Seminar Reflection – Foucault, Barthes and Baudrillard

For the second seminar of the term we discussed the topic ‘structuralism’ and after, which is a continuation from last week’s lecture and part two in the series of journalism and theory lectures. We discussed the work, ideas and theories of post-structuralism theorists such as Foucault, Barthes and Baudrillard. We tried to establish the link between these theorists and journalism; in what ways could they inform the practice of contemporary journalism? Barthes suggests that there are many codes that describe the meaning of a text. According to him, the

se texts may be ‘open’, which are unravelled in a lot of different ways, or ‘closed, there being just one obvious thread to pull on. Similar to what Hall suggested, Barthes finds that all text is open to interpretation. Foucalt argues that the idea of power being generated by people or groups by way of ‘sovereign’ acts of domination is wrong. Instead, he says that power can be found everywhere. He says that power is constituted through generally accepted knowledge and the truth. In addition, Foucault also says that again, like the other theorists mentioned above, truth is open to interpretation; each society has its own general consensus of the truth. In his book ‘Discipline and Punish’, Foucault analyses the way a society is disciplined. He believes that power is a major source of social discipline and argues that the disciplining of society does not start with the development of prisons. According to him, violence was no longer required as the public gradually started to learn how to be disciplined and behave.

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