Culture studies intro

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Culture studies intro

  1. 1. Culture Studies A Framework
  2. 2. Delimiting the field <ul><li>What is culture – Principle Definitions </li></ul><ul><li>Core issues raised by the definitions and study of culture </li></ul><ul><li>Review of leading theoretical accounts that address these core issues </li></ul><ul><li>The developing field of culture studies – a point of view </li></ul>
  3. 3. What is culture? <ul><li>The term culture has an evident breadth </li></ul><ul><li>Raymond Williams defines culture in three distinct ways (outside the natural sciences)- </li></ul><ul><li>The arts and artistic activity </li></ul><ul><li>Particular way of life </li></ul><ul><li>Process of development </li></ul>
  4. 4. Culture with a big ‘C’ <ul><li>Culture as artistic activity – music, literature, painting, sculpture, film </li></ul><ul><li>Refined ‘ pursuits’ in which ‘cultured’ people engage </li></ul>
  5. 5. As a way of life <ul><li>Culture refers to a way of life – a particular way of life – whether of a people, a period or a group, or humanity in general’ (Williams) </li></ul><ul><li>A particular way of life is achieved through creation and use of symbols (which convey shared ideas) </li></ul><ul><li>Anthropological point of view: culture is the ‘complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society’ (Edward Taylor) </li></ul>
  6. 6. Process and development <ul><li>This dimension of the word ‘culture’ draws attention to its ‘subsequent use to describe the development of the individual’s capacities and it has been extended to embrace the idea that cultivation is itself a general, social and historical process’ (Williams) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Synthesis of the three dimensions <ul><li>Rock ‘n roll </li></ul><ul><li>Analyzed by the skill of its performers – Culture with a big ‘C’ </li></ul><ul><li>Association with youth culture in late 1950s and early 1960s – culture as a way of life </li></ul><ul><li>As a musical form, looking for its origins in other styles of music and also seeing its influence on later musical forms – culture as a process of development </li></ul>
  8. 8. Core issues in Culture Studies <ul><li>How do people become part of a culture? </li></ul><ul><li>How does cultural studies interpret what things mean? </li></ul><ul><li>How does cultural studies understand the past? </li></ul><ul><li>How can we understand the relationships between cultures? </li></ul><ul><li>Why are some cultures and cultural forms valued more highly than others? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the relationship between culture and power? </li></ul><ul><li>How does culture shape who we are? </li></ul>
  9. 9. How do people become part of a culture? <ul><li>Culture is not something we simply absorb – it is learned </li></ul><ul><li>Anthropology – Acculturation or Enculturation </li></ul><ul><li>Psychology – Conditioning </li></ul><ul><li>Sociology – Socialization (primary: acquisition of language & gendered identity ; secondary: for instance sexuality) </li></ul>
  10. 10. How does cultural studies interpret what things mean? <ul><li>Knowledge of the world is socially constructed </li></ul><ul><li>Hence perspectival </li></ul><ul><li>Concept of cultural relativism - habitual, taken-for-granted ways of thought, as expressed in speech and language, direct our understanding </li></ul><ul><li>Interpretation of meaning is therefore a key issue in cultural studies </li></ul>
  11. 11. How does cultural studies understand the past? <ul><li>Traditions are not neutral and objective but culturally constructed </li></ul><ul><li>While being constructed and reconstructed some things are included and others excluded </li></ul><ul><li>Culture studies attempt to study the patterns of the distribution of power </li></ul>
  12. 12. How can we understand the relationships between cultures? <ul><li>Concepts of colonialism and globalization </li></ul><ul><li>Limited point of view as there cannot be exclusive cultural blocs as culture is also a matter of age, gender, class, status </li></ul><ul><li>E.g. Coca-Cola and the neo-colonial references </li></ul>
  13. 13. Why are some cultures and cultural forms valued more highly than others? <ul><li>High Culture </li></ul><ul><li>Mass culture (pop culture) </li></ul>
  14. 14. What is the relationship between culture and power? <ul><li>Culture – a product of interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Societies are organized politically and economically </li></ul><ul><li>For example the definition of trash or mass culture might be seen to negate forms of culture actually enjoyed by oppressed groups </li></ul><ul><li>Culture as power is negotiated and resisted in four key areas – gender, race, class and age </li></ul>
  15. 15. How does culture shape who we are? <ul><li>Concept of identity </li></ul>
  16. 16. Theorizing Culture <ul><li>Cultural studies is based on three models of research </li></ul><ul><li>Production-based studies </li></ul><ul><li>Text-based studies </li></ul><ul><li>Studies of lived cultures </li></ul>
  17. 17. Theorizing Culture <ul><li>The British and American Roots </li></ul><ul><li>Frankfurt and Birmingham Schools </li></ul><ul><li>Shift from Aesthetic, Moral and Creative to Political, Social and Self Reflexive Mode </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural Studies- The Indian Context </li></ul>
  18. 18. The developing field of culture studies – a point of view <ul><li>A cultural approach to a common institution demonstrates the power of cultural studies to generate a wide range and number of potential areas of investigation </li></ul>

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