Bibliography, Critical Summary

Media Identities (Critical Summary)

Douglas Kellner argues that much of our identity is formed from our consumption of media. He asserts that all aspects of identity from our concept of male and female to our race or class, are sexuality or nationality are constructed from media. It is through the media lens that we perceive sexual and power relations who are the elite within our society.

“We are immersed from cradle to grave in a media and consumer society… they contribute to educating us how to behave and what to think, feel, believe, fear and desire; and what not to” 

Textual analysis of media products highlights dominant ideologies of women, men, blacks, gays or other groups and reveals how ‘meaning’ is made. Kellner selects the film ‘Rambo’ (1982) to demonstrate the conventions of a US-war film but also how the characters are portrayed and how camera angles, lighting and post-production reinforce meaning such as the presentation of Rambo “as a god or slow motion images of him gliding through the jungle code him as a force of nature“. Similarly, Kellner also provides examples of Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz in the film ‘Vanilla Sky’ (2001) as providing the audience with not only a view of a technologically-Utopian future but in Cruise and Cruz, “icons of beauty, desire, sexuality and power”.


Douglas Kellner highlights how identity is difficult to define and comments on the continual change and re-construction of the idea.

Identity continues to be the problem it was throughout modernity…far from identity disappearing in contemporary society, it is reconstructed and redefined.’



Kellner, D. 2003. “Cultural Studies, Multiculturalism, and Media Culture”. London: Routledge


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