Week 2 Culturalism: Jan15

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Media, Information and Technoculture
Media, Information and Technoculture 2200F/G
Tim Blackmore

Week Two: Mass Society Critics and Culturalism: Haskins, Arnold, F.R. and Q.D. Leavis, Hoggart and Williams Media, Communication and Culture • In the need to communicate is the need to ‘make common’ • As we communicate, we form our social world, our identities, our communities, our institutions and our culture. • Media and culture are inextricably linked • Different forms of education are at the center of cultural development, how we define what “education” is and should be, changes over time. The Earliest Universities Haskins • One example of how the human drive to communicate, “make common”, to learn becomes institutionalized. 12th century Renaissance: • a move beyond already entrenched forms of knowledge (via the Church: grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry) • informed by movement of peoples, the growth of the learned professions • grew in centers of material trade: “…the meeting point of the chief routes of communication in northern Italy.” (11) A“UNIVERSITAS” OF STUDENTS • ‘Universitas’denotes only “the totality of a group” Haskins 23 • In ITALY: Focused on medicine in Salerno and law in Bologna • Growth of a student class: • sons of nobility or growing merchant class • students leveraged their collective power over a town, - town versus gown conflicts and formed ‘guilds’ Professors at mercy of students • Had to secure a regular audience of five • Couldn’t leave town • Not allowed to skip or change material • Worked on a fee per lecture basis • Professors also formed guilds – requiring admission : ‘license to teach’– earliest degrees NORTHERN EUROPE • Universities formed out of Cathedral schools: original power of curriculum held by the Rector and chancellor • Eventually students turned away from Church teachings, gathered in Paris to hear the teachings of Peter Abelard: • “The brilliant young radical with his persistent questioning and his scant respect for titled authority, drew students in large numbers wherever he taught.” (21) University of Paris 1200 • Student privilege and exemption from regular rule of law established • University developed as a corporation of masters 1231: 4 faculties: arts, canon law, theology and medicine • Established model followed by universities throughout Europe and NorthAmerica UNIVERSITIES: “MADE OF MEN” • Earliest remains of university architecture not before 14th century • Universities not about buildings or administrators – but are “made of men” – an association of students and teachers bound together “in a common life of learning” (34) • The medieval university: “The school of the modern spirit” (36) – spirit of inquiry free from external determinations (Church, political power, industrial interests) • Asite of culture/ cultural production/ communication shaped by, both, material exigencies and spiritual, imaginative yearning Mass Society Critics Responded to the impact of the huge changes of the industrial revolution and the ‘massification’ of culture: the extension the vote, urbanization, mass education, rise of media technologies, rise of the working class and middle class, dwindling of the aristocracy, loss of traditional centers of authority - church and family. Two new definitions of culture: 1. Culture as mass produced and imposed by industry 2. Culture of the working class in response to these changes and to the growing power of the upper classes Mass Society Critics • Feared the mass as destructive, bestial, violent • Believed some people were naturally ‘better’than others • Worried that mass culture would ‘dumb down’society, bring moral disorder and anarchy MatthewArnold • Culture is “the best that has been thought and said in the world” • Culture is the ability to recognize the “best” when you see it. • Culture is the application of moral, spiritual perfection (to ‘get’cultured) • Culture is the drive toward, seeking of, perfection “Sweetness and light” “The highly instructed few and not the scantily instructed many, will ever be the organ to the human race of knowledge and truth. Knowledge and truth in the full sense of the words, are not attainable by the great mass of the human race at all.” MATTHEWARNOLD’S OXFORD “So venerable, so lovely...steeped in sentiment as she lies spreading her gardens to the moonlight and whispering from her towers, the last enchantments of the MiddleAges” (Arnold cited in Haskins p 32-22) “whoever sets to himself to see things as they are will find himself one of a very small circle” ARNOLD:A“REVOLUTION FROMABOVE” • Working class had lost the ‘strong feudal habits of subordination and deference’’– emboldened by the franchise - 1867 • High culture was to be a weapon, along with police and the state, for keeping the unruly majority in their place. • Education in the ways of ‘high culture’will pacify the lower classes and teach them respect for the established social order. • “Education is the road to culture”, would stem tide of anarchy F.R. and Queenie Leavis Continued Arnold’s concern about the massification of culture and the rise of anarchy the forces of the market and the politicizatio
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