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Culture Lecture PSY427 (1).doc

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University of Toronto St. George
Romin Tafarodi

Media Lecture - March 20th Last Week * people of this age texting constantly - not about the information transmitted - cultural act to solicit a response from another human being saying “yeah, youre Ok, I agree”- not abount gaining info - its about mirroring back your position in an ambiguous world - need corroboration - constantly convincing ourselves were ok * The need to cling to something real no matter how sufficient our simulations of reality are are - the age of simulation has ushered in a hyper-reality but also a frantic produc- tion of the real - simulation works for us on 2 fronts: it produces worlds for us to occupy and live through culturally and provides a marker or trace of what is real - want to see a point that helps us make sense of what the simulation is * Jean Baudrillard Quote - talks about an empire, and the photographers are asked to make a perfect map of the territory - perfect map of the territory is the territory (1 to 1 scale) - this fable is telling us that simulation has its limits - we no longer have map and territory in a real sense - have a map, a virtual abstraction of a teritory - simulation * whats in jeopardy is not the believability of the simulations we are producing - whats in question is its representation of something real - there is a hunger and desire for something real * human nature - can it become the real thing we are looking for? * any sort technological advance brings with it its own distinctive/psychological/social challenges and there are also new opportunities - there are both risks and opportunities in virtual culture * tension and friction online - with pple who are trying to keep technology open and ac- cessible and people who are trying to control the communication This week - Culture * what is culture? * Two people talking on the phone - everything about that situation is cultural * The idea of raising, growing and engineering something deliberately (culture some- thing) - shift to a new view “high” culture, refering to the parts of a society that we are preserving and reproducing - then a gradual shift to culture as the entire way of life as a society - there were whole scale dramatic transformations going on at this time (industri- al revolution), people looked backwards and said “hey, things arent the same anymore” * ancient societies didnt change much - there was no communication between societies - there was no questioning of whether the society was moving in the right production - there was no assessing and questioning until the times of dramatic change - nowculture becomes something thats up for discussion (because we become more reflective be- cause culture is changing so rapidly), there is a new form of reflexivity as a member of society and not just an individual - this is how we got the term culture because we are now looking at ourselves how we are now within our society - this is how we got the term culture * Communtication in the cultural context - what place does communication occupy within a cultural system - differentiate between communication as transmission (func- tional) and its cultural characterization as a ritual - texting constantly is a ritual commu- nication, this communication matters as a form of ritual * Whats a ritual? The violations that can apply to any ritual act are not just in their formal features, its also in the relations of a set of actions in a particular context (how, when these things are done) - rituals always tied to context, place, time and a set of individu- als - what are people doing in most of these stereotypically constrained informal com- munications? theyre creating a world! The world we live in is one of symbols and rela- tions, an intentional world - Ritual funtion of communication is to co-produce that, ac- tors and agents come together to co-produce a world that has a culturally consensual meaning, its presciptive in that sense, the world they produce is not their own solely, nor society’s, it exists somewhere in between, its a variation on a theme - the world they spin will be a web of what ever cultural committments society holds and its going to rein- scribe and reporduce that cultural system - thats how culture stays alive - it reproduces itself everyday - this is how culture reproduces itself from day to day to day - if we want to understand media and what media does in our society, we really have to apply the rit- ual mode, what we do is tie ourselves to eachother through the binds of cultural com- mittment and
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