Communication Studies AP/COMN 3213 3.0 S1 2022
Labour in the Communication and Cultural Industries
Group Discussion Report (20%):
The class will be divided into groups of 5 students. Please exchange contact information, as this
will be your group for the rest of the course.
Group discussions will take place on several occasions during class time and will be based on the
material covered (readings, videos, discussions, etc.). Your group will receive a question sheet that
will guide your discussion. You will have to choose a facilitator to lead each discussion. Everyone
must take on the facilitator role once.
In addition to leading the group discussion, the facilitator must submit a report that captures the
group discussion and your subsequent reflections. Clearly distinguish between your own voice and
the voices of others in your group. Upon completion of the discussion, review your notes and
supplement the discussion using relevant course material. The report should be no more than 5
double-spaced typed pages in length. You do not have to use essay form, but please express your
thoughts in a coherent manner. Please include: a) your name, b) your group #, and c) the names of
all members of your group who were present during discussion.
Your report will be graded on your comprehension of the course material, the depth of your
engagement with the material, and your capacity to convey your ideas to your reader.
Next steps: On May 24, you will be placed in a group. Along with other members of your group,
determine which of the 5 group discussions you will facilitate. One week after you facilitate your
group discussion, hand in the report to me by email to [email protected] In the subject heading,
please include: i) your last name, ii) the course (COMN3213), iii) Group Discussion Report, and iv)
your group number – e.g. Subject: Smith, COMN3213, Group Discussion Report, Group 2. Group
Discussion #5 will take place June 16 and will be due June 23.
1. “Web 2.0 corporations and the usage they enable are not an expression of participatory
democracy. As long as corporations dominate the Internet, it will not be participatory”. Do you
agree? Why? Why not?
2. Fuchs claims that “audiences of advertising-financed newspapers, TV and radio stations work
when giving attention to these media (audience labour) and produce themselves as a
commodity (the audience commodity) that is sold to advertisers” […] “If exploitation does not
feel like exploitation, then this does not mean that it does not exist. It is exploitation even if
users like it.” Do you believe you are exploited when you perform digital labour? Why? Why
3. “When Theodore Adorno wrote of the ‘culture industry’, arguing that culture was being
universally commodified and homogenized, it was arguably an elitist simplification. Even the
Hollywood production-line showed more variation than Adorno admitted. The social industry,
by contrast, has gone much further, subjecting social life to an invariant written formula.”
(Seymour). Discuss in relation to course themes.
4. “The nuance added by social industry’s platforms is that they don’t necessarily have to spy on
us. They have created a machine for us to write to. The bait is that we are interacting with other
people: our friends, professional colleagues, celebrities, politicians, royals, terrorists, porn
actors – anyone we like. We are not interacting with them, however, but with the machine. We
write to it, and it passes on the message for us, after keeping a record of the data.” (Seymour).
Why is this significant?
5. “Now the data platforms know us better than we know ourselves” (Seymour). Do you agree?
Why? Why not?
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