisation. This ideal presents a harmonious interconnected world rid of inequality, hierarchy and cultural imperialism. While this kind of world certainly sounds appealing, I feel cultural imperialism is unavoidable. In all relationships there is a chain of command, most friendships possess a dominant individual who takes control organises the times and places for hanging out. It is in human nature for some people to take control and obtain more power than others, this is present right across the Globe as we can see through concepts such as Americanisation.

Globalisation

Source: https://www.google.com/search?site=&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1280&bih=683&q=globalisation&oq=globalisation&gs_l=img.12..0l10.1152.3341.0.4620.13.11.0.0.0.0.524.2061.2-3j2j0j1.6.0….0…1ac.1.64.img..7.6.2044.7nvm2jtcFds#imgrc=ixD0f0Vf5FLfYM%3A

Benedict Anderson’s concept of the imagined community particularly stuck my interest as it instantly made me consider the limitations we encounter when creating imagined communities among different social groups globally. An imagined community “is imagined as a community, because, regardless of the actual inequality and exploitation that may prevail in each, the nation is always conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship.” (O’Shaughnessy and Stadler, 2008) Something other than face to face interaction binds this community together and creates a sense of partnership between the participants. However how is it possible for every human on the globe to have the same opportunities and resources to join imagined communities? How is it possible to achieve a utopian ‘Global village” when the formation of this village would require the use of technologies and resources only made available to some? Of course social media comes to mind when analysing the impact of technology and the growth of globalisation, however how are we to expect members of an African tribe to sign up to Facebook for example. There is no way utopianism and equality can be achieved on a global scale when equality cannot be found in other ways, such as an economic level.

Phone

Source: https://www.google.com/search?site=&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1280&bih=683&q=globalisation&oq=globalisation&gs_l=img.12..0l10.1152.3341.0.4620.13.11.0.0.0.0.524.2061.2-3j2j0j1.6.0….0…1ac.1.64.img..7.6.2044.7nvm2jtcFds#imgrc=pfFfcaW-HdFD7M%3A

As technology and its influence in our lives continues to grow in extreme proportions, it is natural that the impact of globalisation will continue to expand and evolve. I believe that both the dystopian and utopian views of globalisation are present in our world, it definitely has its benefits and if we can cease exploitation and promote equality it could be used to make a positive difference in the world.

References:

O’Shaughnessy, M and Stadler, J (2008) ‘Globalisation’, Media and Society (fifth edition) Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 458-471.

Appadurai, A (1996) ‘Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy’, Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization, Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 27-47.

Hickeys, politics and the Mediated Public Sphere…

I have been sitting here in a state of procrastination wondering how I am to start this ‘mediated public sphere’ blog for the past 20 minutes, and when I think back to how I’ve spent this time I realise that I’ve checked Facebook, Instagram, and watched The Project. This made me realise that the notion of a mediated public sphere is embedded in our everyday lives without us even realising. Jurgen Habermas, a 19th century philosopher, can be credited with the imagination of the concept through his development of the “Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere” which refers to an open place for the public to debate their opinions. Habermans “…argument rests on the idea that the very concepts of public and private changed through time.” Therefore as the education of society began to grow so did our need to express our opinions on the issues of our society, as a result of this we have seen the uprising of social media platforms, reality TV, talk shows and radio shows, these platforms provide us with both entertainment and an platform to educate and provoke thought.

Whether for trivial purposes or to debate serious societal issues, the radio is an excellent platform for the public to express their opinions and experiences. As Habermans argues the “concepts of public and private have changed throughout time” therefore the level of information about our lives that we are willing to share is increasing. However, many radio shows have a screening time and producers chose the callers they wish to take, therefore radio is a highly mediated platform. The “Hamish and Andy” radio show offers a mediated public sphere where the public can express their personal experiences and opinions on predominately trivial matters.

While the topic of ‘How to cover up your hickeys’ may not be an earth shattering debate and could be viewed as merely for entertainment value, it is still relevant to aspects of our society and is something the public can relate to. A few decades ago this information would be considered to be highly personal, however as time has progressed it is now a concept that many people feel comfortable with sharing, Hamish and Andy’s show offers a platform for people to share their experiences and offer advice to others.

Many radio stations also offer a platform which enables the public to debate and share their experiences about issues affecting our lives on a societal, national and international level.

ABC radio offers this ‘fair dinkum’ member of the public a platform to debate his concerns on the leadership of the Liberal party with Tony Abbott himself. His thoughts no doubt are reflected in many members of the public, meaning the man is representing a number of people from our society. Many radio stations take calls from members of the public, this enables everyday people to express how they feel about issues and concerns. It is also very common for radio shows to invite guests in to speak about their experiences, this enables people from all fragments of our community to express their opinions. Guests may often also accept questions from members of the public who call in, the radio station acts as a direct platform for these individuals to interact and express their opinions, when they may have not got even got chance to talk.

Radio is a mediated public sphere which is embedded into our everyday lives, allowing many people to express opinions to a nation that otherwise may only be heard by their close family members and some uninterested neighbours. When I think of all the comments I’ve read on Facebook, or the interviews I’ve heard on the radio and watched on TV, I can’t imagine my life without the information I’ve gathered from these sources, thanks Habermas for enriching my life with the depth of strangers opinions, trivial or not.

-Amber

Media ownership

I’m going to start off by being honest and saying that I am not one of those people who are regularly updates with news and current affairs. Of course I watch the news and enjoy finding out what’s happening in the world, but before this week I had never considered that the news I’m receiving may be effected by the influence of who owns the media platform, and what they value.

Stations like the ABC are owned by the Federal Australian Government, when delivering the news they are factual and show no prejudices or personal opinions. It is clear that the government is concerned with delivering facts that are proven to the general public in a clean way so that they are currently and correctly informed with what is happening among their nation, and not influenced by the opinions or beliefs of the presenters.

This contrasts to Win, which is majorly owned by Bruce Gordon. The content shown on this program is largely commercialised, while the news shows and programs still deliver news factually it is intertwined with light hearted moments and segments which enable the presenters and guests to express their opinions to others. The dialogue in shows like ’60 minuets’ also often portrays the personal opinions of the presenters as it is riddled with emotive language either clearly supporting one side of the story.

To further differentiate the contrasts of these two stations and the differences the ownership makes I have decided to analyse the differences between the morning’s shows on each station “ABC breakfast news” on ABC and WIN’s popular ‘The Today Show”.

“The Breakfast News” on ABC is a program which delivers all the current news that may have developed over night, they often invite educated and specialised guests who can inform the public of extra information about certain issues that may affect them. This reflects the ABC’s values to inform the public of correct and current information. The clip below depicts an episode of “The Breakfast News” where they have invited the CEO of Kmart in to discuss the issue of the conditions in which Kmart’s clothes and products are manufactured. The news is delivered in a clean direct way.

WIN’s ‘The Today Show” also often still invites specialised guests on to discuss certain issues however the show is also interspersed with entertainment segments, the grill which enables the hosts and guests to speak their opinions on the Issues relevant to our society, movie reviews and light hearted segments. While the shows news is still delivered professionally, the presenters are given more freedom and are often known to play jokes on one another and partake in banter with each other.

The ownership of these stations definitely affects the information they give and the ways it is presented, however who is to say which is right and which is wrong? Some people may prefer to get the news factually and focus on the serious issues, others may enjoy a bit of light hearted humour, who’s to saw hats more important? It’s all down to personal preference, and as long as we have the options and rights to choose the way we gain our information what harms is the effects of ownership really having?

As a huge TV lover I have always noticed the differences between the stations available on free to air TV, however before this week I had never bothered to consider why they might be occurring. After considering the power of the owner and their values I have come to understand the ways in which this is reflected through their TV stations. So to answer the question, does it matter who owns the media? Yes it certainly does!

-Amber

It must be a sign!

Before this week I had never even heard of the term ‘semiotics’, however now I feel like I’ll never be able to look at an advertisement or image in the media without identifying the ‘signifiers’ and the ‘signified’ and considering their effects. As defined by the oxford dictionary; Semiotics refers to ‘the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation.’ A sign’s overall effect is based upon two considerations, a signifier (or denotation); an image, sound or theme, and a signified (or connotation); the meaning placed, by the viewers, to that image, sound or theme. The signified can often vary depending on an individual viewer’s context and experiences.

diagram01

(Image: http://dv1101.blogspot.com.au/)

To explore the effect of the relationship between the sign, signifier and signified I have decided to analyse an ‘E.N.P.A Society for Protection of Animals’ image, designed to create awareness about the cruelty of testing on animals.

enpa_spray1

(Image: http://adsoftheworld.com/media/print/enpa_spray)

The signifier

The image depicts a woman holding a small dog which appears to be coughing or exhaling a misty spray from its mouth, the spray is landing on the woman’s face and neck. Her eyes are closed and her facial expression depicts an amount of contentment and indulgence. The woman’s left hand is gently holding the dog, yet the positioning of her index finger appears awkward, it looks like she’s holding an object rather than a living creature. The dog is very small, possibly a puppy and there is a look of discomfort on its face. The background fades from green to black at the point where her hand is positioned, there is virtually only darkness on the right of her hand and the dog.

The signified

As the text in the top right corner ‘Help us fight the effects of cosmetic testing’ suggests, the image is intended to create awareness about the cruelty of animal testing. With this knowledge in mind I was able to interpret that the small dog or puppy is replacing a perfume bottle, and the mist coming from its mouth is perfume. By doing this, the advertisement creates a direct relationship between the product the consumer is using and the cruelty animal testing creates. The deliberate choice of a small puppy immediately creates a sense of innocence for most viewers, suggesting that these animals don’t have a choice in what happens to them. The use of a dog also makes us sympathise as dogs are known by most for their loyalty and strong relationship with humans (plus they’re adorable!). The background colouring can also be seen as portraying the cruelty occurring in the image. The absence of light after the point where the woman’s hand and dog are positioned can subconsciously prompt us to view the act of using the perfume as harmful and negative. Her facial expression depicts a sense of luxury and elegance, suggesting that she is oblivious to the harm she is inflicting by using the perfume (or that she doesn’t care about the wellbeing of the puppy). I interpreted this as reflecting the innocence of consumers as they might not be aware of the harm they are inflicting by using certain cosmetics.

When first looking at the image I believe there may be a bit of room for interpretation depending on the viewer’s context, however after reading the text in the top right corner ‘Help us fight the effects of cosmetic testing’ I think the intended interpretation becomes clear and impossible to ignore. This week I have truly enjoyed learning and implementing the art of semiotics, to be honest it’s the first week I’ve felt genuinely interested in a topic, it must be a ‘sign’ I’m in the right course!

-Amber

Sizing up the effects of the media…

No one can doubt that the growth of all media forms is moving at a rapid rate, prompting us to consider its effects. Mass media can be dated back to the 18th century however as technology continues to improve the ways in which we can access this media have broadened drastically. Being born in 1996 I can say that my upbringing has been directly affected by the ever-growing presence of media and technology in our society. So as these new notions are introduced it is natural that it is applauded by some and critiqued by others, but what effects is the growing influence of media really having on society? To answer this question I have decided to discuss the issue of body image.

 

Our society is a vast and varying representation of the human race, the majority of which access the media. Therefore I believe that media should be a true representation of this diverse society. The presence of skinny models in magazines and advertisement campaigns is a well-known issue of the media as it can promote an unhealthy body image. Clearly the Victoria Secret (Lauren Parrott 11/10/12) image below is not a true representation of the women that make up our society.tumblr_m816ed1KfA1rvbucio1_500

As a nation we have recognised the dangers of filling media platforms with skinny girls and improvements are being made. The dove ‘real beauty campaign’ in response to the Victoria Secret ‘love your body campaign’ successfully promotes a healthy body image for curvier women which of course is a positive.

However when tackling this issue I believe some forms of media have created another problem. The dove campaign above criticises the models used by Victoria Secret by suggesting that they don’t have ‘real beauty’, this may cause the naturally skinny women of society to feel the anxieties previously felt by curvy women. I’ve often heard the term ‘real women have curves’ used on all forms of media, however I believe that being a woman is not notion that can be measured or defined, if I don’t have curves am I synthetic version of a woman?

Mean

Images like the one above (Demotivation, 2014.01.19) that riddle all forms of social media even go as far as suggesting that skinny women will never find a nice man, they’ll just have to settle for dogs. Meghan Trainor has become a huge advocate for the promotion of a healthy body image with her song ‘All about that Bass’ (Meghan Trainor 30/6/2014. ). However with lyrics such as ‘boys they like a little more booty to hold at night…You know I won’t be no stick-figure, silicone Barbie doll’ is the image she’s promoting really healthy for everyone? If it continues like this are we going to see society do a full circle? Can we expect to see images like the one below (Caitlin O’Sullivan 21/3/2012) plastered on billboards in the future?

skinny

I believe that a wide variety of women should be portrayed in the media, of course it’s important to promote a good body image for curvier women, however in the action of doing so I believe it’s unnecessary to criticise and degrade skinny women. By including a little bit of ‘bass’ and a little bit of ‘treble’ a well-rounded representation of the women in society can be achieved, teaching us to appreciate our individuality.

-Amber

Bibliography

Real Beauty vs. Love My Body | Life, Undefeated Real Beauty vs. Love My Body | . 2015. Real Beauty vs. Love My Body | Life, Undefeated Real Beauty vs. Love My Body | . [ONLINE] Available at: http://sites.psu.edu/lkparrott/2012/10/11/real-beauty-vs-love-my-body-2/. [Accessed 23 March 2015].

Real men like curves | Demotivation.us. 2015. Real men like curves | Demotivation.us. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.demotivation.us/real-men-like-curves-1285125.html. [Accessed 23 March 2015].

Life and Death in 1938: Part One | Caitlin O’Sullivan. 2015. Life and Death in 1938: Part One | Caitlin O’Sullivan. [ONLINE] Available at: http://caitlinosullivan.com/2012/03/20/life-and-death-in-1938-part-one/. [Accessed 23 March 2015].

Meghan Trainor – All About That Bass Lyrics | MetroLyrics. 2015. Meghan Trainor – All About That Bass Lyrics | MetroLyrics. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.metrolyrics.com/all-about-that-bass-lyrics-meghan-trainor.html. [Accessed 23 March 2015].