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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 - Introducing Popular Culture.docx

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Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 202
Professor
Stephen Muzzatti

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Chapter 1 – Introducing Popular Culture APPROACHNG POPULAR CULTURE - Why popular culture is such a critical part if contemporary life? - Popular culture is far more difficult “thing” to pin down than a smartphone o because it is constantly changing shape, shifting locations, assuming new identities and new tasks and functions DEFINING POPULAR CULTURE - Popular culture is familiar and obvious at first glance, but very complicated as soon as you start to think about it in any detail - Popular culture consists of products, texts, practises - Popular culture is commercial culture than high culture, which people today still tend to associate with the things they imagine that rich people who own yachts like to do - Popular culture consists of the traditional practises and beliefs or way of life of a specific group; and, finally, the most wide-ranging definition of all, popular culture is simply the practices of everyday life What is Culture? - The word “culture” implying that it is a significant concept in our society, and one that we likely can’t do without - “Culture” in the first sense, fits with lots of context and it focuses on what we usually think of as high-end creative production: artistic pursuits that are enjoyed by an elite minority as opposed to more accessible leisure activities - “Culture” is seen as a whole way of life of a society or a distinct subsection of society o Culture is the context refers to the practises that defines us as human o And informs the disciplines of the social sciences - Mass media is frequently cited as the thing that threatens to destroy “culture” - Objects of study o Defines culture as “the social production and reproduction of sense, meaning and consciousness” o Cultural studies thinks deeply about the connections between culture and the spheres of politics and economics, and seeks to understand how that realm of activity concerned with “meanings, pleasures and identifies” shapes relations of power What/Who Defines the Popular? - Latin word “popularis” which means belonging to the people” - “popular” means that something is liked by a lot of people o It is refers to a particular group of people whom a certain quality or value is attached - It tends to carry with the connotations of values are seen differently depending on who is talking and in what context - What agency is involved on the part of “the people” in determining or defining something to be “popular” What is Popular Culture? - “popular culture” identifies it with the entertainment produced through and by commercial media that have the economic and technological capacity - Popularity is measured by the patterns of consumption: the thing that you buy, watch to…) - “Popular culture” defines it in terms of production: what ppl do and make for themselves - Cultural Production: Folk and Mass Culture o Folk Culture: are the cultural products and practises that have developed over time within a particular community or socially identifiable group, and that are communicated from generation to generation  Transmission of folk culture is technologically simple (face to face, oral communication)…. Inuit soapstone carving o Mass Culture: is produced for an unknown, disparate audience  Depends of technology and electronic devices…. MTV rap video - The attempt to maintain a strict division is not just tricky in a practical sense, but also, arguably, somewhat suspect ideologically - The Culture of Everyday Life o Popular culture: the communicative practises of everyday life  Talking, writing, social rituals (eating, dancing, music, visual culture, sports, fashion) that are shared among many members of a society, including and especially those who aren’t particularly socially, economically, or politically powerful  It talks about three things: 1) It signals the inclusion of mass media alongside the practises of everyday life 2) It emphasizes the meaningful nature of popular culture meaningful in that sense and social value 3) It highlights the issue of power that power that always and overtly dogs the production of culture in general - The Politics of Popular Culture o Culture both reflects and influences social organization and the distribution of power o The dominant economic system is capitalism: is private ownership of the means of production and distribution, and geared toward the generation of profit.  Key characteristics: Wealth-gene
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