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Lecture 2

Week 2 Lecture Guide

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SOC 202
Nicole Neverson

Week 2 General Themes What is popular culture? Culture 1) Capital “C” culture Traditions; what isn’t accessible to the masses/people of lower class • • ex: attending a theatre (because its expensive), golf (equipment is expensive, memberships to private golf courses, time), art galleries/museums • Capital “C” culture assumes that culture is based on the past 2) way of life • everyday activities, events and practices • what they do/the meanings they attach to the activities they do • ex: drinking coffee, going to a bar, texting (dependancy on cellphones), social media(facebook/twitter), what we choose to wear, mode of transportation • ex. of both Winterlicious & Summerlicious. (high end restaurants lowering prices to allow a wider range of people to come in) Mass media as a corrupting force • has been traditionally thought of something that taints authentic culture • mass media serves mass audiences just to make money... for advertisers and marketers. Pure culture isn’t really about making money Popular 1) quantity - numbers of people/ratings/size of the audience/the amount of tickets sold. ex: If a lot of people watched a movie, it must have something great about it, Forbes magazine (which celebrities made the most money for their companies) *how did you decide which celebrities were popular? 2) of the people - what is popular comes from the “grassroots”. “you and i”. we decide what is popular. its dynamic. Something that comes from the people/ movements. ex: idol no more, the occupy movement (“we are the 99%”), environmental things such as people getting together to clean a park 1 Three main components of popular culture (What is popular culture?) 1) consumption and production • the things we buy, eat, listen to, touch and their production • Consumption: Whatever our sense are exposed to/or come in contact with 2) folk culture (identifiable) and mass culture (unidentifiable) • FOLK CULTURE: the traditional culture that is passed down from generation to generation. ex: things that we learn from our parents (family recipes, sewing). It is very targeted, it is passed to an identifiable audience. (passing down a recipe that isn’t written) • MASS CULTURE: for the largest masses. 3) power • we think of it as people who have accumulated wealth • it could be thought of asACCESS. we have power too. ex: studying at a university is also power. We have the opportunity to learn things that people who could not have access to this have; education. • The cellphones we own, the amount of technology we have, the cost of data plan/cable. It is powerful because they allow you to get access in ways other’s cannot. • Status; where you are on the social ladder. What kind of story our life tells (where you are on the education ladder) 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) • let’s think about the products we consume. where did they come from? how did they get there? • political economy: How things were produced for consumption • ex: when you upgrade your cellphone, what will you do with the old one if you don’t give it to someone else? 1 Ownership and control: a) within the mass media • patterns of media ownership and control. • ex: Disney owns more than just their parks. They own television stations and other smaller companies. Rogers; owns the Skydome, Blue Jays, Wireless Internet, Phone Company, Cellphone, Home security system, telecommunications (cable), movie rentals, education (the ted rogers building) • think about the implications/consequences of one company owning all these things/having all this dominance • they have the power to choose the prices • When rogers internet is down, there’s a huge rant. People feel disconnected, need to go on a device and tweet b) beyond the mass media • theatre’s (in toronto owned by Ed Mirvish) • one person pretty much gets to decide everything that is shown. what does that mean? • there are small theatres but they don’t necessarily get a lot of attention. they don’t have the resources for everything such as 3D and best sound • Cineplex ownsAMC and Famous Players. One company decides everything that is going to be played. • Student Union fighting to shut down parts of Gould Street. We have some ownership and control in that. We can do whatever we want.. festivals/free food. Public Space (condo’s being built on the skyline. how many more?) • Popular Culture: General Themes Marxist roots  cultural relations are the product of social, economic, and class relations • social, economic, and class relations create cultural relations • everything more or less feeds into one • whatever the relations in the social/economic, those will tell the story about what the cultural relations will be like as well 1 • profit making (accumulation of wealth) they are responsible for what content we will see. • ex: Rogers get to decide what the products are, they get to decide what’s played on the radio, what we see on TV. We have to consume them. • *the decision making process about the things we consume. How did they get to our shelves? Who decided what the ipod will look like? Who decides how much it will cost? ... compatibility issues.. printer isn’t compatible with new windows 8. (will they force everyone to get a new system!?) • how wealth and income influence econ
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