Subject media : a study in the sociocultural framing of discourse
This research offers an analysis of social practices and discourses at work in the assessment of Media Studies students following the OCR AS specification produced for ‘Curriculum 2000’, in its first examination session - January 2001. The purpose of the research is not to scrutinise the accuracy of such assessment, or its value, but to raise questions about subject identity at the institutional level represented by an awarding body. In particular, the intention is to investigate further issues about assessment as a social practice raised by Nick Peim in his analysis of the cultural politics of English teaching. In addition the thesis sets out to ‘test’ his suggestion that Media Studies might offer an alternative to the cultural problems he identifies within the practices of ‘Subject English.’ The method adopted is discursive and theoretical, applying critical discourse analysis, phenomenology and deconstruction. The writers whose ideas and ways of thinking about discourse, language and pedagogy are most significantly ‘applied’ to data acquired through the research are Michel Foucault and Basil Bernstein. The conclusions drawn offer a response to Peim’s suggestions, and raise more questions about subject identity for Media teachers to consider. In particular, the data analysed lends itself to an analysis of the assumptions, logical inconsistencies and oppositions set up by ‘Subject Media’ and to a discussion about the relationship between a subject’s ‘spirit’ and the reality of its assessment practices. As such it provides a ‘micro’ analysis of the boundaries placed around academic and vocational ways of learning, and seeks to question such categories.