Class Notes (1,100,000)
CA (650,000)
Brock U (10,000)
PCUL (40)
Lecture

Identity and Popular Culture


Department
Popular Culture
Course Code
PCUL 1F92
Professor
Scott Henderson

This preview shows pages 1-2. to view the full 8 pages of the document.
PCUL1F92 Section 1: Thursday, January-12-11
Identity & Popular Culture
Does Identity Matter?
One of the prominent academic concerns in the study of popular
culture.
Some common approaches include (but not limited to) gender, race,
nation, locality, class, sexual orientation.
oHow does popular culture represent these identities?
oHow do these identities find a voice in popular culture?
Globalization may represent an increasing threat to identity.
Individuals feel more powerless in a global society; more like ‘a
number’.
**Image of Big Bird holding “Occupy Sesame St” sign.
‘Occupy’ movement may be a reaction to this powerlessness.
This has led to people seeking stability, which is evident in many facets of
popular culture, people want to find their niche.
Is rise of religion in popular culture part of a search for stable identity?
**Image of Football player Tebow**
Postmodernism
A complex term; hard to define.
Literal definition: ‘after modernism’.

Only pages 1-2 are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.

PCUL1F92 Section 1: Thursday, January-12-11
oDoes not encapsulate the entire meaning.
Simon During (synthesizing Jean-Francois Lyotard’s theory) suggests
that there are 3 separate grounds for defining this post-modern era.
Postmodern Era
1. “The ideas [dominant, linear narratives] of progress, rationality and
scientific objectivity which legitimated Western modernity are no
longer acceptable in large part because they take no account of
cultural differences [re: Mass culture Frankfurt school theories – we
ignore multiple identities and intertwining histories].”
2. “There is no confidence that ‘high’ or avant-garde art and culture
has more value than ‘low’ or popular culture.” [No longer a clear
path].
3. “It is no longer possible to separate the ‘real’ from the ‘copy’, or the
‘natural’ from the ‘artificial’, in a historical situation where
technologies have so much control and reach.”
a. Product of the digital world that we live in.
b. Paradox – “It was like a movie” to describe real events.
Postmodern Style
A reaction to modernism, which emerges at dawn of 20th century.
Modernism – real negative reaction to religion, imperialism.
**Image of Pablo Picasso ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’ (1907).
Modernism emphasized personal expression and a rejection of the
‘truths’ and objectivity of art.
Postmodernism as a style
Often about aspects of ‘quotation’.
About revisiting past styles, not for their utility or uniqueness, but for
the meaning that the style itself invokes.
oe.g. Why are Greek columns re-appropriated? The style is used
not for utility (e.g. not to hold up a roof) but to suggest that this
is a place of power.)
“An emphasis on style at the expense of substance.”
The artificial taking the place of the real.
You're Reading a Preview

Unlock to view full version

Only pages 1-2 are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.

PCUL1F92 Section 1: Thursday, January-12-11
“Waning of affect” – Frederic Jameson – a loss of true feeling; the
decline of our unique subjectivity as we are ‘told’ how and what to feel.
oe.g. When we cry or laugh at a movie, they are often provoked
by cinematic cues, not legitimate feelings.
Postmodern Condition
Related to the style, and perhaps, in part, a result of these styles.
Part of this condition is a loss of certainty – a need to find narratives
that ‘make sense’ for us, as well as our questions about identity.
These have both positive and negative sides.
Academically, it is tied to questions about certainties – opening up
questions about difference that may erode previous stability.
oSome people might perceive movie life as real life – e.g. women
are supposed to be depicted as such, whereas others may argue
that they are objectified and depicted negatively.
Negative: it can cause the effects of living without certainties.
Becomes hard to tell the real from the copy.
An instability that’s created around our identity and subjectivity.
Donnie Darko (Richard Kelly, USA, 2001).
oMain character seeks meaning in a world where science and
religion are questioned, and where even something as ‘stable’ as
time has been made uncertain.
Donnie Darko
**Clip from Donnie Darko**
Audience made unstable: only cues are the images of the 1980s, which
themselves are blatant copies.
Using familiar archetypes and stereotypes, the film seems to
give us a sense of meaning and understanding.
Donnie Darko’s depiction of the 80’s is a false 80s, therefore we
have nothing to cling to.
Postmodern Condition
You're Reading a Preview

Unlock to view full version