Thursday, 22 November 2012

OUGD501 // Lecture 6 // Critical Positions on Popular Culture

- Critically define ‘popular culture’
- Contrast ideas of ‘culture’ with ‘popular culture’ and ‘mass culture’
- Introduce Cultural Studies & Critical Theory
- Discuss culture as ideology
- Interrogate the social function of popular culture

Complex discussions. when you try to define culture more and more definitions occur as it is difficult to explain. Set of ideas/ body of work/ process of intellectual production/ etc

base - economic of the time. the fabric of the society. Everything else about society emerges from the base and what it going on in society in that time. It is a direct response to what is happening in society. 
All forms of culture in some way are a direct reflect from the materiality of the society.  

base - society - produces individuals, produces culture. direct product/reflect of our society - capitalism - our life.
Culture imerge from the base and reflect this it can also no just reflect but strengthen, support and maintain the structure that makes it. 
Structure directly links to capitalism and is what makes it.

Base of the pyramid holding up the system. reality of the world. systems of law, army, religion, state and politics, money. All these maintain the system and keep it running. 

If we have culture which is a product of the society, what is popular culture? another term that cant be defined. 
- Something that is liked and liked by everyone. 
- Value judgements - inferior to real culture 
- Populism - deliberately setting out to win over the people
- Culture that is made by culture less - made by people with no culture for the the masses.

Recreation of the minor strikes. creative practice that wouldnt normally get shown in public/exhibits.
Why are these not classed as culture? why are they throw away?

Street culture - organic culture - popular culture - made by urban youth for the youth. 
Taken out of that culture and put into the normal everyday culture by putting it in a exhibition and it becoming 'art'.

Can trace it back specifically to mid 19th century. E.P Thompson writes about this, which is set in Manchester. In this period was heavy industrialisation, process of urbanisation, growth of the city. Hype of development. Clear life and class divides within the society. Mass factory works which could clearly see who were workers and bosses. People making money and poor, which could see by the housing within Manchester - different areas, ghettos, slums against big houses.

Prior to this there was a shared common culture, but in reality it was only the rich and elite that made this because they didnt have to work all the time, which meant they could do this and create it. illusion that it was a shared thing. Clear division, independently a working class culture emerged - a culture made by the working class for the working class - made for profit - music halls, new form of music - people making a living from it. Entertainment came around and people would talk about everyday life, class experiences. Working class campaign. 

Backlash towards it, first person to try and define culture. 
Culture and anarchy. Most important thing in the world. Culture is disinterested - doesnt have politics, or anything within the general world. 
Anarchy - rebellious - high culture and low culture. 

Attitude is seen as some sort of disease. 
Member of the elites. 
similar opinion to Matthew Arnold, but for popular culture.
Growth of capitalism, hollywood, forms of popular music, gradually society has been on a decline - there was beautiful art, sculpture etc but as culture has been more mass produced, the world has levelled down, culture has become more standardised and seen as stupid.
Need to return to situation where people that know about culture should set these cultures.  
Elite system.

about tuning out of the culture. not based on desire of people to live to the full. working class that has ability to vote and to have set roles. 

Mass culture - popular culture.

equally critical of popular culture. study of popular culture. Saw the high point of popular culture. 
popular culture was a threat to normal culture.
Popular culture maintains the social systems and perpetuate it. Strengthen and maintain the capitalism. 

Culture is produced in same way as a factory. They keep producing them exactly the same on a mass scale. 
Making profit for big businesses - one thing is better than the next, but it is all the same. 

you are giving people no options, just a mass culture that everyone has to follow. Marcuse creates a system in which people can be more free and take things on themselves. 
Makes you one dimensional instead of multi dimensional - you only have one aspect to your character, only think in one way. 
Incorrect view of the world, stops from revolting - rebelling the world.

Culture industry - x factor is a product of the culture and produces a affirmative culture. people on it always have a backstory. All the time is is there to make money for the one individual figure - SIMON COWELL. produces money to the high people within the show and exploits the participients within the show. The way to get out of the culture is to be judged by a higher class and let them give you money which in turn gets them more money. illusory route.

Holly oaks - show about students - uni students - there to learn and get a degree - female students are not seen as a university student but a sexual object for the men both within the show and people watching it. 

Investment within these icons gives a neutral and demised version of culture within the world.   

Pop culture is rubbish - programs you - makes you into a robot. 
its standardised - all the same - one record after another - slightly change each one and release as a new product. 
Indie music - all the same in essence just a slight change within each band and record. 
Easy to produce and make, easy to consume and in a mindless way. All being the same so if you like one band you will like another band because similar. 
makes you mindless
gluing the system together, continuing the system, engaging people into the culture - but being fed things that people will know we will like because its the same and as this is happening we are given them more money. 
docility to accept instruction. 


Changes the nature and authority of art - placing it on other objects which can be used in everyday life. Don't have to go to the museums to see it. Its a masterpiece because someone says it is - don't actually know anything about it.

The culture & civilization tradition emerges from, and represents, anxieties about social and cultural extension. They attack mass culture because it threatens cultural standards and social authority.
The Frankfurt School emerges from a Marxist tradition. They attack mass culture because it threatens cultural standards and depoliticises the working class, thus maintaining social authority.
Pronouncements on popular culture usually rely on normative or elitist value judgements
Ideology masks cultural or class differences and naturalises the interests of the few as the interests of all.
Popular culture as ideology
The analysis of popular culture and popular media is deeply political, and deeply contested, and all those who practice or engage with it need to be aware of this.

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