SOC 202 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Do The Right Thing, Dominant Culture, Socalled

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21 Jul 2016
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Jan 22nd
The Roots of Pop Culture
-Popular culture is meant to entertain
-It provides something enjoyable, or pleasurable, that holds our attention
-film, television, social media, pornography, fashion, music, etc…
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The Roots of Popular Culture
-For pop culture to entertain us, we seek out or allow ourselves to be immersed in a leisure
experience
-In this instance, the experience is primarily pleasurable, one of enjoyment, entertainment,
fantasy and indulgence
-Such a leisure experience is free of the everyday pressures of life
-An escape from the mundane and an immersion within the pleasurable or
What is Leisure?
-There have been numerous attempts to define “leisure”
-Most associate it with freedom, fun, choice and life-satisfaction but it can also be more
complex. For example, class or economic issues influence our popular culture experience. Can
we afford to …?
-Like utopia, leisure is then a place on the map of the social experience that can seduce and
eludes us
-Leisure then includes social conditions such as access, class and acceptability
Pleasure of Consumption
-The desire for consumer consumption (such as consuming(such as consuming popular culture)
is a desire for pleasure
-The pop culture we consume provides us with the pleasure we seek
-Consumption is “means to an end” and it is self-gratifying
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-Romantic comedy: safe, sanitized, magical
Reality television: satisfies our desire to gaze, critique, be a voyeur
What is Culture?
-A system of shared beliefs, values, customs and behaviours we uuse to negotiate the world
around us
-Often these elements are passed down generationally
Ray Williams:
a. A particular way of a life or a group or “people” (sociological perspective)
b. And/or artistic critical work producing meaning (cultural studies perspective)
Socialization
-The process where we learn cultural characteristics that come to define us
-This permits us to be connected in social relationships, enables us to make sense of the world
Four Characteristics of Culture
1. It is learned
2. 2. It is rooted in symbols: physical vocal and gestural signs that have arbitrary, socially
learned meaning
3. It is shared
4. It is integrated within itself: that is, 1,2 and 3 must present for a culture t be whole
Types of Culture
Low Culture
-references popular culture
-low or pop culture traditionally considered binary to high culture
-A line in the sand is drawn: “This is good, this is bad”
-Produced via the culture industry: sameness, easiness, predictability
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-Ex: graffiti, popular music, “radio songs” or romantic comedies
High culture
-historically seen as good, valuable
-is recognized as congruent with civilized living, enlightenment, intellect, critical thought
-Traditionally speaking, opera, classical music or jazz
-Literature such as TS Eliot, Shakespeare, James Joyce
-Artifacts we consider “works of art”
Basquiat (4/12) movielcips
Low>High
Basquiat (1994) AGO (2015)
Ideology
-A group of ideas made normal and natural by the dominant class
Dominant culture: those in power, for example, the mainstream Hollywood, capitalism,
nationalism, the wealthy and the powerful
-Karl Marx: ideology becomes natural enough to the point of invisibility, a manipulation
conducted by dominant culture
Hegemony
-Draws connections between culture, power and ideology
-Hegemony employs a system of coercion and consent in order to create a passivity in the
people
-We then become complicit, participatory within dominant culture and dominant ideology
-The ideology is often made to “seem normal or rational”
-It can shape through politics, gender, race, globalization etc…
Structural Functionalism
What does it mean?
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