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Pop Culture Exam Review

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Ryerson University
SOC 202
Sean Springer

EXAM REVIEW FOR POP CULTURE SECTION 5 - ADVERTISING AND CONSUMPTION American Psycho (movie) Themes: - Status/Class – condo, clothes, watch - Power – makes a lot of money, good job - Gender – traditional masculine thoughts - Identity Construction - Masculinity/Femininity - Satire/Parody - Class “Appearances” Development of Consumer culture in the 20’s - Onset of mass production - Invention of consumer culture - Prior to industrial revolution which resulted in consumer... - Objects were valued according to use prior to mass production - As machines were used objects were seen as commodities - With consent of mass production there was an increase of goods (production) - Fordism and the industrial revolution - Refers to Henry Ford and the assembly line - More and more cars were produced, more workers, more consumers, more ads - Shift of the worth of particular objects - With assembly line made more cars; the cost came down, as the production cost came down - “cultural managers create markets” middle class, the costs began to come down Stages of Advertising 1. Product Oriented Approach - functional, literal use (20s) th - Early 20 century - Advertisement was geared towards product of use - Rational straight forward - Made sense, appealed to common sense 2. Product Symbol Approach - consumer psychology of the consumer/ social desire for a particular object (40s) - 20 -50 century - Shift take place away from the product, towards the consumer - Work to resonate with consumers - Desire with things, status, glamour, excluded - Went from functionality to desire 3. Personalization Approach – consumer analysis, questionnaire, focus groups (50s-80s) - 50’s and 60’s - Saw knowledge about the consumer come to be a paramount - No longer good enough to have a product - Psychological profiles being to develop of consumers - Nuclear family, domestics - Middle class, women, homemakers, house wives - Ads suggest domestic cleaning products 4. Market Segmentation - began in the 80s, specialty networks - New consumer - Largely witnessed on news - Specialty channels- youth- MTV, muchmusic, ESPN, TSN - TV ads, addressing specific audiences, segment of the market, youth - COOL- targeted to be “cool”- “Merchants of Cool” - Early adapter- refer to social influences - Subculture participating in something off the radar- has marketability - Small and specialized segments of groups of consumers 5. Symbolic/Brands - agenda: “life worth living” - Branding - Offers ideals and a world worth living - More conservative perspective - Works in a way- rather than creating and reproducing the social world work to produce a world all the time - If a brand is successful at creating a world it will be stable - Consumer monogamy- people who are loyal to brands - Brand will create a world that reflects a life worth living - Reflect a social - Commodity fetishism- ones dedication to a brand, buying into the symbolic meaning - Myth- Rolon Barthes - The need to use myth is obvious, aren’t valuable enough as themselves to create this monogamy or attachment - Reason why we are dedicated - Evoke a desire in us where in our consumption of the product proves us with stability and work Consumer/Culture tries to sell us:  1. Status – middle class  2. Glamour – materialism  3. Happiness – nuclear family, harmonious Thorstein Veblen - Taste- associated with power, reflective of their social power - Taste- a sight of power in which social agency is produced and maintained - Those who can afford is included have good taste those who don’t have one excluded do not have that same power - consumer culture related to power - conspicuous (on display) consumption 1. desire to demonstrates our good taste 2. allows us to demonstrate our power - a sight at which social power is produced, displayed and maintained Notes from Textbook chapters 4 & 5  Production of steel, cars is considered “real” economy and production of films and television shows has been a marginal economic practice  More financially successful a product may be the less artistically successful it must be  Inverse relationship between economic success and artistic or aesthetic value  Horkheimer and Adorno object strongly to a myth of progress in the world  See people’s lives as restricted more than ever  Humans faith in progress has created an inescapable system of instrumental rationality that limits what we understand and experience to a considerable degree and a domination of nature that threatens the continued existence of the world  Historical progress would be seen as exceptions to the rule  Culture industry play a part in perpetuating the domination of human beings and nature under the guise of increasing their freedom  Culture industry make it difficult to see the social limits of a life that appears to be filled with endless degree of consumer choice  For H and A these choices and pleasures are false ones and the function of amusement is little more than the prolongation of work Three Points about the Production of Pop Culture 1. Standardization and audience reaction - Pseudo-individualization- false identity - Experience of a sense of individuality and selfhood that doesn’t match up to the experiential depths 2. Popular culture is to maintain the status quo 3. Oppositional art and culture - Pop culture distracts us from seeing reality - Example made with the Walkman- culture shaped by economics Evolution of Hollywood 1. Early cinema (1895-1920) 2. Studio system (1920-1960)- economic and corporate integration 3. So called Hollywood Renaissance (1965- 1975)- counterculture and social movements 4. Blockbuster Era 5. The Digital Era - Consumerism- name of the dominant values and practices arising from and providing fuel for, life in a consumer society - Henry Ford- most important products of the factory line was the consumers who were produced out of the wages that he paid his workers - Created not only the kind of people that could afford to purchase automobiles but also the kind of people that increasingly understood their lives in reference to possibilities of consumption - Richard Robbins- development of department stores, sales assistants, pampering - First World War- Subliminal messages - Barthes mythology- actual objects being sold are not valuable enough in and of themselves to persuade us that we actually need them so they need to be associated with something deeper more intangible, in order to evoke our desire- Raymond Williams - Ohmnann- mass culture is voluntary experiences produced by a relatively small number of specialists for everyone to share in similar or identical form, mass culture shapes habitual common needs or interest made for profit- voluntary- entertainment - Agency: acting as self conscious, wilful social agents or actors and to exert their will through involvement I social practices, relationships and decision making - Structures of consumption both enable individual consumption and provide restrictions on it on a continuously shifting way - Our likes and dislikes in possessions forms subtle distinctions - Thorstein Veblen- distinction through consumption- conspicuous consumption - “Wasted” consumption was the result of an increase in incomes and consumption - Consumption that was beyond those that serve human life or human well being - Differences in the very rich, poor, and middle class rested on the creation of the category of taste - Pierre Bourdieu – research on taste- experiment with asking individuals about their likes and dislikes on music, pictures etc- found that individual choices corresponded to their socioeconomic group to which they belonged- used to reinforce class divisions - Flaneur- actively looking or being watched ________________________________Popping Culture Chapter 3, 17______________________ Fashion, Advertising, and the Consumer Society - Advertising attempts to produce consumer needs for commodities which will allegedly solve a wide range of our personal problems and will provide a large number of gratifications - Tells us new commodities will make us happier, more popular, and more successful - Fashion provides the constant cycle of new products, styles, and images which keep consumer demand at a high level - Ads tells us to be “with it” and up to date we must be fashionable and buy and exhibit all the latest products and fashions - Ads and fashion promote a view of the world complete with an ethics, politics, gender-role models and sense of appropriate and inappropriate daily social behaviour - Ads are primarily persuasive- Marlboro cigarette ads, Virginia Slims- no information provided- manipulate consumers- to purchase products by channelling, steering and directing behaviour into certain gender and role models and by offering commodities as magical solutions to every conceivable problem - Stuart Ewens- Captains of Consciousness- ads in the 1920s US - Individuals resistance to new products had to be broken down and individuals had to be convinced that it was “good” to consume, to spend money to gratify their desires - Advertising had to convince individuals on the contrary that consumption was a route to happiness and satisfaction - Fears that unless individuals bought products to combat bad breath, odour, oily or tangly hair they would not be socially accepted - New products offered solutions to fears - Develop a different aspect of “their” personality, developed by using the right products - After WWII- new styles of fashion, cars, products etc - Fashion combine individuality and conformity th - Consumerism and Americanism was produced by mass images beginning the 19 century when newspapers began advertising - Began with big department stores - 1950s- present- Age of Consumption - Consumerism – as a way of life - Fashion tells us that products, styles and trend are always changing and we need to keep up with them to stay popular - Ads offer commodity solutions to all problems and present consumption as the route to happiness - Ads not only sell products but also tries to sell consumerism as a way of life, the capitalist way of life - Provides role models, showing us to be proper man or women and sells specific values such as romance and sexuality as crucial of fundamental importance- sex and romance to sell specific products - Sells institutions like the family and capitalist values like individuality, gratification through consumption and the joys of ownership- consumerist ideology - We should become rational consumers and see that advertising on television is probably overpriced since astronomical ads expenses have been factored into the price - Learn to resist the machinations of fashion, choosing our clothes and products because they fulfill our own wants and please us, rather than merely because they fit into the latest cycle of fashion - Learn to read and decipher ads, learning to see through the hype and puffery so as to be able to analyze and criticize its manipulative techniques _____________________________________________________________________________________ SECTION 6 - Social Construction of Race Social Construction of Race - Comes to be a representation in popular culture - Stereotypes, have real consequences - Regardless of the accuracy of a particular race, what is important is with the construction of a stereotype there is a belief - The way in which that construction affects the group - Breaking down stereotypes can act as a form of social change - Distinguish between ethnicity and race- use interchangeably - Ethnicity : defined as a broad social category - Addresses one membership within a particular and larger group - Include shared characteristics such as homeland, cultural heritage, politics, religion, language, myths, customs, literature, food, architecture - Seen in a more traditional or older- example : my big fat Greek wedding, sopranos, jersey shore - Race: defined as a constructed category, used to distinguish amongst various groups of people based largely on physical and biological characteristics - Neutral descriptive tool, problematic when ones race is understood to reflect certain social behavioural traits = when we assign what socialization to their race and ones understanding of socialization Racism 1. Violence: one is subjected to violent assaults because of their race ex. KKK o Hate crimes 2. Institutional racism (discrimination) : unequal previsions or opportunity with regards to healthcare, housing, work, education o Discrimination o Advantages are given to one group over another and explained with common sense o Educational institutes some are better than others depending on different areas 3. Common sense : strongly linked to pop culture and social world o Defined as the expression of common sense attitudes towards particular groups o Irrelevant if the stereotype/attitude is either positive or negative it remains a form of common sense racism o Irrelevant if the assumption is wrong, what is important is the connection that Is drawn o Common sense racism is mild, accepted when in comedy Youth Culture - Functionalist Perspective (safe): - popular - mainstream - dominant - Conflict Theory Perspective: - “cool” (set a trend, take a risk) - early adopters Herbert Spencer - Ill conceived racial thesis 1. Orientalism- Edward Said- is referred to the way in which the East is conceived of by the West o Refers to the way western culture conceives the eastern culture o Binary one group is called an other through fetishistic ways o Western world will appropriate traditional cultural clothing of the east, will change it and claim it as their own, have no meaning to the west, do not acknowledge the cultural meaning to it 2. Colonialism- defined as the policy of a nation which extends it power over another, political, economic and cultural power ex. Britain 3. Diaspora- dispersal or scattering of a people by choice or by force and often those motives are blurred, from their homeland to diverse geographical regions ____________________________Notes from Textbook - Chapter 7_____________________________ - Example through The O.C- Ryan - Example : Amaar being a terrorist because he said suicide, bomb and Allah- stereotypes - Identity politics just makes visible the lines of exclusion and belonging - Sameness and difference - Ex-nomination: failure to acknowledge the distinguishing sign or particularly of that identity - At times of crisis, practices of racist stereotyping become more widespread, with boundaries between “us” and “them” expressed in the form of binary opposition - I AM CANADIAN- belonging to a particular nation - Stereotypical Canadian - Orientalism : describe a dominant form of colonial discourse in which mythologized East becomes a site for the projection of Western fantasies of otherness as well as a mechanism for Western domination of actual non-Western cultures - Consists of a repertoire of images and ideas that produce “the Orient” as an object of Western knowledge and control ___________________________Popping Culture- Chapter 15____________________________ - On Seeing and Not Seeing Race- Susan Searls Giroux and Henry A, Giroux - Crash- renders racism visible, only to banish it once again to invisibility by erasing its deeply structural and inst
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