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Essay Support

This is a short post to flag an update to the essay assignment document in light of some of the questions I have received since the end of term about the essay.

I think perhaps the wording of my examples in the essay assignment brief wasn’t entirely helpful. All I am asking you to do is answer the essay question using relevant ideas and literature illustrated through a particular example or case study. You do not necessarily have to focus on one ‘theory’, you can draw on several ideas. However, you should definitely focus on one case study example.

Another point I would like to reinforce and reiterate is: PLEASE ANSWER THE QUESTION.

What do I mean by that? Well, the question asks you to critically discuss the quote in relation to a case study. The quote is, in essence, saying ‘digital media’ have changed what geographers study as spaces and places in the world and how we study them. So, discuss something about what geographers study as spaces/places and how that relates to ‘the digital’ in relation to a specific example.

In the revised essay brief I provide some examples:

You could look at the recent ‘#MeToo’ discussions and protests about sexual harassment and assault on social media in relation to understandings of ‘polymedia’. In doing so to answer the question you would need to say how this has changed either how geographers study space/place or how this has changed what we study. So, this might be: digital media has changed how activism has worked so geographers study those ‘new’ contexts of activism.

You could discuss online videogames, such as ‘Call of Duty’, focusing on the relation between bodies and screens. This would probably focus on the ‘spatiality’ of the body-screen relationship, what sorts of spatial experience this creates and how this is peculiar to digital media (or not, as the case may be). This might be related to longer-term discussions of geographies of media, or it might be in relation to the sorts of conceptual arguments made about the spaces of screens, e.g. James Ash’s work.

You might look at SnapChat in relation to ideas about ‘public intimacy’. This would perhaps relate digital media to conversations about the delineation between public and private space and how we can understand the performances of intimacy. This could be about emotional intimacy and how people feel ‘close’. Or it could be about depictions of bodies and the revelation of what might previously have been ‘private’ representations of our selves.

In each case you’d need to flesh this out and provide more of an argument of your own with reference to relevant reading.

I have amended the essay brief and uploaded it to ELE.

5 replies on “Essay Support”

Hi how would you define digital media? My interpretation is that digital media means the online world in terms of the internet and popular culture, but one of your examples suggests looking at call of duty?
Thank you 🙂

Hi sorry, I think I have found the answer here:

‘Media and popular culture have become an important area of concern for digital geographies. Of course, geographers were interested in media and popular culture prior to their expression in digital forms. There has been a whole suite of work on a variety of analog media such as film (Cresswell and Dixon, 2002; Aitken and Dixon, 2006), television (Hay, 1993; Christophers, 2009), photography (Kinsman, 1995; Larsen, 2005), radio (Pinkerton, 2008; Pinkerton and Dodds, 2009) and comic books (Dittmer, 2010; Gallacher, 2011), among others (for an overview, see Dittmer et al., 2014). Alongside these analog media, geographers have also investigated a number of born digital forms of media and popular culture, such as videogames (Ash and Gallacher, 2011), digital cinema (Jackman, 2015), image memes (Rose, 2016) and Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) images, which can be looped to create short animations (Ash, 2015)’

Does this mean i could potentially look at any form of digital media as suggested above ^^ when looking for a case study?

Hi Alexandria, yes – I always intended this assignment to offer flexibility of focus, you are fairly free to choose what you talk about as a case study. Some case studies might be more or less easy/difficult to address within the bounds of this essay question.

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