A Marxist check list was RE: Marxist pedagogy

Gary Maclennan g.maclennan at qut.edu.au
Tue Apr 10 20:30:43 MDT 2001


As a part of my initial lecture I give the students the following check
list.  I know it is reductive etc, but first years seem to find it a
help.  They then have to analyze using this list some media
texts.  Favorites here are Star Trek and certain episodes from the Simpsons.

Any comments welcome.


Marxist Analysis of Texts
1. Establish the class position taken up by the author in the text. The
actual author's own class origin, and biographical details may be useful
clues here.
2. Return the work to its historical and social context. Think of the
historical and social context in terms of class struggle. Don't just simply
add in the "historical background". Specifically look for attitudes towards
class, power, political and social issues of the day.
3. If the work is set in the past relate it, as above, to the struggles of
the time. Then ask if there are any parallels with present day struggles.
Has the author "made a raid on the past to suit the needs of the present"?
4. If the work is set in the future, look to see if the struggles and
relationships in the text have any bearing on present day relationships. Is
the author using the future to comment on the present?
5. Check for evidence of unequal power relationships between characters or
groups. What is the author's attitude towards the groups and the nature of
the relationships between them. Does the author support or challenge the
status quo?
6. Look for absences in the text. For example in An OCcurrence at OWl Creek
we get glimpses of the wealthy lifestyle of the victim, but we get no
indication of the existence of the basis of that wealth -black slave
labour. What does this absence tell us?
7. Locate the inscribed or intended audience of the text.
What is the author's attitude towards this audience [equality? inferiority?
8. Examine language closely: words
linguistic structures
other languages

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