PCUL1F92 Section 1: Thursday, October-20-11
** Watched video on the Durham Cathedral – relating to notions of cultural
The building was meant to reinforce the power of the monarchy over the
• Taking popular culture into their own hands.
• Caused because people are acting outside of existing allowable social
• This requires (by society) some form of regulation (laws/bylaws) or
commercialization to impose and control meaning. What the Power
Bloc perceives as a threat to societal values and interests. Notion that
you can regulate it and commercialize it in order to diffuse the threat.
(it – being the movement that is causing a moral panic, e.g. punk)
• Graffiti is a good example of this – it is both regulated against, and also
‘sold’ as art.
** Image of cave art discovered in the south of France, depicted thousands
of years ago. **
Why is this treated so reverentially, and graffiti so negatively? Are they both
not simply drawings on the wall?
Exit Through the Gift Shop
• Graffiti as part of mass culture.
o In the movie, we also see that graffiti is something saleable,
marketable, with economic value.
o Society tries to explain moral panic (media coverage), modify
and control these panics in order to restore the power balance.
In essence, to allow the Power Bloc to have control again.
• Banksy makes Mr. Brainwash look ridiculous. – Do we focus on style
• Media coverage doesn’t cover the meaning of the art, but rather treats
it as a “crazy, Banksy stunt” – how did he get that art there?
• Is it at the expense of meaning?
** Replays opening of the Banksy film. Upbeat, ‘light’ music played
accompanying images of street artists graffiti-ing and tagging public spaces.
Music and editing present a positive slant on graffiti. He is using style
• Notes the political aspects of resistance. Heterogeneity vs.
homogeneity concerns define this kind of battle. PCUL1F92 Section 1: Thursday, October-20-11
• We have moments of freedom or escape from dominant hegemony.
Cites the lives of surfers or video gamers who can “lose themselves” in
• These just end up being individual moments.
• Doesn’t lead to any form of social resistance/political upheaval.
• Fiske suggests that it can potentially lead to wide resistance.
• Even though systems – especially economic, work – try to keep us ‘in
• We may find ‘escape’ in video games, but we still have to go through
the economic system of buying the console, games, etc.
• Fiske argues that how we use the texts does open up some possibility
for change. In these small personal victories, there is an element of
social change, which he refers to as progressive rather than radical.
**Image of Lady Gaga**
• Simply commercial or inspiration for personal empowerment?
• On one hand, “Lady Gaga” is very much still a commercial product
within the capitalist system. However…
• As Fiske suggests for Madonna, she also reaches out to marginalized
groups. Offers them a means of empowerment through her music.
Offers a form of progressive change.
• The power to make meaning. As the slide says “Power over making
• Hegemony suggests that dominant culture creates and enforces its
meaning, as well as our acceptance of them.
• If we resist the meanings that are offered and create our own, or new
ones, is it a means of asserting power?
• Fiske refers to this a thinking differently, not just refusing the meaning,
but also creating oppositional meaning.
• Does Banksy’s film create an oppositional meaning – a new way of
thinking about graffiti? PCUL1F92 Section 1: Thursday, October-20-11
**New slideshow presentation
in Popular Culture
• Control over the nature of representation is part of the controls held by
the power bloc.
o If I get to show you the world and tell you this is how it is, that’s
a lot of power. In this sense, news organizations have a lot of
• Tied very much to economic control as fewer big companies control
o e.g. Bell Globe Media owns CTV, TSN, a satellite system, internet
• Control over representation is therefore that of the economically
o Big corporations control how we see things, therefore they have
a lot of economic power.
o e.g. NBC was once owned by General Electric.
• Of course, that doesn’t mean that’s the only group that can make
• We have the opportunity to create media.
o How will it reach the same wide audience that a major network
• But this is often blocked by other controls.
o It is becoming increasingly commercialized, not as folk as we
would have hoped.
• “Charlie Bit my Finger” once dominated the charts on YouTube, now
commercialized music videos have immensely passed that.
Discourses (of Representation)
• Representation that allows for power – how the world is spoken for,
how we are told ab