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Lecture 11

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Communication Studies
Baxter Moore

COMM2P20 Lecture11 November21,2012 PostmodernismContinued - Note that, in addition to various theorists discussed last week, Storey’s chapter 9 considered two other important trends: - Globalization (the global postmodern) - Convergence culture (different types of convergence: technology, commerce, ownership, consumer/ audience) Globalization - A process which makes for an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world and makes increasingly irrelevant tradition conceptions of time and space: we can now communicate almost instantaneously with almost anyone, almost anywhere in the world - Economies are becoming increasingly intertwined (problems in European economy affects North America as well, and so on) - Also means that culture can be moved around as well - Cultural globalization vs the Americanization of culture (what we have called elsewhere “cultural imperialism”) - Is it really globalization in that equal parts of the world come together or is globalization simply American cultural imperialism? - Storey cites numerous arguments against the view of postmodernism as Americanization of culture/cultural imperialism (Storey, 210-214) - Storey says that no, in many cases they are adapting these American products to their own circumstance (audiences everywhere are not pure cultural ‘dupes’) - for the most part, people make their own meanings from what they consume and they choose what they consume. - Cultural globalization as hegemony: a negotiation or ‘compromise equilibrium’ (Gramsci) between local ‘authentic’ cultures emerging ‘from below’ and international (often Americanized) imposed ‘from above’ - The same process is often called glocalizationa term which captures the inherent tensions between the local and the global - Some are quite optimistic about this and argue that globalization is a melting pot and fairly fuzes different cultures together - Others argue there are profound disparities in wealth, for example, between the Western nations and the developing nations - See also the advice to ‘think global, act local’ ConvergenceCulture - Convergence refers to the coming together of different media, once delivered through different platforms and consumed in different ways. Four different dimensions: 1. Technological Convergence: the digital revolution. a. Changes in technologies which allowed all kinds of media signal to be reduced down to 1s and 0s and all carried along one cable. And later broadcast wirelessly 2. Commercial Convergence: the bundling of services a. Putting cable, telephone, and internet together and giving it to consumers at a lower cost than buying these services individually 3. Corporate (ownership) Convergence: company takeovers and mergers leading to a handful of mega-corporations owning major shares of media across several industries or sectors a. Rogers wants to be able to offer you their cellphone and home phone and cable services, as well as now giving you Roger’s TV 4. Audience Convergence: changing consumer behaviours whereby people are willing to trade quality of media reproduction for convenience of accessing a wide range of different media on a single device a. Watching a movie on your cellphone does not compare the the big screen at a movie theater (same for music) - but people do it anyways because of the immediacy and convenience of those media outlets b. Consumption styles have changed and that has profoundly shaped the popular culture industries (the way they are made, advertised, and consumed) Politicsof/andPopularCulture TwoMainConcerns: 1. The politics of popular culture: that is, debates about the study of popular culture, its theories and methods, and its political purpose 2. Popular culture and politics: that is, the role of popular culture in the processes of political and social change PoliticsofPopularCulture:McGuigan - To exemplify some of the arguments about the politics of popular culture - Focus on Jim MscGuigan’s critique of cultural populism - Cultural populism is a tendency to privilege everyday culture over “culture with a capital “C” and, especially, to emphasize interpretation of popular culture texts and practices at the expense of locating them in historical and economic context - He is criticizing some of the tendencies of postmodernism (that focuses very much on the text and interpretations of) - For McGuigan, cultural populism represents: - The triumph of technique (especially textual analysis) over substance; (we spend so much time trying to squeeze out the meanings of text that we loose sight of what pop culture is all about and what the texts could mean at large) - A loss of critical perspective - once provided by political economy and, especially, Gramsci’s theory of hegemony;
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