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Lecture 1 - Introduction

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Linda Mc Nenly

The Cool Culture Soul Machine: The Anthropology of Everyday Life Lecture 1 – May 6, 2013 Introduction Anthropological Approaches Culture Theory - Anthropology of media, - Refers to the work done of cultural anthropology of art; visual studies. For example work by Hall anthropology and Fiske that focuses on disperse theories Some Questions to think about: - How do we make sense of popular culture? How do we create meaning? What are the social purposes of popular culture? o To communicate ideas of our societies, of ourselves, what we think of our world - What ideas about society and culture are communicated, and how? (Ideas, ideologies, social norms, identities) o Is it just the mirror of society? Does it play a role in shaping society? Of other people? Our experiences? - Production? Reception: power of media // agency of consumers’ or audience o What is the power of relationships? o Someone is producing and shaping these attitudes that we have - What is Culture Theory? What does “Anthropological Approaches” Mean? What is Popular Culture? What is Culture? - They are both historically and contextually situated o When we think of popular culture, culture depends on context (for example as a student, consumer) and changes through time (ie. from the 1950s is different from how it is now) - Can and is constructed and negotiated by society What is Culture? - Culture with “C” or (Kulture) Anthropological idea of culture: - A people’s way of life; included all spheres of life, which are interconnected (holistic approach) o For example social, economic, political etc. o Holistic approach – understanding aspects of life and how they all connect - “Learned and shared ways of thinking and behaving” o Our ideas, the way we behave is a learned and shared within a society - Culture is… o Material o Behaviour, thoughts, and meanings  symbols  Meaning of the symbols vary o Learned (not nature) and shared o Interact and change o It is not a homogenous entity, it changes through time (there are internal and external influences that affect the way of culture itself ‘ o Are always changing Cultural Studies Approach to Culture: - Adds: experiences of postmodern capitalist society, dominated by mass media The Cool Culture Soul Machine: The Anthropology of Everyday Life Lecture 1 – May 6, 2013 - Culture is “… the social production and reproduction of sense, meaning and consciousness. The sphere of meaning which unifies the spheres of production (economics) and social relations (politics).” (O’Brien 2010:5) What is Popular Culture? - Can be commercial, enjoyed by man people, common prevalent, well liked my many o It is everyway, presented through the media - PC as “folk culture” (is of the people) o Ie. Representations at local festivals, tales, songs, craft sales - PC as “mass media” (prevalent) o Produced of the people for a mass audience o Television, films, music o While it can be seen and consumed everywhere, it doesn’t mean that everyone can experience it the same way - PC as consumption (measures popularity) o The ratings of a CD being sold, how successful a fashion statement became (ie. skinny jeans) - PC in
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