Do the Culture Jam

We’ve looked a lot at the analysis of advertising and certainly located plenty that we are less than satisfied with. So what do people do with this information? Sometimes, the answer is culture jamming.

We looked briefly at this already:

 Adbusters is a community that works to disrupt the negative impact of advertising. Have a look at what they do?

TASK: Respond to the following

Why does the Media Foundation do this work?

The video states that the mainstream television stations won’t run their advertisements. Is this problematic? Should they be forced to?

A little theory

Have a look at these sources to define culture jamming:

Beautiful trouble: Detournement/Culture Jamming

The Centre for Communication and Civic Engagement

English Language and Literature Course Book

TASK: Develop a definition of culture jamming and/or detournement (can someone figure out if these concepts are different!)

Take a few notes on other interesting ideas associated with this concept.


Browse for a few examples of culture jamming. I see two different kinds:

  1. Those that take the work of others and change it (detournement)
  2. Those that create or recreate a text using parody or pastiche.

Patterns in Culture

Have a critical look at the top 10 music charts and see if you can locate any patterns in the representations.

Record your findings here.

Time to Present what you know

Now that you have developed an understanding of culture jamming and conducted an investigation into the patterns evident across texts, its now time to investigate this independently.

TASK: Choose a topic around this idea of culture jamming and representations and present your ideas or findings. You could:

  • Analyse a detournement in terms of its link to culture and its effectiveness
  • Create a detournement and present your intentions
  • Conduct an analysis of the representations of women or race or gender etc. within a specific context and suggest implications
  • something else?

How you go about doing this is as open as the task; the only real stipulation is that it needs to be presented (rather than written).

  •  a formal oral analysis
  • a dialogue or discussion between two “experts”
  • the interview of a person who created a detournement
  • the interview of a person suggesting
  • leading a structured discussion based on some provocative material.

Some guidelines:

  • keep your ideas focused on textual analysis, context, and the effect on the audience
  • This task isn’t about demonstrating your command of the text (ie. proving that you can “write” an interview using the conventions of the text). You should aim to employ these but this is of less importance in this task.
  • Aim for 10 mins, don’t go beyond 15 mins. Always keep depth and concision in mind.

We will use the Further Oral Activity criteria so use this as a guide.

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