Kaitlyn Patia ““Disturbing Conventions”: Social Memory and Democratic Faith at the Margins” and Frank Waddell “The Bandwagon Effect of Audience Metrics on Media Effects and Reception”
Frank: Digital media increasingly provide individuals with the ability to monitor the opinion of other viewers through a range of cues such as comments, “likes,” or the number of times a page has been shared by others. Such audience metrics are ubiquitous to the experience of the contemporary media consumer, but are often unaccounted for by traditional media effects theory. Does the strength of media effects vary when the opinion of other viewers accompany media content? Will the effects be stronger when others’ opinion are mostly positive rather than negative, generated by a large audience rather than a small audience, or from an audience that is nearby rather than distant? A between-subjects laboratory experiment tested these possibilities by examining the role played by valence, size, and location of the online crowd in shaping the effects of media. Results find that the effects of media are heightened by cues regarding the size and valence of the audience.
Kaitlyn: In this talk, I explore the relationships among memory, knowledge, and the possibilities of social change for those living at the margins through an analysis of one of Jane Addams' lesser-known books, The Long Road of Woman’s Memory. First published in 1916, The Long Road of Woman's Memory considers the role that memory plays in how women relate not only to their pasts, but also to one another in the present. This work is in turns poetic and heartrending, encompassing the voices and stories of older, immigrant women who endured domestic abuse, personal tragedies, and social situations in which they had little comparative power; younger women involved in the burgeoning labor and women’s movements; European mothers from “both sides” during World War I, with whom Addams spoke while traveling abroad in conjunction with her work for the Woman’s Peace Party in 1915; and Jane Addams’ own reflections.
I argue that Addams' theory of social memory is essential to understanding the possibilities for changing the relationships and social structures necessary to sustain a social democracy. Furthermore, Addams’ work illustrates how democratic faith flourishes not by ignoring or avoiding difficult emotions such as fear, anger, or heartbreak in favor of, say, optimism or hope, but by confronting these emotions head on, by dwelling with conditions of violence, death, and social marginalization.