Sociology lecture 1
September 14 2012
Popular culture: The culture that we consume on daily day basis, it is acceptable and easy to
Culture is a shared system values, beliefs, behaviours and customs
It allows us to navigate the social world successfully (some success and some failures)
We do not all think alike
When there is a creation of normality there is a creation of expectation
We all have different understanding of the world. Sometimes we feel like we are against what
seems to be “normal”. You might think of yourself as an outcast because you are different.
Offering us a 2 part definition of culture
A particular life of a group of people, “a way of life”
But the world we live in has difference and similarity
Intellectual work “produce meaning”
The word “meaning” is different for everyone
Difference between objectivity and subjectivity
To be objective is to be neutral (have arguments backed up by facts and theories)
To be subjective is to be personal to have an opinion to be bias (judgment based on
individual personal impressions, feelings and opinions rather than external facts)
Williams says we are all prone subjectivity
A TV show, film, newspaper is a text that we “read” with subjectivity they are texts
Being an intellect is constituted by level of education. It is determined by “access” and $
Intellectual has a “class”
Example of intellectual work:
We argue over meaning (best kind of music) and what allows us to do that is socialization
And we do that by learning And that starts with difference and similarity
For some they prefer similarity over difference (puts us on a path of life like others)
(socialized steps that we grow up with that may also be learned and taught)
For others they prefer differences over similarity
5 Different form of culture
FOLK: “primitive” Communality or socially identifiable group that tend to experience the world
with historical content (face to face, less technology)
Binary opposition (yes/no, high/low, good/bad, black/white, accepted/rejected) not in the middle
HIGH: (exclusive and restricted) born out of Western philosophy (the enlightenment era of
philosophy) some things are valuable some are less valuable. It is understood to be good and
valuable to be a part of High culture. For example (traditional academies): university, university,
Galleries, paintings, literature (canon TS Eliot) sculpture, music (opera, classical).
(Grey area in between high and low: read against the grain, reading and comprehending it in a
way that differs from how others understand it)
LOW (popular, inclusive): the culture of the masses, because High culture is costly, you need to
have class and be educated. Academies consist of Pop music, graffiti paintings, Twilights and 50
shades of grey literature.
Polysemy: (something that has multiple meanings) a cultural text is capable of retaining multiple
meanings based on the reading and subjectivity of the reader. Acknowledge the gray area in
between high and low. We read different texts with our own subjectivity and that is determined
by our class, gender, race, culture etc... It’s the way you interpret a text. Jazz started from low to
high culture. Sampling: blurs the boundaries between high and low (jazz is used in hip hop
sometimes maybe not recognizable but it is there (NWA))
**4) Socially identifiable as recognizable groups that employ a shared system of values
beliefs and behaviours
A. Counter culture: it is political, foe EX: KKK: hate crimes based on race, based on
economy, and hate on immigration that come to their country and take their jobs, they think
of them taking their rights. It exists outside the mainstream.
B. Sub culture: outside the mainstream. Non political. For example in high school, Goth
stoners, punks (image base- physical- leather Mohawk and piercing), and EMO. Hippie is an
alternative to the mainstream and dominant, they are anti-authority (in the 60’s) anti-war, pro
choice, pro sexuality, protested against the Vietnam War. It was political it has shifted to a sub culture that is still recognizable but it’s non-political with more emphasis on imaged and
less emphasis on politics.
KEY SOCIOLIZATION PERSPECTIVE
Cultures are organized.
Dominant culture is mainstream mall, Hollywood, NBC, reality (high profit, low cost).
Dominant culture makes itself around Capitalism.
FUNCTIONALISM: society or the social world is stable; it is orderly and is governed by
consensus. –The good of the whole- (he wants this competition)
CONFLICT THEORY: began with Karl Marx (a conflict would say this what we get because of
that’s how life works, class, and the dominant)
He says society isn’t stable at all. Groups of society are engaged in constant battles over
resources. There are successful and less successful people. There are classes (high, middle and
low). Inequality is governed and dictated by ones class, socio economic class.
MAX WEBER: Inequality is a 3 part system
A. Class: Money
B. Status: Social prestige
C. Power: political influence
No need for class in today’s world (for youth)
Youth don’t have class but they might have status and power because there are a lot of them.
They prefer difference over similarities)
(Status) Technology internet, we are able to market ourselves for free because of technology.
We can be “cool” for free. Youth want to be cool.
Power: protest, resistance, demanding. (Arab Spring: Syria, Egypt and Libya) youth lead these
protests, using social networking.
In Culture there are ideas the make us recognize what makes something normal/
abnormal or acceptable/unacceptable
When an idea is normal, natural and made invisible (invisible as common sense –
The idea becomes ideology: a group of ideas made normal natural and understood as
common sense so it goes unquestioned Dominant culture creates ideology
Dominant culture is mainstream (Hollywood, Mall, journalism -NBC, TO Star- popular
music TV, and fashion)
Dominant culture transmits idea to us through the mainstream
Ideology Romance –love- (ideology is MADE normal)
Sometimes Ideology might be question, but it must be protected by Hegemony: the
device the protects ideology and it does so by drawing connection
ideology common sense
Ideology is one of the gender role: Homemaker (female) and breadwinner (male) is
protected by Hegemony
Hegemony works to protect ideology by
Coercion: (not Violent coercion) passive coercion we receive messages and ideas we
learn what it is we are suppose to do (directs us)
(think how these messages arrive and direct you in our society) I AM CANADIAN and
GENDER AS MALE & FEMALE ROLES
How do ideas arrive? To be coercive.
We have a choice (consent) you can be included or excluded (we are subject on sanction)
Ideological gender roles and how hegemony seeks to protect it?
C Write mills
When our sociological imagination is at work we privilege difference over similarity and we
see the 3 inequality Weber talks about.
We can connect the present and the past:
Connect our lives with others:
The personal is the political: why is it that these rights come up during election?
Feminism is equality. It has negative connotations the social associations (defines our
understanding of the term). Females have to protect their rights. The denotation is the literal