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COMM 2P20 Lecture 2.doc

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Communication Studies
Baxter Moore

COMM2P20 Lecture2 September19th,2012 PopularCulturecan be defined as the communicative texts, practices and experiences of everyday life" Characteristics of popular culture: - Consists of both texts (artifacts) and practices/ experiences - it is also about what we do (traveling, going to sports games, etc. becomes popular culture) - Popular culture is generic; that is, it is organized around recognizable formulas (films have generic attributes that allow us to determine whether or not we are going to like the film or not - example horror or comedy) - It is highly self-reflexive (much of it is 'about' other pop culture texts, experiences, practices) - a lot of pop culture texts are about pop culture TheoriesofMassCulture The Politics of Popular Culture - John Street (n Politics and Popular Culture) - 4 political/ ideological perspectives on pop culture 1. Conservative elitist - oppose social change/ view pop culture as inferior to high or elite culture 2. Radical elitist - support social change/ view pop culture as inferior to high culture or elite culture 3. Conservative populist - oppose social change/ view pop culture as equivalent to high culture or are insensitive to culture in any form 4. Radical populist - support social change/ view pop culture as equivalent to high culture or are insensitive to culture in any form MassCultureTheorists:TwoSchoolsofThought 1. Conservative elitists: also called "the culture and civilization tradition" - Matthew Arnold - Culture & Anarchy, Cecil Sharp - folkorist, Frank Raymond and Queenie Dorothy - Leavis, literary critics, Jose Ortega y Gasset - The Revolt of the Masses, Dwight Macdonald - A Theory of Mass Culture, Allan Bloom - The Closing of the American Mind 2. Radical Elitists: associated with "The Frankfurt School" - esp. Max Horkheimer & Theodor Adorno, "The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception, Herbert Marcuse -"one-dimensional man" Key Similarities & Differences of these Schools - Conservative Elitists & Radical Elitists 1. Both conservative elitists & radical elitists are critical of popular culture, but differ with respect to: their attitudes to social change & the way they see the relaionship between popular culture & social change 2. Conservative Elitists: want to preserve the existing social order, but see mass/ popular culture as a threat to social order 3. Radical Elitists: want the existing social order (capitalism) but see popular culture as propping up that social order Great Big Sea - "It's The End of the World as we Know it" The Culture and Civilization Tradition: Key Points - Culture is "the best that has been thought and said in the world" (Arnold) - Culture also meant having knowledge about those texts - A cultured person is someone who knows about
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