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Ryerson University
SOC 202
Nicole Neverson

SOC202-POP CULTURE- Monday. January 21.2013  Week 2 – General Themes – Chpt.1 What is POPULAR CULTURE?  It is hard to pin down as it is always changing shape, location, and tasks/function  Consist of products, texts and traditional, common practices, beliefs & ways of life  Informed by both commercial & high culture perspectives; the tension btwn. The two are fundamental to pop culture  Depends on what resources you have; relationship of power  CULTURE~ traditions passed down from generation 1) Capital “C” culture - What isn’t accessible to mass audience or ppl. of a lower class(income/wealth) - Based on the distant past; traditions that have been followed for generations - Cant be represented by what we do in the present - Based on what we usually think of as high end creative production - Elite grp. ; small in # Examples: ~ Attending Opera / going to theater  B/c it’s expensive  Going to watch Shakespeare in Strafford ~ Golfing o B/c equipment is expensive o Membership at private facility o Who can take day off to go? –time needed –ppl. w/ financial will can ~ Attending art gallery / museum  See exhibit at local museum instead of going to Europe; Paris  CULTURE~ traditions passed down from generation 2) Way of Life ~ Everyday events, practices, rituals; what ppl do everyday Examples: o Drinking coffee –Starbucks / Tim Horton’s / Second cup / Timothy’s o Smart phones – dependency of cell phone – texting o Social media –FB, twitter, o Getting dressed –what to wear? o Way of transportation – car/ttc/GO transit Combination of Capital “C” culture & Way of Life -> Winterliciouse & Summerliciuose : High-end restaurants in Toronto, drop price $ on their “fine” cuisine for more ppl. To try the food -Those cant afford or think; now feel that its open to me now b/c price are more manageable -Everyday life –eating on daily basis -Capital “C” culture – fine dining  Mass media as a corrupting force -These 2 ways (capital “C” Culture & way of life) didn’t include mass media MASS MEDIA~ “include any medium designed to communicate messages to a mass audience” -Takes away authentic culture -Serve mass audience -Goal is to make $$$; selling through advertising -Corrupting force b/c pure culture is not about making money but tradition “It taints” away true promise/spirit of culture  POPULAR 1) QUANTITY -Size, #’s, ratings, -Box office= how much $ the top movie made -Popular is considered of quality (how many views & $ earned) -Quantity can destroy what popular is actually based on Measure of the value for $ -# of tickets sold at movies; large # of ppl. -Valuable if a lot of ppl go to see b/c a lot of ppl watch; therefore pop -Markets and ppl decide -Marketing & the reach to audience help to decide what is “popular” EXAMPLE: o Forbes mag. A list f top celeb in Hollywood; based on movie in and how much $ they paid for role -2009/2010; Shia labeouf -Transformer series; Indiana jones -2011; Kristen Stewart -Twilight -2012;natilie Portman -Black swan >To think about what is the pop. ? >How do we know these ppl? >Where do we access their lives/bio? EXAMPLE: –Ratings on pop programs on Cdn. TV. -Top 10 Shows  Most on CTV; have programs and making most $  Start time: during ‘prime time” 8-11 pm  A lot on Tuesday  Genres; ppl. Like to watch drama  Origin; the USA * By looking at quantity decide what ppl “want” 2) OF THE PPL. -Assumes what is popular comes from the grass roots; ppl. Define what it is i.e. avg. audience members or citizen, community clean up days, Ryerson clubs  Comes from you and I; or grass roots  Culture is dynamic; always changing EXAMPLES: o Ideal no more -First nations of CDA. -Want inequality, political problems faced by the aboriginal ppl -Injustice faced by these minorities as well as marginalize to other minorities applies as well o Occupy movement -“We are the 99%” famous quote -Made by the ppl. For the ppl. - Bring up issue about financial inequality faced o Clean up in community -Ppl decide to make change in social/cultural lives Three main components of popular culture -Consumption and production / folk culture & mass culture /Power 1) Consumption and production Consumption: -Things that we buy, eat, listen to -Our sense comes into play -Things we consume Production: -Thing we make / produce How they are produced, accessed, resources used 2) Folk culture (identifiable) and mass culture (unidentifiable) Folk: traditions practice-from gen-to –gen, that have an “identifiable” audience -i.e. learn from parents / relatives – family recipes , sewing, Mass culture: prod. for largest possible audience aka the “unidentifiable” audience -Unidentifiable audience b/c a lot -Targeted grps.; teens, adults  Folk has traditional values …mass tends to associate trends w/economic value 3) Power -Allow you to access info. In diff. way then compared to ppl. that cant -Status -$ -Based on rel. of power -Think about $ / what ppl. own -Can be thought of access” Examples:  University education ~Capital “C” culture ~Elite form ~Ability to access is seen as POWER  Owning a smartphones ~Cost of data plan / cost of cell phone bills ~Not everyone has / can afford  Internet access ~Cost ~Not everyone has Political Economy and Cultural Studies “…the study of the social relations, particularly the power relations, that mutually constitute the production, distribution, and consumption of resources” (Mosco, 1996, p. 25) Pop culture dfn. -Economics and social things -Political economy and cultural studies Lets think of prod. & Services we consume, and how they made to the store i.e. think about clothing you wear Political economy -Not just ownership but story w. ownership, distribution and consumption Ownership and control: a) Within the mass media -How media structure is produced -Shapes the type of products and content -Audience often thinks we make our own choices but choices are often influenced by pop culture We are interested in types of media ownership and control Examples: o Disney –own parks, film company, TV. Station and other companies that feed into Disney brand o Rogers –owns sky dome, blue jays, communication co. –inet, telephone, TV, movie rental, cell phones, ted rogers building ~Own sports team, edu, telecomm. ~Implication of 1 co. owning all this other stuff
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