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Friday Night Lights - Movie Review

Essay by   •  November 15, 2012  •  Book/Movie Report  •  844 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,324 Views

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The film I viewed for my Communication Theory and Film analysis was Friday Night Lights. The main theory illustrated in this film is the cultural approach to organizations. According to a Princeton anthropologist, Clifford Geertz, "Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance that he himself has spun". But in regards to the field of communication, Michael Pacanowsky has "applied Geertz's cultural insights to organizational life." To summarize Pacanowsky's view on Geertz's web theory, he suggests that if we focus on the meaning of people's webs "then we need to concern ourselves not only with the structures of cultural webs, but with the process of their spinning as well". Ultimately, this process is communication. Geertz and Pacanowsky agreed that all organizations have their own culture. This culture means each organization has a web of meanings for things that are shared between the individuals in the group.

Several examples of the theory of cultural approach to organizations are apparent in the film Friday Night Lights. Odessa, a blue-collar Texas community, had its own culture; a web of shared meanings between individuals. A big part of their shared culture was the obsession and success of Permian Panther high school football. Odessa expected nothing less than another state championship from their home football team. The coaches, the team, and the families in the Odessa community each had their own cultural webs, but everyone's separate cultures seemed to be connected to the community's shared expectation and obsession with having a winning Permian Panther football team. The community's shared obsession and expectation was apparent when the local businesses closed and posted "gone to the game" signs on game nights, when members of the community lectured the players and coaches over and over to "win states and get it done", and when the community put dozens of for-sale signs in the coach's front lawn after an early season injury of a star player during a game in which the team had a substantial lead. In addition, as the town faced racial divisions and times of economic struggles, the Friday night field lights and the sport of football both became metaphors, representing a familiar weekly image on Friday nights to bring the people in the community together and give them something to live for; the hopes and dreams of the football team.

Another component of the cultural approach to organizations theory illustrated in the film was the symbolic interpretation of story. This component represents stories told over and over to provide a convenient window to view webs of significance. The symbolic interpretation of the story is apparent in this film as many past players and parents of the Permian football team told the current players all their stories of their past state championships, as well as how they expect

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