Module 5: Douglas

For each of the following quotes from the assigned essay, interpret and summarize the quote in your own words—in about two to three sentences in length.

Susan J. Douglas, “The Turn Within: The Irony of Technology in a Globalized World,” American Quarterly 58, no. 3 (2006): 619–38.

  1. “If television news, in particular, bears special responsibility for squandering its ability to enhance a global awareness despite its ever-augmented capabilities to do so, reality TV, colonizing television as it did between 2001 and 2005, insisted that the most productive way to use communications technologies was to focus them on individual Americans in confined and controlled spaces hermetically sealed from foreign peoples and cultures” (621).
  2. “In the hands of reality TV producers and network executives, cheap, portable, interactive communications technology in the service of this genre privileges self-absorption, self-scrutiny, the intricacies of interpersonal interactions and an obsession with the private and personal at the expense of any broader public issues” (632)
  3. “The preferred discourse of the whole genre is one that celebrates a determined isolationism, a luxuriant self-absorption. It was the discourse of reality TV in particular that legitimated, after the initial aftermath of 9/11, a preference for the microscopic rather than the telescopic properties of communications technologies” (633).
  4. “In this era in which the word globalization is used so constantly, and profligately, and is linked to an automatic assumption that communications technologies undergird the shrinking of the world, we need to address the scopic capabilities of these devices, and analyze which political and economic structures encourage their microscopic versus their telescopic capabilities” (634).