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Identity and Popular Culture 2

Popular Culture
Course Code
Scott Henderson

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PCUL1F92 Section 1: Tuesday, January-17-11
The broader cultural narratives (tied to hegemony)
Teen pop culture still relies on these despite its stylistic distinctions.
Teen films (e.g. American Pie) and shows so often resolved via
romance, self-realization, coming of age – and all likely on prom night!
The night youth become ‘adults’.
Where in this is there a space for Agency?
“The capacity each of us has to shape our own life.”
We may think we have agency, and are getting what we want, when
they all write us into the same consumer position.
How much of this is shaped for us? – Idea of an illusion.
What do we make of MTV’s Becoming?
oDoes being yourself mean being someone else?
oHow is that ‘becoming’ achieved?
Postmodern era defined by the struggle for identity and
meaning; might be because of rapid cultural change or popular
culture consumption; economically we may feel powerless –
e.g. losing a job; notion that copy replaces the real; consumer
goods became a vehicle for identity and expression.
Important to look at the structures of popular culture and how they
relate to our notions of identity.
Feminism and Popular Culture
Significant in drawing attention to issues of identity and
oDrew attention to the fact that identity is culturally constructed.
Current developments suggest that gender inequality in popular
culture are part of broader cultural inequalities.
The nature of representations indicates the nature of the system – they
are not the cause of the inequality.
Symbolic Annihilation
Emerged out of an approach that Gaye Tuchman referred to as
“symbolic annihilation of women”.
She suggests that women’s representation in popular culture suffers
from “condemnation”, “trivialization” and “absence”.
Main concern: how women are represented in popular culture, what
representations do and do not exist.
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