Conceptual Issues in Communication and Culture
CS203 B, Winter 2016
Wilfrid Laurier University
Department of Communication Studies
Instructor: Dr. Penelope Ironstone-Catterall

Final Take-Home Examination
Due: EXTENSION: Monday April 11 by 4 p.m.
No Exceptions Without a Medical Note Attesting to Illness
Value: 30% of Final Grade


General Instructions

A take-home examination demands different skills and responses than does an in-class examination. Given the additional time and access to course materials, a take-home examination demands clarity of thought and exposition. It also asks that you demonstrate the depth and breadth of your understanding of the course materials. One advantage of a take-home examination is that it gives you time to think, to problem-solve, to map out your answers in detail, and to consult course materials. Do take full advantage of this time to ensure you understand key concepts and ideas.

This examination has two parts.

The first part involves short-answer questions. Your short answers should be concise and demonstrate your ability to identify and explain key quotations we have covered in the second half of the course (From Habermas on). These short answers must be in your own words and should demonstrate your familiarity with and understanding of relevant course materials. Point form will not be accepted.

The second part of this examination, a short essay, should demonstrate both your understanding of the course materials and your ability to use them to address a question. Answer only one of the two questions. You must be able to locate and think through the ideas that will be relevant to answering the question. This will mean going through the course materials in order to determine which readings, lectures, tutorials, and course web resources are related to the question and to the answer you wish to give to it. Make sure you keep your focus while writing this short essay!

HINT: Your answers in section one can help you to flesh out your argument in section two.

Examinations must be typed (or word-processed), double-spaced, in 12-point font, and have one inch margins all around. Spelling, punctuation, grammar and other questions of presentation, including proper citation of reading and lecture material and all outside sources, will be reflected in your grade. Be sure to proof-read your examination before you hand it in.


When you quote or paraphrase course package or lecture material or any outside sources, you must indicate that you are doing so by noting the author and the page number or the date of the lecture in parentheses at the end of the sentence in which it is used, e.g. (Smith, 2010: 234) or (Ironstone February 20, 2016). You must do so in order to distinguish between your own ideas and those taken from elsewhere, including course materials.

Submitting your exam

Examinations are to be submitted to the MyLearningSpace Dropbox for this course before 4 pm on Monday April 11, 2016.

Don't forget to submit your exam before the 4 pm deadline!


Remember: Late examinations will not be accepted without a note from your physician attesting to illness which prevents completion of the work on time.



A. Short Answer: Identify and Explain (30 points)

Identify and explain the importance of six (6) of the following ten (10) quotations. You must name the theorist from which the quotation is taken and, in your own words, explain what the quote refers to and what it means. Identifying the quote is worth one point, while the explanation of the quote is worth the remaining four points. This means that each explanation ought to cover at least four solid points for full marks, including definitions of all key concepts found in the quotation, and demonstrate a clear understanding of what the quotation means. Each answer should be a approximately 150 words or one-half double-spaced typed page, and must be no longer than one full double-spaced page. Point-form answers will not be accepted.

1) "[T]the promise of participation is not simply propaganda. No, it is a deeper, underlying fantasy wherein technology functions as a fetish covering over our impotence and helping us understand ourselves as active."

2) "Race is like a language ... a floating signifier."

3) "He who is subjected to a field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power; he makes them play spontaneously upon himself; he inscribes himself in power relations which he simultaneously plays both roles; he comes the principle of his own subjection."

4) "Currently, the commodification of difference promotes paradigms of consumption wherein whatever difference the Other inhabits is eradicated, via exchange, by a consumer cannibalism that not only displaces the Other but denies the significance of that Other's history through a process of decontextualization."

5) “The society that emerged int he nineteenth century -- bourgeois, capitalist, or industrial society, call it what you will -- did not confront sex with a a fundamental refusal of recognition. On the contrary, it put into operation an entire machinery for producing true discourses concerning it.”

6) "There is no gender identity behind the expressions of gender; that identity is performatively constituted by the very 'expressions' that are said to be its results."

7) "[A]nalysis of the public sphere needs to undergo some critical interrogation and reconstruction if it is to yield a category capable of theorizing the limits of actually existing democracy."

8) "It is precisely in the apparent contradictoriness of the postfeminist sensibility that the entanglement of feminist and antifeminist discourses can be seen. The patterned nature of the contradictions is what constitutes the sensibility, a sensibility in which notions of autonomy, choice and self-improvement sit side-by-side with surveillance, discipline and the vilification of those who make the 'wrong' 'choices' (e.g. become too fat, too thin, or have the audacity or bad judgment to grow older)."

9) "Citizens behave as a public body when they confer in an unrestricted fashion -- that is, with the guarrantee of freedom of assembly and association and the fredeom to express and publish their opinions -- about matters of general interest."

10) "Relations, secured by economic, social, political, and military domination were transformed and 'naturalised' into an order of rank, ascribed by Nature."

B. Essay Question (30 points):

Choose one of the following two questions. Answers must be presented in essay form (an introduction with a thesis statement, a body supporting the thesis argument, and a conclusion). Be sure to proof-read your essay as matters of spelling, punctuation and grammar, as well as organization and structure of argument, will be evaluated here. Be sure not to lose your focus on the question you have been asked and to provide a roadmap in your introduction outlining the focus of your answer and which theoretical perspectives you will be using.

Remember: this question is designed to allow you to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the course materials and your ability to use them to answer a question. To this end, the course materials must be central to your argument.

1. Following Foucault, both Judith Butler and Stuart Hall, among others, argue that the meanings of concepts of classification integral to all identities (such as gender, race, and sexuality) are socio-historical rather than essential, social rather than biologically determined, cultural and representational rather than genetically-based, discursive rather natural, always in process rather than being already accomplished facts or essential characteristics of people.

Discuss this claim in an essay no shorter than three (3) typed double-spaced pages and no longer than five (5) typed double-spaced pages. You must directly reference at least three (3) relevant course readings from the second half of the class (Public Sphere to the end of the class) in your essay. You may cite the Hall video-lecture in your answer. Be sure to provide examples to support your argument.

HINT: Foucault, Butler, Gill, Hall (2nd reading and video-lecture), hooks, and Said all have something to say on the topic of anti-essentialism.


2 In her "Communicative Capitalism: Circulation and the Foreclosure of Politics," Jodi Dean writes: "The proliferation, distribution, acceleration and intensification of communicative access and opportunity, far from enhancing democratic governance or resistance, results in precisely the opposite – the post-political formation of communicative capitalism." In other words, according to Dean, the public sphere (Habermas) as an ideal has not been enhanced by either the critique provided by "actually existing democracy" (Fraser) or by new communication technologies and the access and opportunity they provide (Dean), despite our fantasies that this is the case.

With reference to the work of at least three (3) relevant course readings from the second half of the class (Public Sphere to the end of the class), write an essay no shorter than three (3) typed double-spaced pages and no longer than five (5) typed double-spaced pages on the above. Be sure to provide examples to support your argument.

HINT: Habermas, Fraser, Gill, hooks, and Dean all have something to day on this topic.






"Good Night and Good Luck."