Event | Digital Popular Culture and Democracy: Lecture and Masterclass with Lyndon Way
Date: 25 September 2023
Location: University of Groningen (Room TBA) & Online (Google Meet)
Organizers: Melanie Schiller (University of Groningen) & Joanna Zienkiewicz (University of Groningen)
Contact & Registration: email@example.com
Registration deadline: 15 september 2023
Credits: 1 or 2 ECTS (Details below)
What roles do memes, mash ups and other forms of (digital) popular culture play in a democratic society? How does popular culture question, de-legitimise and contest dubious representative claims, and how can the Multimodal Critical Discourse Studies approach be used to analyze this? This event, organized at the University Of Groningen, invites the Communications and Media lecturer at the University of Liverpool Dr. Lyndon Way to share his expertise in critically examining relations between popular music, society and politics. Participants have the opportunity to participate in an open lecture and discussion, in which Dr. Way will apply his approaches to digital popular culture related to Brexit (abstract provided below). Active participation in the lecture yields 1 ECTS; preparatory readings will be provided to registered participants.
For those especially interested in Dr. Way’s research, studying politics and digital popular culture, or the Multimodal Critical Discourse Studies approach as outlined in his book Analysing Politics and Protest in Digital Popular Culture (2021), a masterclass following the lecture will be also offered, with the chance to earn another 1 ECTS. In the masterclass, registered graduate students and doctoral candidates will briefly present their research (or research plans) and receive detailed feedback on their approach, methods, and general direction from Dr. Way as well as other participants, with suggestions for improvement.
Registration is necessary: please register via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please register fast if you plan to attend the masterclass; the space for it is limited. The lecture can be attended on site or online. The masterclass can only be taken on site. Please indicate in your registration whether you plan to attend the lecture online or on site.
Lecture: ‘Digital popular culture, Brexit and the Representational Claim: The Democratic Role of Online Mash-Ups’
Definitions of democracy include ‘government by the people’, though its most common forms are various incarnations of representative democracies. In the latter, politicians and political actors use ‘the representative claim’ to represent who ‘we’ are and how they represent ‘us’ in order to shape and legitimise themselves and their agendas (Saward 2006). Representative claims can be characterised as anything from ‘bad, or unaccepted’ to ‘compelling, resonant’, with positively received claims being intrinsically linked to ideas and values of those being represented (ibid.).
In this presentation, I want to consider how representative claims and those who make them can be contested. One feature associated with democracies is freedom of speech. This allows for the expression of opposition to representative claims in news stories, oppositional politicians’ speeches, as well as in (digital) popular culture. Popular culture, whether late-night satirical TV talk shows, comic strips, factual crime reports, popular music, or social media posts, is where we most experience politics ‘as fun, as style, … [though all these] … communicative activities are infused by and shaped by, power relations and ideologies’ (Machin 2013). Memes, mash ups and other forms of digital popular culture entertain us but are also ‘central to our political life, constituting, for many people, [our] most common mode of political expression, participation and activism’ (Merrin 2019). In this presentation, I critically examine how opposition to Brexit in digital popular culture questions, de-legitimises and contests dubious representative claims.Leaning on a Multimodal Critical Discourse Studies approach, I reveal how these forms of protest play a democratic role in society, though they are not without their own shortcomings.
- Participant research presentations (10 minutes each)
- Discussion with Lyndon Way (following each individual presentation)
Schedule & Poster
9:00-9:40 Lecture by Lyndon Way
10:30-13:00 Masterclass, including:
- Participant research presentations (10 minutes each)
- Discussion with Lyndon Way
Conditions to earn 1 ECTS:
- (1) Complete preparatory readings
Way, L. (2023) ‘Anti-populist populism: Musical challenges to Trump’s America and Erdoğan’s Turkey’ Popular Music 41 (3): 387 – 404.
Way, L. (2021) ‘Trump, memes and the Alt-right: Emotive and affective criticism and praise’ The Russian Journal of Linguistics 25 (3): 789–809
Saward, M. (2006) ‘The Representative Claim’ Contemporary Political Theory 5: 297–318.
Bouvier, G. & Way, L. (2021) ‘Revealing the politics in ‘soft’, everyday uses of social media: the challenge for Critical Discourse Studies’ Social Semiotics 31(3): 345-364.
- (2) Prepare discussion questions for Lyndon Way
- (3) Active participation in the lecture and Q&A/discussion
Conditions to earn 2 ECTS:
- (1) All of the above, plus:
- (2) Prepare and give a 10 minute presentation on own research (plans), covering cases, methods, methodologies, and approaches
- (3) Active participation in the 3-hour masterclass, including discussion on other participants’ research