Week Seven: Framing versus “Transversality”—music, journalism and other ecologies of practice

This week we looked at the concepts of ‘Framing’ and ‘Transversality’.

Framing is described as, “the combination of beliefs, values, attitudes, mental models and so on which we use to perceive a situation” according to Murphy (2006).

So framing to me, is sort of the majority of what society thinks is right and wrong, what is socially acceptable and not. We follow a certain framework in our daily lives, consisting of what we have learnt and what we see from others.

Transversality is put by Murphy as “Simply put a transversal is a line that cuts across other lines, perhaps across entire fields – bringing the fields together in a new way, recreating fields as something else”.

So I guess that transversality can mean it is somewhat of a flexible system that can adapt to new systems at the same time. Having multiple ecologies exist and intersect.

Itunes for example, is transversal in the fact that you can buy music, shows, apps, games all in one place – and further, the fact that you can apply any of these things to multiple objects such as smartphones, ipods, laptops, ipads.. etc But all of this is restricted to a framework, that being the Apple framework. It is only compatible with apple products.

The ‘framing’ of the music industry is that we as consumers buy music from legal distributors such as itunes, amazon etc. But the internet has allowed free music to be downloaded from multiple piracy sites such as the recent limewire which was shut down.. or torrents sites such as piratebay.com. People at home record and upload new songs onto their own websites for download availability representing transversality – where multiple ecologies are colliding with one another. It is no longer restricted to one pathway. It has broken out of the traditional framework.

One example is one of my favourite radio channels, ‘Triple J Unearthed’ where they support and play local bands, giving them an opportunity to distribute their music outside of the traditional and often unattainable framework of first getting signed by a music company.

Or youtube, in the fact that anyone can become famous by uploading a video of themselves singing, justin bieber > case & point. The music industry has definitely stepped out of the old school framework as the years go by, music producers peruse through youtube clips to find their next biggest star.. there are music reality shows in search of new and unheard of talent.. The music industry is transversal, with multiple ecologies co-existing with each other and independently.

Similar to journalism, where the framework was once perceived as being restricted to physical newspapers, radio or tv news etc. It has now extended beyond the framework as the internet continues to grow larger with so many opportunities. Anyone with access to the internet could potentially be a ‘journalist’ putting out news and info of their choice. Social networking has given way to multiple frameworks of journalism, with blogging sites and facebook and twitter – news is instant, showing how the journalism industry represents transversality. It brings me back to an old concept of ‘convergence’ where traditional media ecologies now must adapt to new ones in order to survive.

Murphie, Andrew (2006) ‘Editorial’, [on transversality], the Fibreculture Journal, 9 <http://nine.fibreculturejournal.org/>


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