Note: for the purposes of this assignment, the term compare means the same as "compare and contrast." Thus, compare means to find both similarities and differences.

This page was last updated on April 3, 2023

Prompt

Writing in the 1980s, Herbert Schiller observed the increasing control of culture by a decreasing number of corporations that prioritize profit over the artistic or cultural value of a work. This argument updates and reinforces the “mass culture” argument Adorno and Horkheimer made nearly fifty years earlier.

Discuss how the author of the one of the following essays extends Schiller’s argument about media and culture industries at the turn of the twenty-first century.

Write a comparative essay, comparing one of the following essays to Schiller’s essay “The Corporation and the Production of Culture”:

  1. Michael Curtin, “On Edge: Culture Industries in the Neo-Network Era.”
  2. Hector Amaya, “Citizenship, Diversity, Law and Ugly Betty.”
  3. Tom McCourt and Patrick Burkart, “When Creators, Corporations and Consumers Collide: Napster and the Development of Online Music Distribution.”
  4. Mark Andrejevic, “The Work of Being Watched: Interactive Media and the Exploitation of Self-Disclosure.”
  5. Lawrence Grossberg, “The Affective Sensibility of Fandom.”
  6. Mizuko Ito, “Japanese Media Mixes and Amateur Cultural Exchange.”

How does it agree or disagree with Schiller’s argument? Who is in control of culture? Is it the corporations that run the culture industry for profit? Is it the users—the audience—that have control over culture? Is culture a top-down flow, as Schiller would argue? Or is culture a bottom-up process, where the users have a sense of agency and control? Is it more complex than any one of these models?

Follow these steps to complete this weeks-long assignment:

Step 1: Read the Essays

First you should read and understand the essays.

  1. Read Herbert Schiller, “The Corporation and the Production of Culture”
  2. Read the other essays
    1. Michael Curtin, “On Edge: Culture Industries in the Neo-Network Era.”
    2. Hector Amaya, “Citizenship, Diversity, Law and Ugly Betty.”
    3. Tom McCourt and Patrick Burkart, “When Creators, Corporations and Consumers Collide: Napster and the Development of Online Music Distribution.”
    4. Mark Andrejevic, “The Work of Being Watched: Interactive Media and the Exploitation of Self-Disclosure.”
    5. Lawrence Grossberg, “The Affective Sensibility of Fandom.”
    6. Mizuko Ito, “Japanese Media Mixes and Amateur Cultural Exchange.”

You should understand the main argument and locate the thesis sentence of Schiller’s essay and at least one the essays listed above.

Step 2: Select an Essay to Compare with Schiller’s Essay

Pick one of the six essays that you think speak to Schiller’s argument about corporate control of the culture industries at the end of the 20th century.

Step 3: Read My Example of a Comparative Essay

A comparative essay examines more than one thing—in this case essays written by other scholars—along a set of consistent topics or criteria.

Read my example of a comparative essay: Apples and Oranges: A Comparison

Step 4: Submit the Essay Questionnaire

After you have carefully read Schiller’s essay and the one you will use to compare, answer the following questions about your approach to comparing these two essays:

  1. Write a one-paragraph summary of Schiller’s central argument about the corporate control of the culture industries.
  2. Include at least one passage from Schiller’s essay that speaks to this argument. Be sure to cite the page number(s) in parentheses: for example, “Schiller 66.”
  3. Which essay are you going to use to compare with Schiller’s essay?
  4. Write a one-paragraph summary of the essay you selected above.
  5. Include at least one passage from this essay that speaks to this argument. Be sure to cite the page number(s) in parentheses: for example, “Monroy 28.”
  6. Does this essay agree or disagree with Schiller’s argument? In one paragraph, explain why or why not.
  7. Write a provisional, one-sentence thesis statement that connects the essay you selected with Schiller’s central argument.
  8. Write a provisional list of topics of how you will compare the two essays with each other. Include at least two topics but no more than five.

Submit your answers on the assignment titled Essay Questionnaire on Microsoft Teams by the deadline noted on the course website and on Microsoft Teams.

Step 5: Make an One-on-One Office Hours Appointment

After you submit the Essay Questionnaire, make an appointment with me to discuss strategies for converting your ideas into an essay.

This is a required part of the process. I will not accept your draft or final essay unless we meet to discuss your essay.

Schedule an appointment at https://juanmonroy.com/officehours during the office hours period: the dates are listed on the course website.

Step 6: Watch my Paper Writing Tips Video

Please review my video on some tips that you should consider as you work from revising your essay to a final version that you will submit.

Updated, April 2023: an updated version is available as a PDF on Dropbox

Step 7: Submit Your Draft Essay

After you discussed your Essay Questionnaire with me, submit a draft essay.

Your draft essay should include the following:

  • a one-paragraph introduction to your essay, including but not limited to…
    • a one-sentence summary of Schiller’s essay
    • a one-sentence summary of the essay you selected for this assignment
    • a thesis statement that summarizes your comparison of the two essays
    • a list of at least two topics that you will use to compare the essays
    • a pithy introduction to your topic
  • at least two topics for comparing the essays to each other
    • these are the topics that you brainstormed in your questionnaire and we refined in our office hours meetings
    • add a descriptive heading for your discussion of your topic; learn how to write effective headings for your essay
    • your discussion of each topic should be multiple paragraphs long: think of each topic as a section of your essay, not as a single paragraph
    • include a topic sentence for each paragraph
    • you must refer to both essays in your discussion of each topic
    • include quotes from each essay relevant to each topic
    • cite your sources using simple parenthetical citations: (Schiller 66).
    • conclude each paragraph with a sentence in your own voice—not with a quote.
  • a conclusion
    • summarizes your essay in a single sentence
  • explains why this comparison matters
  • anticipates other possible directions you didn’t explore in your essay

Your draft essay should meet the following specifications:

  • submit your draft essay to the assignment titled Draft Essay on Microsoft Teams
  • submit a Microsoft Word document—no other format is acceptable: use the document included in the assignment on Microsoft Teams
  • essay should be about 1,200 words in length: use the page-count feature in Microsoft Word to ensure your essay is the correct length.
  • cite sources, according to my Guidelines on Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Citing Sources.
  • select a typeface that is tasteful and reflects your personality
  • include page numbers
  • double-space your text
  • give your essay a descriptive title that foreshadows your thesis statement
  • submit by the deadline noted on the course website and on Microsoft Teams

Step 8: Submit Your Final Essay

After I return your draft, revise your draft and submit your final essay. Your final essay should meet the requirements outlined above for the draft essay.

If you submit a final essay without a draft essay, you will suffer a 33% penalty on this entire assignment.

Your final essay should meet the following specifications:

  • submit your final essay:
    • to the assignment titled Final Essay on Microsoft Teams: use the Microsoft Word document included in the assignment on Microsoft Teams
    • only submit a Microsoft Word document; do not attach a PDF or any other file type.
  • essay must be about 1,200 words in length: use the page-count feature in Microsoft Word to ensure your essay is the correct length.
  • cite sources, according to my Guidelines on Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Citing Sources.
  • select a typeface that is tasteful and reflects your personality
  • include page numbers
  • double-space your text
  • give your essay a descriptive title that foreshadows your thesis statement
  • submit by the deadline noted on the course website and on Microsoft Teams