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McGill University
English (Arts)
ENGL 275
Brian Lewis

Introduction to Cultural Studies ENGL 275 9/3/2013 7:23:00 AM September 3, 2013 Professor Derek Nystrom [email protected] Office Hours Tuesday 1:30-3:30pm, Room 301, 3475 Peel TA Casey McCormick [email protected] TA Sunita Nigam [email protected] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- High Culture – shakespear, works of art, etc Low Cultural – radio, 15 mins of fame, little aesthetic merit  high culture was once low culture in its day  novels in the 18th century were considered trashy ladies novels  the audiences of who is using something can be more telling/important than what it is  high/low distinction drawn based on gender lines  also based on skin color or working class o how does the high low distinction link to hierarchies in culture Popular Culture changes our bodily processes  ex. crying watching a sad TV show or racing heart in a horror movie CRITICS: Pop culture not worth studying because its such mass media. Should be called mass culture instead of popular culture. Contrast mass culture with folk cultures. A mass art form is going to be disconnected from the people by definition. Is imposed by a corporation and is manipulative by nature (propaganda). Formulaic nature of mass culture (romance novels have a formula). Popular culture should be of the people by the people. Mass culture shouldn‘t be called popular culture because it doesn‘t come from the people. Why do some formulas work and some not?  formulas address, meet and fulfill the needs of the people. through this process, we learn a lot about the peoples needs and wants. therefore they are not as impersonal as they seem The study of popular culture is not just want is on screen, but instead it is the reaction of the people to what they are seeing.  ex. Kirk and Spock porn  anthropology and textual analysis on our own culture ―To do cultural studies you have to study culture as a way of life‖ CRITIC: In advanced democracies power is gained via consent not coercion. How do we go along with something that doesn‘t benefit us personally. Pop Culture gets people to consent the way that things are in their given society. Pop culture manufactures consent.  Rich complicated map of how people live their relation to social power. September 5, 2013 Readings:  Karl Marx “From A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy” and Excerpts from “The German Ideology”  Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, excerpts from The Communist Manifesto Why do we study thinkers like Marx and Freud when we know now that they were wrong? Because they were highly influential in the works of thinkers later on. Marx‘s Theory of History  the history of class struggle is the engine of history because the forces of economic production have been what triggers the chances in epoch of history  when he says class struggle, he means more as a category of work (what is the slot you occupy at work; do you own the stuff you work on/with or are you told what to do)  history is the continual dialect of opposing class struggles Material Forces of Production (industry, farming etc) + Relations of Production (where you are within the social working class) = the Mode of Production (The ―Real Foundation‖) Everything besides the Mode of Production is the Superstructure (government) For technology to continue to develops, the relations of production (slots you take up in the workplace) have to change. Ex. Machinery making of things that used to be made by hand. This leads to a complete change of the superstructure, which is built upon the mode of production. Stage of Development of the Material Forces of Production (agricultural, industrial etc) which determines… The Relations of Production (lord-serf, bourgeoisies-proletariat) which determines… Legal and Political Superstructure (property relations, systems of government, religious, aesthetic or philosophical elements of ideological forms) People see nature differently when they don‘t work in it everyday. In this respect, art can be very telling as to what conditions people are working in at the time. If you paint a tree, its probably because your not a lumberjack. The Rise of the Novel th  began at the start of the 18 century with the rise of capitalism  pre-novelistic writing describes landscape as symbolism (ex. the ditch as being bad due to sin)  pre-novelistic, characters are very one dimensional  during the emergence of capitalism, the land starts to have value (ex. he has plantations and a slave to help improve his productivity)  everything can be made productive to generate market values  move from describing the land to just listing the facts of the land  post-novelistic characters are much more 3 dimensional Irony is a way of doing something but maintaining a distance from it. This enables you to continue doing your job. So we live in a world of cruelly detached irony. Think about your small part of the job, not the full job itself. Marx and Engels believed that the material world above all influences our thoughts, which then leads to our actions. Ideology Definition #1: false consciousness (just keeps re-enforcing the ruling class)  Puts blinders on the people who are being screwed over so that they don‘t go forward and try to overthrow those in power  Marx thinks ideology is this false consciousness Marx problem with the novel is that they focus on individual personalities, not on the economic and social issues which he believes are at the route of every personal conflict. Ideology Definition #2: terrain of struggle  terrain on which people become aware of the world, which allows them to see the conflicts  the environment determines which species exist – the environment sets limits on which species exist _____________________________________________________________ September 10, 2013 Usually when we hear of the word ―ideology‖ we think of them describing some political program ex. he spoke of the communist ideology. When Marx used ideology, he refers to ideas and representations of the world. Ideology = culture; the ways society is formed.  culture/ideology is formed by our economic world  the way we organize the economic life determines everything else Ideology as ―False Consciousness‖  ideology functions to blind people, hence ensuring the continuing existence of that society. misleading beliefs that cover reality and serve the upper class **Ideology as culture: a way of knowing and understanding the world **Ideology is the way where men become aware of their problems, and fight it out. It is how we find new ways of seeing and understanding their world. Ideology as ―Terrain of Struggle‖  where people can become aware of the problems in their world  different social groups have different ways of viewing their world, which conflict with one another leading to struggle **the engine of history is class struggle William Wordsworth Poem 1807 ―The world is too much with us‖  a lamenting response to the economic expansion of capitalism and industrialism  the ruling ideas are not the ideas of the working class (poet is saying that the ideas of the economic structure are wrong and negative)  love of nature in romantic poetry is a kind of protest again the economic order of the day  Marxist thinking is still valid because the negative view on capitalism is still a world view influenced by capitalism (economic structure is still at the base of their thinking)  repetition of the world ―we‖ and ―us‖ in the first 8 lines, the final 6 lines switch to ―I‖ and me‖. the start of the poem poses the problem, and the last 6 provide the authors individual opinion or commentary.  at the end, the author wishes to go back to the past. there is no escape to the future (backwards thinking because his throught and mentality is entirely formed by the past) Psychoanalysis is used to interpret things, what is repressed is now being shown. Repression and the Creation of the Unconscious  the return of the repressed: Freudian slips Repression:  to repress doing something. our civilization is based on repression and we couldn‘t get along without it. more than just repressing the desire to do something, but actually repressing our knowledge of the desire itself (subconscious). we have desires/feelings that we cant even admit to ourselves.  ―as a homogenous personality, we will not admit to ourselves certain things‖ all our desires and wishes and personalities line up with one another and are not conflicting. freud says this is impossible, and we will have desires or wishes that go against who we think we are. o ex. you don‘t want to be the kind of person that doesn‘t love their parents (its hard to have conflicting emotions at once so you repress one)  not only do you repress the action, Freud says you have to repress the thought itself, which is where we get the idea of the unconscious  Freud believes that the repressed always returns in some displaced form… Freudian Slips:  somebody means to say one thing, but instead says something that sounds similar but is different. and that different something articulates something not socially acceptable and that the person was repressing  expresses an emotion or belief you didn‘t know you had Unconscious:  shakes to our core the idea of who we are and our control over ourselves (shakes you to the core)  think of the unconscious as the unthinkable  we don‘t want to believe there is a zone of repressed material that contradicts our sense of who we are and what we believe Dreams are a context where the repressed feelings can be expressed. It‘s the repressed feelings in disguise. Steps in a Dream: 1) Latent Content (repressed thoughts and desires) 2) Dream Work 3) Manifest Content (the stuff that appears in a dream) the work of dream interpretation seeks to undo the dream work (reverse the steps to find out what the latent content was. 3 techniques for this are condensation, displacement and secondary revision: Condensation  ―latent elements which have something in common… combined and fused into a single unity in the manifest dream‖  that person looks like my cousin, but sounds like my mom, and dresses like my dog etc.  allows the dream to represent many things at once  ex. the dead father and the sore tooth have become the same thing in the dream. this condensation allows the man to express his repressed desire for his father to die quickly Displacement:  ― a latent element is replaced… by something more remote… an allusion‖ or ―the physical accent is shifted from an important element on to another which is unimportant‖  sometimes somebody else in the dream will be living/expressing your desires or you will be expressing your desires/emotions on an object that is typical and unimportant to you.  ex. traveler having a dream about a stranger going through customs to hide the fact from Freud that he is having an affair Secondary Revision:  ―to make something whole and more or less coherent out of the first products of the dream-work‖  when your going through the dream, it makes sense at the time. but in the morning when you try to explain it, it makes no sense.  Freud says this is a way of disguising the repressed content which gives you a new order of intelligibility.  plotting a trail of false clues to keep what is repressed, repressed. An example of dream interpretation: tony soprano‘s dream of the ducks  doctor goes past the false clues (the penis falling off and the mechanic)  tony is displacing his fear of losing his family onto his fear of losing the ducks. it‘s a fear he cant even imagine..  the family of ducks can be seen as an example of condensation (the family in his pool and the family inside his home)  looking at ones naval is a self-involved action. he is scared of losing his family due to his actions of running a mob ______________________________________________________ September 12, 2013 in dreams we come into contact with desires and wishes that we didn‘t even know we had, then we watch those desires and wishes play out  similar to a movie (Hollywood as a dream maker)  movies similar to dreams: in a darkened room, unmoving, watching a fantasy play out  Gangster films give you a way to control others, work around the system and be in charge of the world (treat others in an instrumental way): taboo desires but desires none the less The Oedipal complex  every culture has an incest taboo o takes different shapes in different cultures o scientifically, two cousins getting married is about as likely for genetic mutations as any two random parents, but culture still forbids it o ex. Brady Bunch – tension over the fact that Fred could have sex with Marsha (not genetically linked, but they are in the family so the incest taboo is culturally constructed)  how we relate to our parents in the oedipal complex forms how the child thinks in later life o reliant on a basic, male female centric family sphere  the child takes the mother as his first love object, starting with the experience of breast feeding (love object), however when the child tries to take the mother as the love object, he notices that the mother belongs to the father (the paternal ―no‖; the law of the father). the father sets the ground rules for what is acceptable and what is not. this causes the male child to resent the father and wish that he was dead/gone. but the male child also feels guilt over the desire to get rid of the father. all this goes on before the child hits age 6, then gets forgotten (resides in the unconscious) o very complex set of feelings in early life is shaping o male centered narrative o child both tries to enact a oedipal narrative, and also tries to go against it (rebellion and submission to the father)  The Jazz Singer (1927) o thinly veiled seduction scene o paternal no is so loud that it stops the sound of the film o he came back because he wanted to reconcile with his dad, but even as he wants to reconcile, he also rebels in that he continues being a jazz singer  Freud says this is how one becomes a man as a baby, you are willing to take pleasure in any way you can, polymorphous pleasure; you haven‘t learned that there are kinds of pleasure you cant have  ex. suckling baby Id – unconscious desires Ego – conscious self Superego – internalized voice of authority (especially paternal) our superego is not just what we learned from our father, but also what we have learned from our other social authorities in life  our relationship to authority is frequently modeled after our relationship with our father  the voice of authority is one you often hate, but you feel that you are guilty for hating it  voice you hear in your head while your defying it  succumb to authority because we want to please them (also explains why we rebel) o ex. out of control cop The West Wing (1999)  liberal, wish fulfillment tv show  bill Clinton-ish scandal minus the sex scandal  even the liberal fantasy of the ideal leader has a paternalistic feel  presidents anger was at the fact that his family was threatened  treats his staff like a bunch of kids, goofing off when dad is gone  enters the room when they get the first commandment wrong (and also misses the ―mother‖ part of ―honor thy mother and father‖)  speaks via the voice of the father; says what they must do, and what they are prohibited to do Introduction to Barthes and structuralism  linguistics and cultural signs – and their arbitrary meanings  analyze the language of mass culture via the language of semiology o challenge the ―naturalness‖ of meaning attributed to objects in our popular culture  draws on structuralism, Freud and marx Saussure‘s Linguistic Model  a word gets its meaning by how it correlated to the world o a word is a sign that has two components: the signifier and the signified  signifier – acoustic image (the word you say, or how you write it down on paper T-R-E-E)  signified – concept (the actual tree)  ex. ―tree‖ the acoustic image of a tree is the signifier, the signified is the concept/idea of ―tree‖  the connection is arbitrary (there is no relation between what it looks like and the word that is made to form it) Reading Hints ―Myth Today‖:  myth as a semiological system  the form and the concept  the signification  reading and deciphering myth  myth as depoliticized speech ______________________________________________________ September 17, 2013 Saussure‘s Linguistic Model  the sign has a signifier (the weird sound tree) and a signified (that green leafy thing outside) The Linguistic Sign  it is arbitrary (no relationship between signifier and signified)  its meaning is constituted relationally o differences that make a difference (we see trees as trees because we see them as different from bushes, vines etc) o things have meaning not because they have some quality, but rather because they are different from something else. o meaning derives from difference within a system, not correspondence to the word  it constructs a world as much as it describes one -our understanding of sound is constituted relationally in that sounds only have meaning in relation to other sounds -the meaning of a given idea only makes sense in relation to other ideas, not in a correspondence to the world  we have an idea of the world tree because we have categories of bushes and other plant type things  in different language differences, some differences don‘t make a difference. ex. in the Bask language, there is no word for tree, but there are words for specific kinds of trees.  ex. in the inuit language, there are 12 different words for snow (but for us that difference didn‘t make a difference) -if you have a different language system, your way of carving up the world is also different -it makes sense that every culture will have its own set of signifiers (language) but sasseur also believes that every culture will have its own set of signified. Bathes Cultural Model:  mythological signification = form (cultural signifier) concept (myth as signified) -barthes though that we have invited our own set of myths about how the everyday objects in our lives signify meaning. but we forget that these meanings haven‘t fallen from heaven or naturally grown on the object; they have been imposed on them by humans  trying to pry the natural meaning away from the object to make us understand why we feel the need to label things and think of them in meaningful ways. signification: mythological understanding of French impartiality  form/signifier: photo of black soldier giving French salute  concept/signified: frenchness and militariness o the fact that its on the cover of a magazine (its context) is important and contributes to its meaning o also important context is the period it comes in (French colonies saw their colonies being overthrown and de- colonized) -for the signifier to be reflective of its context (as it must) the information and that complicated history surrounding the signifier must be left in parenthesis. allows the image to speak to a complex part of French colonialism. Key Points: -the connection feels automatic (signifier and signified) -the connection is not natural (it doesn‘t necessarily have to be that signifier) September 19, 2013 – MISSED CLASS – ______________________________________________________ September 23, 2013 Foucault and structuralism  enlightenment discourse and sexual identity  the invention of the homosexual (and the heterosexual)  the disappearance of the masturbator  social identity and popular culture Foucault on how power works, contra Freud  the Victorian era as Freud‘s contect  the ―repressive hypothesis‖  the explosion of discourse about sex  power that says ―yes‖  popular culture and focauldian power -Foucault is talking about a chunk of a language system that is addressed to a particular part of the world that it tries to describe and discover. It used a certain set of words and questions and practices to know the object of its inquiry. ex. Medical Discourse or Legal Discourse  the scientific, rational enlightenment meant an explosion in these kinds of discourses  not the same world, different terms. instead these new terms, signifiers etc end up creating the world as much as they describe it  we think of ourselves today as having a sexual identity (homosexual/heterosexual etc) Sexuality  the idea of personal sexuality is a modern idea that was made up in large part due to the discourses of the enlightenment -Pre-enlightenment discourses described sexuality as ―acts‖ (ex. two bodily parts touching etc)  very vague and circular arguments  ―acts‖ were things that more or less anybody could be involved in  in ancient Greece young boys engaged in homosexual behavior as part of their education  the idea that people have a core sexual identity didn‘t exist before ―when we invent discourses to describe a world, we create that world‖ ―the sodomite had been a temporary abomination, the homosexual was a species‖  heterosexual didn‘t exist until after homosexual (was an afterthought) Signifier: Sodomy  (Pre-Enlightenment) Signified: forbidden act  (Enlightenment/Scientific Discourse) Signified: homosexual identity Signifier: Masturbation  (Pre-Enlightenment) Signified: ―masturbator‖ was your identity  (Enlightenment/Scientific Discourse) Signified: an act people do How Foucault thinks about Power: -if somebody is ―Victorian‖ about their sexuality, it is to say they are very proper and confined etc (lets just not talk about sex and then it wont disrupt our lives)  idea that now we are better because we are able to talk about our sexuality and understand it  Freud told us that if we repress our sexuality, it just will come out in other ways therefore we should speak it, discuss it and deal with it  the problem with a repressive society is that it makes people neurotic Foucaults ―Repressive Hypothesis‖  we live under a regime of unnecessary repression. if we speak our minds we will be much happier and less neurotic  disciplines of criminology, law, biology, psychology etc developed entire vocabularies of talking about sexuality  the Victorian period wouldn‘t shut up about sex and always talked about it through the lens of scientific though, but Foucault believed this wasn‘t a time of sexual liberation o he argues that this is an extension of tentacles of power into intimate parts of your life o when it was just an act, they didn‘t bring in doctors and psychiatrists to investigate your life -capitalist belief that sex needed to be regulated for the greater good of all  make sex useful (reproduction)  how to manipulate sex so that the state and the economy get the population that they desire  tentacles of power go even deeper into our being Power that says ―Yes‖  disagrees with the belief that there are powers in our life that say no and keep you from doing things  instead he thinks power is in a labcoat that enables you to give them as much information as possible  suspicious of the arguments that the path to liberation comes from speaking the truth of our desires o giving too much information to those in power o ―what power really wants is docile and useful bodies‖  popular culture tells us to explore our desires and forms of rebellion o join facebook and tell us everything about yourself, that information is very useful o how to rebel against a system that uses your rebellions as a way of grouping you into a target market? ______________________________________________________ September 26, 2013 Mass Culture as agent of false consciousness  the need to see through mass culture  culture under capitalism as an ideologically unified system  how mass culture serves the ruling class  the repetitive meanings of mass culture  capitalist values as linchpin of entire ideological system Mass culture as industry  mass production generates standardized culture  ―amusement under late capitalism is the prolongation of work‖  how the form (not just the content) of mass culture shapes and influences its audience  the base determines the superstructure Adorno and Horkheimer‘s historical context  the role of mass communications in the rise of the third reich o mass culture creates unthinking masses  the Frankfurt school in the shadow of Hollywood Marx‘s First Definition of Ideology  ideology functions to create false consciousness  under capitalism, ideology works to blind people to their own oppression, and makes them go along with the current order of things ―Adorno and Horkheimer Glasses‖  metaphor of wanting us to see through mass culture  if you just pay attention to the surface detail, you miss the major point/command  not only do you see the underlying ideological message, but you realize there aren‘t that many messages  not saying that nobody can resist mass culture o avant guarde is an example of resistance  messages are clearly in service of those in power o the ruling ideas of any culture are those of the ruling class  money (capitalism) is the lynchpin of the entire ideological system of mass culture Pseudo-Individuality in Art  the first person is original, but after that its just filling in a template  ex. miley cyrus ―Bootylicious‖ vs. ―Smells Like Teen Spirit‖  two videos seem to be occupying totally different cultural spheres  songs share the same pop song format (mashup) o betrays a radio enforced (corporate enforced) formula Formulas  Hollywood films always have a good 3 act structure and an emotional exclamation mark every 10 minutes  regularity and repetition you would find on an assembly line  pay attention to form not filler Adorno and Horkheimer  went to the same school in Frankfurt -more and more references to naziism and fascism  struck by how the mass media played a roll in hitlers rise to power  radio puts you in the position of a passive observer of an address from other o makes you more susceptible to totalitarian idea o get used to the ideas of being talked at and not being able to talk back o radio turns all participators into listeners Fascism was born with mass communication  destroys individuality  mass culture gets you used to feeling like you‘re apart of an undifferentiated mass ______________________________________________________ October 1, 2013 Outline: Adorno and Horkheimer  celebration of modernist avant-garde  other mass culture critics not on the syllabus  mass culture implants false consciousness through its actual form (repetitive, similar formulas train us to become accustomed to the patterns of labor)  all values get collapsed into the values of the marketplace  were writing out of the experience of the rise of fascism and Nazism (great leaders voice is everywhere) The dialect between modernism and mass culture  madame bovary (the character) as dupe of mass culture ;madame bovary (the novel) as modernist achievement How modernism‘s champions depict mass culture as women  modernism‘s brave, visionary artist vs. mass culture‘s manipulative consumer product  modernism‘s active male reader/viewer v. mass culture‘s passive female reader/viewer Stephen King‘s Misery and male artistic castration anxiety The persistence of the ―mass culture as woman‖ paradigm  the gendering of television‘s new golden age Hoyssen  modern culture was a self-conscious re-working of what was real  trying out new aesthetic strategies (avant guarde) Adoro and Hopheimer  believe that the avant guarde high modernist movement resists the movements of industrial capitalism The New York Intellectuals  circulated a paper  had originally assigned with the communist party, then later went to a more obscure form of Marxism, then broke with it all together  they reject the politics of adorno and hopheimer but their critique of mass culture sounds similar  mass culture best understood as a manufactured commodity  critique of mass culture was derived from and dependant on their love of avante guarde o Hoyssen said it went in the opposite direction Madame Bovery  depiction of somebody so involved in mass culture that she cant tell the difference between a book and reality  Hoyssen believed that madame bovery the character is the dupe of mass culture, but the book stands as a great work of European modernism o show how modernism is born out of a reaction against mass culture  lack of critical distance  the book is teaching you how to read more critically Women and Mass Culture  modernism to be praised is often thought to be masculine  women as silly and foolish, and just accept what they are told  the critique of mass culture is derived from a kind of attempted defense of masculine autonomy  delusional passive character of the female  distorts our understanding of how mass culture actually works  if you get trapped in the world of mass culture, you will be come unmanned  mass culture is masculine, those who like it are female ______________________________________________________ October 3, 2013 -missed- ______________________________________________________ October 8, 2013 -lol newp- ______________________________________________________ October 10, 2013 The consequences of thinking of culture as a whole way of life  reconsidering ideology Gramsci‘s political and intellectual context  the inevitable revolution that didn‘t happen Culture as an active, productive force in social, political and economic struggle  the crucial role of civil society and its cultural institutions Gramsci‘s conception of hegemony as the ―wining and shaping of consent‖  the formulation of particular interests as unibersal interests  hegemony as a ―moving equilibrium‖ Popular culture and the re-establishment of hegemony: The cast of Rambo  re-legitimizing US foreign policy  the re-articulation of cultural signifiers and political beliefs -William‘s says we cannot just look at the movies, TV shows etc of a culture and say that is the way people think. Says we have to look at culture as a full way of life.  Marx - top down, superstructure ideology would make the TV shows and movies (false consciousness)  Williams – the meaning individuals get from an individual text is informed as much by their daily experience as what information is coded in that given film  culture as more than false consciousness from the top down  where the dominant ideas can be resisted – culture  the dominant ideals of a culture must be renewed, challenged, defended etc  need a definition of culture more like marx‘s second definition of ideology Gramsci  the prison notebooks  high ranking member in the Italian communist party  died in prison, sent there by Mussolini  conditions in the prison were appalling  period after WW1 seemed like the moment to the Marxist, the great proletarian movements are going to sweep the globe (Russia, Germany, italy) o ruling powers were in disarray, workers were striking o looked like history was unfolding in the way marx has predicted  look at the role of culture and ideology in the role of social change  ―it may be ruled out that immediate economic crises of themselves produce fundamental historical events; they can simply create a terrain more favorable to dissemination of certain modes of thought, and certain ways of posing and resolving questions involving the entire subsequent development of national life‖ o still roughly using marx superstructure model  must convince your people that this change is worth doing (culture)  it worked in Russia, because the Russian state was everything. but in the west, the civil society stood independent from the state ―Hegemony refers to a situation in which a provisional alliance of certain social groups can exert total social authority over other subordinate groups, not simply by coercion or by the direct imposition of ruling ideas, but by winning and shaping consent so that the power of the dominant classes appears both legitimate and natural‖  bourgeoisie convinced a lot of groups that their best interest lay in supporting the bourgeoisie revolution  establishing hegemony doesn‘t happen once, it has to constantly be revised and maintained  in order to keep being in charge, the ruling class or groups need to keep reformulating their interests as the interests of everyone Popular culture is one of the placed where hegemony is both established and continually battled with Rambo  telling a lie about how things worked out in Vietnam in the past  clever hegemonic work – signifies people that we need a more interventionist foreign policy  Murdock represents official government US power (drinks coke, wears a tie, embraces technology) shown to be corrupt  Rambo embraces nature and dislikes technology  his anger is as much towards the technology as the evil government guy  long hair and red bandana represents anti-war, but not that is the pro-war person  re-working of cultural stereotypes  after Watergate and the Vietnam war, people distrusted the government and technology  only way to rise to political power is to say that you are against the government as well  sign of a successful hegemony is that the person opposing you is talking in the same language ______________________________________________________ September 15, 2013 Outline:  Althusser and the question of capitalist reproduction  Ideological state apparatuses (ISA) o how ISA‘s do the work of the state o how ISA‘s differ from the Repressive State Apparatus (RSA) o how you are in an ISA right now o ISA‘s as a site of social and political struggle  Interpellation o how ideology ―hails‖ us, ―recognizes‖ us o how we recognize ourselves in ideology, and become ―subjects‖ of it  Popular culture and interpellation o 24 and the pro-torture subject position o how texts produce social identities through interpellation o there is no getting ―outside‖ ideology  Ideology as ―an imaginary relationship to real relations‖ -not just ―how do things work today‖ but ―how do we set up the conditions for this to continue working tomorrow‖ -we do this through the schools, churches, popular mass media etc (same as gramasci)  ―things that maintain peoples affiliation to their social order‖  known as the Ideological state apparatuses  do the work of the state Repressive State Apparattus (RSA)  singlar  military, police  will oppress you through force  most advanced capitalist democracies don‘t rely on the brute force of these RSA  relations of power are right there in front of your face (power being exorcised) ―The winning and shaping of consent‖ achieved by the ISA‘s not the RSA‘s -why does he claim things like churches are state apparatuses?  these institutions are doing the work of the state without being controlled by it  the role of the state is continue the way things are in the future  state acts in the collective interests of the upper class, by making the lower classes feel acceptance for their state  make sure the conditions of capitalist production are maintained and reproduced Educational state apparatus (school) is the most effective and powerful tool at making sure people are prepared to maintain the ideology for the coming generations  ―The school is a neutral environment purged of ideology. where teachers, respectful of the ‗conscience‘ and ‗freedom‘ of the children who are entrusted to them.. open up for them the path to the freedom, morality and responsibility of adults by their own example, by knowledge, literature and their ‗liberating‘ virtues‖  deadlines = prep for the workplace  clear writing = communications jobs  gets us used to a structure of power Sees the ISA as the sight of class struggle  argues that the superstructure is the sight of class struggle  deciding how to reproduce the next generation of social structures What kind of people are we generating for the next generation of social order?  what is their relation to power  ex. people not reading Shakespeare (not the proper respect)  debates over what happen in the ISA are actually about the bigger debates about reproduction of ideology Top down structures can meet bottom up resistance  ex. changing curriculum Interpolation  to question imperatively as a minister as an explanation of his conduct, generally in a political setting  ―ideology acts of functions in such a way that it recruits subjects among the individuals, or transforms the individuals into subjects by that very precise operation which I have called interpellation or hailing, which can be imagined along the lines of the most commonplace everyday police hailing ―Hey, you there!‖ o you start thinking about yourself like a cop would  ideology calls out to us, and it recognizes us (in this moment of being seen, we see ourselves as that person sees us)  being asked to explain yourself  over your life its one interpolation after another, so your whole idea of yourself is just based on how others view you o we become subjects of ideology How pop culture works as a ISA  24  the show lets us know who the bad guy is and that he has the crucial information  we obey due process because we don‘t know who is guilty, which is why we treat suspects with a certain conduct  the show puts us in a subject position where we view torture as acceptable and just because we know they have the info  ―ticking time bomb scenario‖  constantly being reminded that time is of the essence  makes the viewer more comfortable with the ideas of extra judicial forms of interrogation and torture (counter argument saying that everyone has a tiny authoritarian in them) ______________________________________________________ October 29, 2013 Outline: -Few more words on Hebdige and subculture stye  style as an imaginary resolution to real contradictions but imaginary does not mean false conciousness Idea that cultural identifications were no longer formed based on class, and were now based on generational affiliation. Hebdige argues against this, saying that even that is still class based (but not iron clad) The Mod, ―Mod Style‖  working class kids  affiliated with signifiers of middle class affluence  the use of middle class ideas from the working class youth, represented different things  not about what signifiers they used, but how they used them (how they fit into their way of life)  not just a rebellion against parents, but a reaction to a parent class culture o culture in which being raised as somebody within the working class, there are various ways to you relate to certain life o British cultural studies idea that the working class was changing  we don‘t just look at what commodities are being choosen, but how they are being used (how they generate meaning in peoples lives)  hebdige wanted to look at style as a way of working through contradictions in peoples material life  alludes to altusare – not to lie about the world, but to give you a fantasized relationship about how the world works o being hailed by a middle class culture and by a working class family culture o sub cultural identity responds to certain hailings and rejects others  upper class style with working class insolence o im being hailed by two ways of living that I cant make work together ―Imaginary Resolution‖ to real contradictions  whats up with that style and what contradiction is it speaking to  what lived dilemma is it encoding and trying to find resolution to  imaginary does not mean false consciousness o rejects the idea that ideology has always worked to pull one over on us Standard Marxist view to the Mod  this is an example of how commodity fetishism acts as ideology  instead of identifying with their real class position, they are being duped into a style of affluence that they cant afford  vespa and Italian suit as magical objects that will give life meaning that they cant really get  bought into the mythology that goes with the object Birmingham‘s School‘s Response  why isn‘t everybody living the same subculture? o rockers and skinheads actively resisting the life of middle class affluence o rockers identify as reclaiming a working class masculinity o femininity of the Mods o use signifiers to reclaim a working class identity, even if that working class was eroding during that time o ex. doc martins – characature of the worker  if this is just a product of brainwashing then why do all these people in the same class position come up with such different ways of living their class identity  ideology must be a more active realm than just passive reflections of ruling ideals o active seazing of cultural signifiers and tying them with more meaning  ideological state apparatuses are relatively autonomous o need to reproduce the conditions for capitalism o still able to have independent thought and conflict  challenged the enevitable‘ness of gender and class roles ―these ‗humble objects‘ can be magically re-approriated; ‗stolen‘ by subordinate groups, and made to carry ‗secret‘ meanings: meanings which express, in code, a form of resistance to the order which guarentees their continued subordination. style in subculture is then pregnant with signification. it transforms ‗go against nature‘ interrupting the process of ‗normalization‘.‖  by creating new significations for mythological objects passed down (vespa scooter) the whole naturalness of the world is passed down  naturalness undermined by subculture  we don‘t have to take the world as we find it Semiotic Geurilla Warfare  first step in a political rebellion  the meaning of the world is not given, it is made, and it can be re- made People vs. a Powerblock  anyone can given objects meaning, but you need to convince others to accept your meaning Taste  can be understood as what is the proper way to use a commodity, what are the right commodities to get  taste as something we cant account for  boudeau says we can account for taste o look at the education and social origin o education and social origin are linked to your class origin  taste is not a natural endowment  cultural preference is a gift from nature  one of the nasty beliefs about taste is that, who you know who belongs in certain classes, is indicated by their taste o good taste – high class o bad taste – low class  cultural capital is your ability to navigate the sphere of culture and know what are the right things to choose and what are the right ways to use them o result of your social and educational origin o wealthy people spend their lives being taught o learning how to talk about things so that you can appreciate things of high culture  ―taste classifies, and it classifies the classified‖ o this movie is good or bad o this person has good taste because they think this movie is good  taste acts as a product and sign of class, but also as a classifer of class  class privilege lets us use trashy signifiers in a fashionable way without associating them with that low class o shabby chic as a choice o detachment of the pure gaze o life of ease creates active distance from necessity ______________________________________________________ October 31, 2013 Cultural studies came over the ocean from the Birmingham school in the 80‘s Wilson‘s account on Bordeau‘s ―Taste‖  taste is a learned set of preferences and behaviors  deployment of taste grants us social status  how you interact with certain objects, signals your alliance with certain social groups and differentiates you with others  taste cultures maps onto class  taste reflects and reproduces class hierarchy  Bordieux argues that taste maps due to how much money you have (mode of production) o Williams argues that cultural capital was not actually in line with economic capital o the charts are no longer as clear and telling  the role of the university is teaching the people what kinds of taste to have, so they have the most cultural capital John Fiske  audience based analysis, not textual analysis, is the only thing that allows us to understand how pop culture works  pop culture – what audiences do with their culture  the last person you should ask about pop culture is a academically trained professional o they are trained to differentiate themselves from the untrained masses  the audience for his book is academic critics who might be curious about pop culture but were wary of studying o tell them that they have been looking at it wrong o new approaches necessary  argues against the position that mass culture is a way of social control. fiske says that it is a position of revolt and discussion  its not that popular culture is filled with signs saying ―rebel‖ but those meanings are created by the viewer  when he uses terms ―popular‖ and ―the people‖ he refers to it in a way that is just constructed by the people in opposition to the powers  people interact with tv characters and book characters as if they are real people – interpreting it into their own life o extending the characters past the story – popular productivity  official vs. popular discrimination  esthetics vs. relevance o esthetic quality – why does something belong to official culture , among the best of what has been thought and said o to analyze a text esthetically, you have to abstract it from your real life and look at just the text itself  for a text to be popular, it has to be relevant to somebodies way of life o how are you asked to respond to the text  bougeois – only look at whats in the text  popular – fit it into your life  even these forms of textual analysis are insufficient o some value in roadmap textual analysis (possible meanings) nd o 2 idea that texts are acting upon us in various unconcoious procedures, so no analysis will reveal that.  textual analysis only works under the assumption that the average reader is really paying attention to the text, and would pick up the unconscious stuff o fiske argues that the current public is pretty disrespectful and doesn‘t actually pay attention to their whole novel, just the parts that they like ______________________________________________________ November 12, 2013 Outline: ―Slash‖ fiction fans/writers as exemplary interpretive community The psychoanalytic concept of fantasy  on the use of psychoanalysis in audience studies  in fantasy, the staging of desire – not achieving the ―object‖ of desire – is what generates pleasure  the multiple, simultaneous points of identification in fantasy  kirk/spock (or K/S) stories as fantasy scenarios Why the Star Trek Universe? Why Kirk and Spock? Why two men?  science fiction as alternative world for trying out different possibilities  kirk and spock‘s reconstructed masculinity  sadomasochism at a safe remove Critic as fan, critic as voyeur How vs. Why  how does the test function  why = ananysis o what social needs or desires are being met by this text or interpretation Both articles share a discourse on the role of the critic in the relationship to the text (Kitniss and Penley)  neither or idea o rejects a critical distance from the text  usually critics talk down on mass culture o rejects the alignment with the mass culture  you are not one with the fans  as a critic who has institutional and class power, its hard to ignore that privilege and pretend your one with the masses. 1990 Conference: Cultural Studies not and In the Future  consolidation of cultural studies in the north American academy  came of Britain in the 1970‘s  taken up in Britain in the 1980‘s  had all these papers that were engaged in how and why we are studying cultural studies  essays talking about other people in the room Slash Fiction  pennleys essay talks about this  fan generated literature in which heterosexual characters from mainstream media is repositioned into homosexual characters  fan fiction has now exploded due to the internet  Kirk and Spock were the first big one  subculture engaged in an aggressive form of textual poaching o extend its narrative space o create meanings out of symbols that are not encoded in that way  not just that people are really into star trek, but people that adapted its meanings Critic of Pennley  doesn‘t explain her methodology that clearly  usually psychoanalysis is used in text based analysis o how the text hails the reader based on a set of unconscious desires o thought that the individual reader is not asserting a lot of agency o fans have control when they change the text, and are not unconsciously driven (as psychoanalysis usually describes)  we can use psychoanalysis about what the fans are doing that the fans themselves might not identify, but that it doesn‘t forclose on a sense of agency on part of the pan o not just passively watching TV o actively writing the story – doesn‘t directly hail from the show  concept of fantasy helps us to explain why people go on to write the stories that they write Psychoanalytic Concept of Fantasy  part of your fantasies involve a story or scenario o ex. Fireman – because you imagine a fantasy in which you are saved by one  Freud‘s account of fantasy o emphasized the fact that daydreaming/fantasizing is all about the scenario o more about the scene of the scenario, than the object of desire  fantasy about the staging of desire  ―fantasy involves, is characterized by, not the achievement of desired objects, but the arranging of, a setting out of, desire; a veritable mis-en-scene of desire.‖  the fantasy is about offering a series of pleasurable experience o one is that almost submissive pleasure of being in a state of loss of control of the scenario, which is then countered by the experience of masterful control and domination of the scenario o derives from the work of Freud o the pleasure of fantasy scenarios comes from standing outside the scene and watching it o frequently the fantasy scenario involves 3 positions  dominant  submissive  the voyeur watching it all unfold  3 points of identification aren‘t taken up sequentially, they are all experienced simultaneously o you feel part of, and implicated in all these sensations at the same time  why we play fantasy scenarios in our head again and again  wanting that circulation of desire to keep going and not end Why the Kirk/Spock stories take the way they do  most of the people writing are not gay men  if this fandom was heterosexual women, why arnt they writing fantasies in which women are involved  if fantasy works as you being the subject of your desire, wouldn‘t you write about you being in the fan fiction o why do men like lesbian porn?  women could have their desires acted out in this de-subjectified form o more freedom because they are not confined to any one subject of the part  kept insisting that kirk and spock are both heterosexual o example of how the writers are victims of their own internalized homophobia – wrong o makes sense because it means that they are still available to the females having the fantasy  in the fantasy one can be kirk or spock and still have either or both of them as sexual objects because they are heterosexual and not unavailable to them  why is it these two specific characters? why startrek? o speaks to the social needs and desires of the audience why startrek?  science fiction is a genre in which alternative modes of experience and alternative world are imagined that might comment on or critique our worls  science fictions take two forms: o on a different world slightly different from ours but not totally, and the differences help us see our world differently o we are on our own world that is invaded, and starts to change us, which helps us comment on our own world  the social and political rules of the star trek universe comment on the viewers utopia  women had a deep love for the universe itself but also felt that something was missing from it o writing about the universe was a way of inserting their own desires to fill in the gaps why kirk and spock?  appealing androgynous characters  not that one is the masculine and one is in the feminine, seen as both  a man who is sensitive and caring without being wimpy, a man who is masculine and strong without being overbearing o reconstruct masculinity o incorporates qualities that are usually banished from the masculine why two men?  not just that it is the opposite of men‘s fantasy about two women getting together  enables the female fantasizer to engage in fantasies about sado masochism in ways that the female body is not involved  50 shades of grey as taking the male dominant female submissive to the extreme  dangers involved as a woman if you assume the dominant position especially if the submissive position was not voluntary  have a stand in for your own body in your fantasies o you are not personally implicated o the things are not actually happening to yourself  stories that involve bdsm take place in mirror universes (unconscious) but they dissapear when they return to the enterprise (conscious) o even alternative universes have alternative universes the social needs and desires spoken too by this universe are about creating an alternative universe, for a new form of masculinity, and for experiencing bdsm relationships with relative safety Studying them as fan not just a critic  despite enjoying the stories, she feels like a voyeur at the startrek conventions  doesn‘t align herself with the fans or the critics  doesn‘t denigrate the critical capacities of the fans  not analyzing the women rather than thinking along with them  learned a great deal with the fans, but also much of her learning comes from recognizing the distance between them o thinks women are doing amazing things that she describes as feminist, but a lot of the writers refused to describe the action as feminist  shows her distance from the fans  she wished the micro political stuff was being translated into the macro political stuff o doesn‘t believe that the women are in false consciousness and that she should come in with her superior feminist knowledge and educate them ______________________________________________________ November 14, 2013 Outline: The Internet and Social Change  new material forces of production o the pitfalls of technological determinism  two hopes for internet culture o remaking the self o creation of a new common culture: participatory culture Machinima as advanced textual poaching  red vs. blue as anti-militaristic parody  anti-―Chinese gold farmer‖ machinima as a non-subversive form of participatory culture  who counts as the ―audience‖ and what does that idea of an ―audience‖ mean in participatory culture Internet and Social Change  constantly changing the way we do everything  Nakamura thinks the internet is a socially transformative form, but that doesn‘t depend on the technology itself, but how it is used  Marxist Role of Social Change o Marx‘s model of the economic base  material forces of production + relations of production = mode of production  the internet as a new force of production (like the shift from agriculture or industrialization)  social change develops when the mode of production changes  Phillip A. Dunderson o ―the grey album‖ the beatles and Jay-z o mashup and file sharing have created a situation where the modes of music production have advanced more than the modes of music relation (copywrite, contracts etc)  there have been some changes in the workplace due to internet, but that doesn‘t lead to a radical move towards changing the modes of relation  Technological Determinism o idea that technology itself will make all these social changes happen o lot of later work in the Marxist tradition that says social change is much more complicated than that. they just change the terrain on which the struggles happen, they don‘t have a pre-determined winner going into it  older forms of power change slightly so they can adapt to, and remain in control in the new forms of power (internet) Idea that the internet is a place where identity can be made from the ground up  construction of a new self due to anonymity  get rid of the forms of inter personal oppression  remove the class structures, race, gender, etc  if race is culturally constructed based on our relations to others, it makes sense that it would follow us online (Nakkumura) Hope for a Creation of a Common Culture  studio film system as an example of how mass culture is controlled in the hands of the few  Digital Divide o divides according to class and race o who has access to technology  internet made possible the transformation and decentralization of the possibilities of media production  Williams was arguing about creating a creative common culture o a culture that stands separate from society but shares a common vocabulary of values o how can mass communicative culture take part in creating this o model of state funded communicative culture where all social groups have equal access  culture making is still typically in the capitalized terrain, but its just easier for people to access it (internet) Machinima  footage from video games in which film makers rearticulate it to create their own narratives  ―red vs blue‖ o halo video game footage o creates a parody of military values (anti-culture)  common critique of military video games is that it desensitizes us to the violence and makes us accept the way of the world  Chinese Gold Farmers o Machinima from world of warcraft is a critique of an audience practice o looks at fan productivity and look at the ways it is generated subversively o the meanings are not in the text itself, they are being projected into the text o discourse of warring groups in the game could enable the warning cultural issues  how nakkumara‘s argument is different from other cultural critics o agrees with Jenkins in that the kind of fan productions being generated do make possible a widening of the set of cultural meanings that are readily available o drawning attention to 2 categories of audience  leisure players  workers  employed by firms to do the gold farming, and are paid real money for  located in different material relations to the text offered by the world of warcraft  not a wholesale dismissal of the audience like we get in earlier cultural studies  saying that the interpretation is much more subjective o aligned with the audience that does not have the freedom of textual poaching  their participation when you‘re a gold farmer is not one of free play, but of work (similar to the regular forms of industrial accounts. change in technology didn‘t change the forms of production)  don‘t have the time or resources to challenge the racist views posed against them by the leisure players  uneven playingfield even in the age of the internet  what counts as the audience? o separation between producer and audience is a classical view o ex. slash fiction, Machinima  seems like a new round of cultural production o Williams – wanted the means of cultural production to be available to more and more people o more and more companies are encouraging you to participate in their video games  free labor  corporation captures and monetizes o if the forced fusion of work and play is what informs some of the hatred of the gold farmer o gold farmer is engaged in activity not all that different from the leisure player o games are repetitive and time consuming by design to keep you playing and keep you paying  when you see the player obviously working, you reflect on the fact that your being used by the corporations ______________________________________________________ November 19, 2013 Outline: -Madonna and cultural studies: made for each other -Voguing and queer subcultural meaning  standard critique: madonna‘s video as exploitation and cooptation of subcultural practice -Voguing‘s ‗original‘ context and meaning in black and latino drag queen balls  gender as performance, not biological fact  voguing‘s implicit critique of ―natural‖ identiry: gender, race and class -Madonna‘s ―Vogue‖  the changed meanings and historical elisions of the video  how the video also functions to transmit queer meanings (however attenuated) to larger audience o bodily memory enacted by the dance itself -Popular culture‘ role as unwitting transmitter of subcultural meanings. Madonna and her relationship to cultural studies 
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