1. According to lecture, what are the four main ways sociologists define popular culture?
Popular culture is defined as being well known, well liked, mass cultural, and democratic.
Mass culture means it's average and common, sometimes even inferior, it's not elite.
Democratic means it's by the people and of the people. It's authentic.
2. What kinds of questions to sociologists ask about popular culture? How is it produced
and consumed? How is it read and understood? How does it intersect with other aspects
of cultural, political, and economic life? What are its sociological effects and
3. What is the difference between mass culture and popular culture? Mass culture is the tests
objects, and relations of cultural industries; popular culture is what people make of those
texts, objects, and relations. Mass culture is the noun and pop culture is the
adjective/verb. We are active in the pop culture project, which means the lines are blurred
between producer and consumer. Meaning is given, not simply inherited.
4. According to lecture, what does Paul Willis argue about popular culture and meaning?
Willis argues that just because something is mass produced, it does not devalue it. His
theory is symbolic work, which means the work people do in creating meaning out of the
cultural phenomena. This is necessary because human beings are fundamentally
expressive and communicative creatures. Symbolic creativity is the transformation of raw
materials of culture into specific forms of identity and meaning; these raw materials often
come from mass culture. Willis also argues that there is too much emphasis on
production, not consumption. He says this isn’t true because its society that gives
meaning to things. Meaning is not inherent in a cultural text or object; it’s a negotiation
between the user and the text, leaving consumers to be the site of meaning-making.
Interpretive communities, therefore, are consumers whose common social identities and
cultural backgrounds inform their shared understandings of culture in patterned ways.
5. According to lecture, George Lipsitz argued that Congressional hip-hop hearings
detached rap from the context that gave birth to it. What is this context? In the 1994
Congressional Black Caucus Hearings, opponents of hip-hop argued that it was
misogynistic and violent. However the social context of hip-hop was deindustrialization,
economic restructuring, urban planning, backlash against civil rights advancements, low
wage labor, high unemployment, and crime.
6. What does George Lipsitz argue about the criticisms of hip-hop? He says that debates
about rap suppress social memory and that censorship hides the social causes and
consequences of the things that have happened in the past.Afocus on rap allows
politicians to avoid their own responsibility; they can blame the cultural response rather
than what gave rise to it. The blame is on the social situations; also hip-hop is important
for social memory and for expression of feeling and where those feelings came from.
7. What is the burden of representation? How does it apply to hip-hop? Ella Shohat and
Robert Stam argue that there is a burden of representation on minorities. People of color
are not in control of media representations; there are too many white monopoles. There
are so few images of people of color that any one image carries a lot of weight.
8. According to lecture, how did changes in the recording industry make it more likely that
record companies and executives would not be blamed for problems with hip-hop? The
partnering of large companies with boutique labels gave more people access to black
music and profits soared. Therefore this lead to massive changes in the record industry -
production and distribution became highly concentrated in the hands of a few companies. Four companies control 86% of the music market and 10 companies control 66% of the
radio companies (production and distribution rights). Therefore these implications are
decisions about music selection made by a small group of program directors. It’s hard to
hold program directors accountable; it’s easier to blame individual rappers than a
multinational corporation. Because of this, individual rappers or even black culture
become the scapegoats for politicians and cultural critics, rather than social conditions.
9. Drawing on Jefferies, what are the stereotypes of the white man hip-hop fan? Some
stereotypes are: they are posers and can’t possibly relate to the music; that they derive
pleasure from racist representations of black masculinity; that they want the cool factor
without having to face the consequences of being a black man in our culture; that they
aren’t invested in the hip-hop culture.
10. Overall, what does hip-hop mean to both black and white fans? Give examples. Black
and white fans tend to relate more to the culture, lifestyle and expressions of the music.
Both fans say that hip-hop gives everyone a voice and is a mark of self expression.
11. How did white and black hip-hop fans differ? In what ways are collective identities
constructed? Give examples. Collective identities are individuals cognitive, moral, and
emotional connection with a broader community, category, practice, or institution. White
fans, for example, don’t connect to the race, but they do connect to the suffering
described - sometimes it’s class, not just race.Also they didn’t focus on the content of the
lyrics as much as the beat.
12. According to Harkness, what is the racial hierarchy within the hip-hop community
around the use of the n-word? Black people are at the top of the list, with latinos,
specifically Puerto Ricans, coming next. Then whites tend to be last.
13. Why can Latinos use the word? They have a relatively close experience in the social
history of the US; their group didn’t enslave blacks so they’re not oppressive. Latinos
were also integral to the creation of hip-hop, and race is often used as a sign of
authenticity.Also as long as they don’t use it to insult, it is acceptable due to context and
14. Why would using the n-word be inauthentic for white rappers? For white rappers, using
the n-word is not a part of their day-to-day use; it’s insincere. Whites are often seen as
privileged; this is an intersection of race and class.
15. How does mainstream hip hop define masculinity? Why and how has that particular
definition emerged according to the film? Masculinity is about domination and control;
you have to be invulnerable and be a pimp and have a lot of women.Also you have to
reject femininity and homosexuality; there is a hegemonic masculinity - a real man is
straight. There is a policing of masculinity among the hip-hop community. “Fag” is used
as a put-down, just like “pussy” and “chump.” Manhood therefore, is maintained as
strong, tough, rich, dominant, etc. This comes from a lack of cultural reflection - these
ideas come from the mainstream. There is a lack of power so you can use your body to
16. What are the consequences of defining masculinity this way? Defining masculinity this
way opens the door for violence because there is a masculine violent identity and a gun is
the paraphilia of masculinity.
17. Ayoung white woman explains that interest in hip hop, “appeals to our sense of learning
about other cultures,” but that it also reinforces stereotypes aboutAfricanAmericans.
What are the implications when a musical genre serves to represent an entire community? Everything in hip-hop becomes exaggerated because there is a burden of representation.
Also it reinforces symbolic boundaries.Also hip-hop is a reflection of social problems,
however its sociological context is often done away with.
18. How are women portrayed in hip-hop videos and lyrics? Women are extremely
objectified in hip-hop; they become just eye-candy. This is because misogamy and sexism
are not immediate issues, therefore phrases like “hoes” and “bitches” become
desensitized. Calling someone a pussy or sissy becomes an insult because you are
doubting their masculinity.
19. How is homosexuality portrayed? There is a lot of homophobia in hip-hop, because
homosexuality is often linked to femininity, which is obviously anti-masculine. Therefore
hip-hop glorifies the male-sex while doing away with anything feminine. It’s both
homophobic and homoerotic.
20. Why was Orenstein worried about having a daughter? Orenstein had built a career on
raising girls and she didn’t want to be a failure. She doesn’t want her daughter to face the
pressures of culture; also she now has to take on the role of role model.
21. Even though Orenstein tried to keep her daughter away from princesses, Daisy
nonetheless become enthralled with them. How does this demonstrate that power of
social facts? Daisy was exposed to princesses from her peers at school, as well as from
television and stores and adult compliments. Everyone around her was engaged in the
princess culture, so it was difficult to shield her away from all aspects of society.
22. What does princess culture tell girls about what it means to be a girl? The princess culture
tells girls that pink has to be their favorite color, as well as they have to be physically
perfect. Also it creates gender boundaries, in that it maintains the stereotypes of women
subservience in order to gain the male prince.
23. What does research tell us about the impact of princess culture on young girls? Give
examples. Princess culture is really psychologically damaging.As research from theAPA
has shown, girls exposed to this will have higher rates of depression, eating disorders, as
well as unsafe-sex. Furthermore there’s a lot of self-objectification, in that appearance
and feeling become connected. By looking good, you begin to feel good.
24. When and how did the marketing concept of the Disney Princesses emerge? How big has
the industry become? Aguy by the name ofAndy Mooney ignited the culture of princess
marketing in the year 2000 when he realized that girls were wearing homemade outfits of
princess costumes.After this, Disney began marketing the princesses without the release
of a film, which had never been done before. Within a year, sales had become $300
million, and by 2009, they were at $4 billion.
25. Why does Orenstein argue that we shouldn’t see young girl's desire for princesses as
simply expressing their own desires? Put another way, why shouldn’t we see toy
companies as just giving kids what they want? There’s a fine line between want and
coercion. Many of these companies have literally forced the princess culture unto girls,
especially the color pink. It’s quite sickening, actually.
26. Why is Orenstein unconvinced by Mooney’s assertion that princess culture is just a phase
with no long-lasting negative effects? The more mainstream media girls consume, the
more importance they place on being pretty and sexy. Girls who have more traditional
views of femininity are less ambitious and more likely to be depressed. Less likely to
enjoy sex or insist on partners using condoms. These side-effects stem much further than
a simple phase. 27. What does research show about girls and mainstream media consumption? How do
stereotypes about girls impact their educational achievement? Girls who had seen
stereotyped ads were less interested in math and science related careers.After two ads:
People scored higher on math test after trying on sweatshirt than bathing suit. Really,
there is a psychological stigma from the mainstream girl culture.
28. Why are girls struggling with perfection? What does it mean to be perfect? ·Get straight
As, be student body president, editor of newspaper, captain of swim suit, be kind and
caring, please everyone, dress nice, be thin. Contradiction: struggling to fulfill new
expectations and old ones. Aggressive and agreeable, smart and stunning. Number of
girls fretting about appearance and weight rose between 2000-2006. Rates of depression
and suicide rose between 2000-2006. The more girls achieve, the more obsessed they
become with their appearance.
29. How do the mothers Orenstein talked with discuss the problem of princesses? Why is
Orenstein critical of this? Wanted daughter to have strong identity as a girl and feel pretty.
Girls: “You’re so pretty” Boys: “You’re so smart.” Daughters don’t know the actual story,
just the costumes. Romance, love, being rescued by a prince. Promoted that a man could
take care of you - about being admired and getting special treatment
30. Why haven’t Mulan and Pocahontas been integrated into the princess line to the same
extent as some of the others? Mulan and Pocahontas are technically princesses, however
there is less merchandize to be derived from them. Mulan, specifically, is never marketed
in the warrior gear, but rather her kimono that she hated.
31. What messages do theAmerican Doll series send to girls? Forge bond between mothers
and daughters. Morally inspiring vision of girlhood. Homespun values. Heroines confront
racism, sexism and tragedy but overcome with ingenuity. Girls were independent. Girls
actions more important than what she looked like or what she owned.
32. According to lecture, how did Disney incite outrage in many parents and others over
Brave’s lead character, Merida? Disney outraged many parents over Merida because they
decided to alter her image by sexualizing her image (pretty curly hair, sexy dress, open
shoulders) so that more marketable princess clothing/products can be made.
33. According to lecture, what did Emily Kane find when she interviewed parents about