COMM 2P20 Study Guide - Final Guide: Postmodern Feminism, High Culture, Popular Culture Studies

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Published on 12 Mar 2014
Course
Professor
Pop Culture Exam Review
Section A: Key Terms. Select FIVE (5) from a list. Five marks each. (25 Marks)
Section B: Key Theorists. Select FIVE from a list. Four marks each. (20 Marks)
Section C: Key Texts. Select Five from a list. Three Marks Each. TOTAL= 15 Marks
Section D: Two Essay Questions on particular theories and/or methods in popular culture. (Each
Essay worth 20 marks) (last year exam)
The EXAM
Friday dec 6th, 12-3pm
Place in WCDVIS
- worth 25%
- covers all material (weeks 1-12)
- material from lecture (including clips), reading, lab screenings
Format and Structure
3 parts:
part 1- identifications (short answers)
Parts 2 and 3 – essays
Part 1: identifications (50 marks total)
- answer 5 questions from section a (25 marks)
- answer 5 questions from section b (25 marks)
Section A:
- choose 5 out of 10 terms and concepts
- each answer is worth 5 marks
- point form is acceptable
- may be a term, phrase, or concept
- identify and explain the significance
Answering identification questions
1) provide a precise definition
2) clearly explain its significance
3) reference specific author/theorist
4) relate to an example from lab screening that illustrates
Section B:
- choose 5 out of 10 theorists (names)
- describe the theoretical perspective associated with the theorist
- explain his/her contribution to theories of popular culture
- point forms golden too
Parts II and III – essay questions
- part ii: essay: 1 essay worth 25 marks
- 4 choices, answer 1 question
Part IIIL essay: 1 essay worth 25 marks
- 3 choices, answer 1 question
- ask you to bring together concepts from lecture and the reading and apply in an analysis of an example
from lab screening
Answering essay questions
Your essay should demonstrate:
- knowledge and understanding of the material
- ability to apply concepts in an analysis of examples screened in lab.
Helpful tips
Screenings and Readings
- avoid being general or vague in discussion of screening
- make reference to specific scenes, characters, motifs, themes techniques, etc..
Complete Answer:
1) each part of the question is answered fully
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2) includes material from lecture, references to relevant arguments from the reading, discussion/analysis of
screening.
How many pages/length of my essay?
Long as it takes you to answer the question.. typical teacher answer
Section A: Key terms. Select 5 from a list. 5 marks each.
Help: commodification, culturalism, cultural capital, distinction, moral panic, historical amnesia,
polysemy, reflexivity, simulacra, youth subculture
Applying any of these to the labs would also be helpful!
Aesthetics (lec.11), ch. 10
Postmodern Aesthetic(s)
- Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy, especially the philosophy of art, concerned with the nature
and value of art and the criteria by which it should be evaluated
- briefly, it means “What is beautiful”
Postmodernism
- A cultural or artistic aesthetic emphasizing
- playfulness
- pastiche (“empty” irritation, according to Jameson)
- parody (humorous imitation)
- recycling
- sampling
- genre-bended and genre-crossing (but with “the roots showing”)—the mash-up as
musical example
-and the breaking down of traditional cultural boundaries or categories
- between high and low culture
- western and non-western cultures
- past and present, etc.
- Aesthetic distance- is in effect the denial of function: it insists on the ‘how’ and not the ‘what’. It
is analogous to the difference between judging a meal because it was economically priced and
filling, and ludging a meal good on the basis of how it was served, where it was served.
- the ‘pure’ aesthetic of cultured gaze emerges with the emergence of the cultural field, and
becomes institutionalized in the art museum. Once inside the museum art loses all prior functions
(except that of being art) and becomes pure form:
- for example, an advertisement for soup displayed in an art gallery becomes an example
of the aesthetic, whereas the same advertisement in a magazine is an example of commerce
Popular aesthetic- populism is related to pop aesthetic according to Ang. In which the moral
categories of middle-class taste are replaced by an emphasis on contingency, on pluralism, and
above all, on please (ch. 7)
Base & Superstructure
- for Marx, culture is part of the “superstructure” of society (complex of institutions that exists
above some kind of base…a bridge..a ship. Whatevers put on top of the base is the
superstructure)
- superstructure, and hence culture, is powerfully influenced by the ‘base’—the forces and
relations of production (the economic system and the class structure)
- superstructure (including culture) both expresses and legitimized the base—i.e., culture,
including pop culture, largely determined by capitalist mode of production (see next slide)…
people often consume entertainment produced by others
Base and Superstructure- TRIANGLE
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Superstructure (politics, ideology, law, religion, culture) àon top of triangle
Base (Relations of Production (class structure), Forces of Production (economic system)àbottom
of tri.
*** as the sides of the triangle come together, the culture, law , etc. are more constrained.
Binary Oppositions
Binary opposites—if signs often possess no intrinsic meaning, they are sometimes defined by
what they are not
- for example, the binary opposites “urban” and “rural” may be associated with the following
connotation: artificial vs. natural/ polluted vs. clean/ over-crowded vs. empty, isolated/ exciting
vs. boring/ commercial vs. non-commercial/ unfriendly vs. friendly/ dangerous vs. safe
- try the same game with Canadian vs. America, using your
Tania Modleski- feminism and the mass culture debate
- prof of English
- argues that the mass society theorists’ critiques of pop cultures are based on a set of gendered
binary oppositions:
- high culture (art) vs. Mass Culture (pop culture)
- high culture is seen as masculine whereas mass culture is seen as feminine
- highculture is mostly produced by med whereas mass culture tends to be more accessible to
women
- order is more seen in high culture
- high culture and masculinity is associated with production whereas mass culture and femininity
is associated with consumption
- high culture is associated with work and mass culture is associated with leisure
- high culture is associated with intellect and mass culture with emotion
- high culture is about the activity and mass culture with passivity
- high culture is writing (the active process of production of high culture) and mass is reading
Commodification
Commodification: transformation of use value into exchange value, something that is bought and
sold
- ex. Agricultural products have been made into a series of commodities, people grew
their own, now we buy the vast majority by someone who produced it for sale
Conscious, preconscious, unconscious (lec. 6)
- Sigmund Freud
- those basic human instincts revealed by Freud’s conception of three levels of the mind and his
deconstruction of the elements of the psyche
- conscious, preconscious, subconscious
Three levels- like an iceburg
Conscious level: thoughts and perceptions
Preconscious level: memories, stored knowledge(things we know about just from living in a
shared society, we often don’t know that we know it)
Subconscious level: violent motives, fears, unacceptable sexual desires, irrational wishes,
immoral urges, selfish needs, shameful experiences
Cultural capital
Cultural imperialism (lec. 10)
¨ Comes from the Latin term imperium, meaning to command.
¨ The way that one country exercises power over another, whether through settlement,
sovereignty, or indirect mechanisms of control.
¨ The domination of one culture over a subordinated culture
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Document Summary

Section d: two essay questions on particular theories and/or methods in popular culture. (each. Material from lecture (including clips), reading, lab screenings. Answer 5 questions from section a (25 marks) Answer 5 questions from section b (25 marks) Choose 5 out of 10 terms and concepts. May be a term, phrase, or concept. Answering identification questions: provide a precise definition, clearly explain its significance, reference specific author/theorist, relate to an example from lab screening that illustrates. Choose 5 out of 10 theorists (names) Describe the theoretical perspective associated with the theorist. Explain his/her contribution to theories of popular culture. Part ii: essay: 1 essay worth 25 marks. Part iiil essay: 1 essay worth 25 marks. Ask you to bring together concepts from lecture and the reading and apply in an analysis of an example from lab screening. Ability to apply concepts in an analysis of examples screened in lab. Avoid being general or vague in discussion of screening.

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