Mediated Associations

Mediated Associations: Cinematic Dimensions of Social Theory

Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 218
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  • Book Info
    Mediated Associations
    Book Description:

    Rather than focusing on the abstract and individualizing character of cinema, Mediated Associations elucidates the collective character of cinematic objects. O'Connor argues that social theory must come to terms with the new mobilities and speed of cinema, and the various ways in which the affect - as a virtual moment of collective experience - is inserted into the flow of movement and structures cinematic events. In considering the primacy of the affect to cinematic forms of power, he examines the way in which cinema controls our associations, reconstituting our manners and habits of sociality and sociability in subtle and complex ways.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7035-1
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-14)

    In this book I examine various ways in which social apparatuses such as sovereign displays, legislative sign systems, disciplinary arrangements, and cinematic technologies exercise power. Social apparatuses exercise power through spectacular displays that are designed to control, regulate, and govern the associations of those who witness them. The fact that they can accomplish this is a consequence occupying strategic social sites that serve as focal points of public attention and forums for associating with others. Social apparatuses deploy various intermediary structures and interfaces to exercise control. Their ability to govern or control associations (both material and symbolic), through indirect mechanisms...

  5. 1 The Affective Associations
    (pp. 15-32)

    In assessing the power of mass media — that is, those forms of mediated exchanges whose products are designed for mass consumption — many scholars analyse these forms of cultural production as they would any other form of cultural artifact produced in quantity; they are fetish objects (see Bhabha, 1994; Denzin, 1995). Fetish objects are forms of social activities, associations, and social relations that are treated as things, as objects of contemplation, or, as Baudrillard claims, as objects of fascination (1983b) or collection (1988). Barthes (1973, 1977) analyses the fetish object as captured popular associations that are returned to circulation. These approaches...

  6. 2 Three Social Apparatuses — and a Fourth?
    (pp. 33-72)

    In this chapter I introduce the concept of social apparatus and survey some of its more common formations and deployments — the scaffold, the legislative sign-post, the panopticon prison, and cinema. I focus on the audiovisual features of these social formations and the characteristics of the mediating structures and agencies (aspects) that they embody and the various ways in which these aspects are deployed in public domains. Social apparatuses work in the open and through the creation of strategic openings. They assemble and address public forums. They create social localities, serve as focal points of association, and are involved in activities...

  7. 3 Cinema’s Optics
    (pp. 73-93)

    There are various ways of looking at cinema. We can see it as a kind of sovereign spectacle for framing and limiting meaning, perhaps a sign-regime to deter everyday associations, or even a disciplinary apparatus for producing a relation of voyeurs and self-conscious bodies. Sovereignty fixes the frame of reference and smooths out the screen, the sign regime adds motivation to (overcodes) captured motion and redirects it, while the disciplinary apparatus breaks up motion into elementary units and, in the silent observatories, subjects them to a permanent optical test. Baudrillard, perhaps inclined to see discipline as the dominant form of...

  8. 4 The Close-up: Circuits of Communication
    (pp. 94-106)

    The close-up has the effect of displacing quantitative space as it unsettles distinctions between near and far, close and distant, large and small. At the same time, however, it also opens up and mobilizes a space of qualitative mixtures and transformations. As a form of cinematic movement, it defines a conjunctive interval between states of things, between states and bodies. It affects how these conjunctions are lived on an affective plane, and in so doing, adds a qualitative dimension to the space of events. This chapter explores the relation between this affective—intensive interval and the spacing of events, considers...

  9. 5 The Out-of-field: Sociability and Sociality
    (pp. 107-126)

    Up to this point, I have suggested that the dimensionality of the close-up is neither small nor large. Its importance lies beyond the conventions of these relative dimensions. The close-up does not simply magnify the details of an interiority, nor does it merely define a fragment cut from its milieu. Fetishism my well end up contemplating finished works or practico-inert objects situated in a fixed frame of reference, but the analysis of the processes that mobilize these phantom objectivities can neither begin nor end at this point. I suggest that the significance of the close-up lies somewhere between the small...

  10. 6 The Flashback: Cultural Dislocations and Global Actions
    (pp. 127-146)

    Under the signs of fetishism produced by globalization, local culture gave way to the processes of massification and the production of massive-individuals. The twin regimes of capital and mass media are chief among the forces of cultural dislocation. They largely reduce communities to serial assemblages of producers and consumers of feeders and collectors on the circuits and flows of capital media. Baudrillard’s collector system is part of this massification process. It is established in relation to partial objects (1990: 43-58). In the never-finished serial game of collection, the goal (the object of the game) is a “re-collected self” and a...

  11. 7 Cinematic Interaction: Spatial Displacements and Global Scenes
    (pp. 147-161)

    The preceding chapter has shown the duel to be an indexical relation that ties situations and modes of behaviour together by means of the affect. Every situation is a space that throws down a challenge, either as a distance to be crossed or as a difference to be actualized, while modes of behaviour serve as indirect expressions and responses to these challenges. In the absence of a prearranged, preordained, or ready-made response, one must be fabricated, and all the space of the interval is taken up with the problem of forming appropriate perceptions and responses that will allow movements to...

  12. 8 Symbols and Secrets
    (pp. 162-179)

    The power of cinema, as distinct from the still, the picture, or the finished work of art, is a consequence of the fact that movements escape the parameters of the frame and the set. The image of what lies beyond the frame, or the out-of-field, and the ways in which this field of alterity interfaces with fields of perception and action are central to the workings of the cinema apparatus. The power/qualities of the out-of-field are used in many ways to structure expectations, to direct motion, and to produce the overall effect of seamless links between scenes. In its conventional...

  13. Conclusion
    (pp. 180-190)

    Through a synthesis of various concepts from social theory and cinema, this work aims to enhance our understanding of indirect social processes by developing their cinematic dimensions. From my perspective, concepts may derive from fields such as sociology and cinema, and they may specify the various processes and kinds of events, encounters, and relations that take place within these fields and express their states of affairs. Through their expression, concepts may even serve as indicators of the field to which one belongs, like the stakes that define a territory. But concepts are not the property of fields, any more than...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 191-194)
  15. References
    (pp. 195-202)
  16. Index
    (pp. 203-209)