MDSA01H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 6: Reductionism, National Geographic Society, Stereotype

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8 Aug 2016
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Chapter 6 – Cultural Analysis
Culture: Culture is simply what human beings produce and the means by which we preserve
what we have produced. The building blocks are:
Physical Artifacts are material aspects of daily life that possess a widely shared meanings
and manifest group identification to us (material objects) like clothing, music, books
Social After collecting our artifacts, the futuristic society will attempt to reconstruct our
practices and customs in our daily life. (customs, our shared, lived experiences)
Attitudinal Attitudes display the overarching ways a particular culture makes sense of the
world and itself, including values, tastes, concepts of right and wrong. (understand the world)
Ideology: Is a system of ideas that unconsciously shapes and constrains both our beliefs and
behaviors. How we define the world around us, explanations of the world, and beliefs.
4 ways ideology structures our social world: limitation (limits the range of acceptable ideas),
normalization (social hierarchy is normal within the world), privileging (some groups are more
important than others), and interpellation (given an identity)
Myth: Is a sacred story or “type of speech” that reaffirms and reproduces ideology in relation to
an object (Roland Barthes concept)
Doxa: refers to any constructed aspects of a culture that its members do not really challenge or
critically reflect upon, good synonym is ‘common sense’ (Pierre Bourdieu)
Hegemony: The process by which one ideology subverts other, competing ideologies and gains
cultural dominance through the won consent of the governed (or dominated) (Antonio Gramsci),
essentially, it convinces people to support the existence of a social system which does not
support them in return.
Cultural studies: An umbrella term for a wide variety of scholarship concerned with culture,
ideology, privilege, and oppression, represents an important area in the contemporary discipline.
Structure of feeling: Is the sum of the subtle and nuanced aspects of a historical culture, those
aspects not obviously or completely captured in the artifacts of a society (Raymond Williams),
structure of feeling is intimately related to the aforementioned concepts of myth, doxa, and
hegemony.
American Dream: The idea that a person’s level of success is directly related to the amount of
effort or drive they put forth in attaining that goal
Token: Is an exception to a social rule that affirms the correctness of an ideology (an individual
who has achieved the American dream)
Conspicuous consumption: Is the belief that one can attain membership in the “upper class”
through the purchase of material goods and services (ex. purchasing a house)
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