Thursday, 10 March 2011

lecture notes 11.11.10

Critical positions on the media and popular culture
Critically define ‘popular culture’
Contrast ideas of ‘culture’ with ‘popular’ culture and ‘mass culture’
Introduce cultural studies and critical theory
Define ideology
Interrogate the social function of the mass media and the extent to which the media constitutes us to society.

What is culture?

General process of intellectual, spiritual and aesthetic development of a particular society at a particular time.
A particular way of life
Works of intellectual and especially artistic significance

All societies are based around forces of production – materials, tools, workers, skills etc
Relations of production – employer/employee, class, master/slave etc
Social institutions – legal, political, cultural
Forms of consciousness – ideology
Fundamentally antagonistic

Ideology – system of ideas or beliefs (eg beliefs of a political party)
Masking, distortion, or selection of ideas to reinforce power relations, through creation of false consciousness

Well liked by many people
Inferior kinds of work
Work deliberately setting out to win favour with the people
Culture actually made by the people themselves

(book) Raymond Williams (1983) keywords

Inferior or residual culture
Popular press v’s quality press
Popular cinema v’s art cinema

Graffiti – popular culture
Folk archive

Early modernity – mass working class
Clear lines of class division
Working class and bourgeois became separated
(books) Matthew Arnold (1867) culture and anarchy
Leavisism – F.R Leavis and Q.D Leavis
Mass civilisation and minority culture
Fiction and the reading public
Culture and environment

Frankfurt school – critical theory
Institute of social research, university of Frankfurt 1923-33
University of Columbia, new york, 1933-47
University of Frankfurt 1949-
Theodore Adorno and Max Horkheimer reinterpreted Marx for the 20th century, era of late capitalism
Defined ‘the culture industry’
2 main products – homogeneity and predictability
All mass culture is identical, anti thinking device.
Walter Benjamin – the work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction 1936 essay.

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