Myths, beliefs, values

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Myths, beliefs, values

  1. 1. MYTHS, BELIEFS, VALUES IN POPULAR CULTURE
  2. 2. POPULAR BELIEFS AND VALUES• Unseen convictions about the world• Form a society’s mindset• Mold and shape the way members of the society see and interpret reality
  3. 3. POPULAR BELIEFS AND VALUESPopular beliefs and values are themeanings which lie behind the artifactsand events which are their visibleexpression --they are the truths whichexplain the facts and thus weaveexistence into a pattern which we can allrecognize and share --Nachbar & Lause, 82
  4. 4. POPULAR BELIEFS AND VALUES• Stable• Significant• Often based on history and/or necessity• “Assumed” to be “true”
  5. 5. MYTH• The MOST stable and significant of a society’s popular beliefs and values• “Bedrock” cultural beliefs
  6. 6. MYTHA belief or value that is “significant andlong lasting—vital the to mindset of theculture which holds it—and that it iswidely accepted as being true. . . Themyth is believed and people makechoices and take action based uponbelief in the myth.” --Nachbar & Lause, 84
  7. 7. POPULAR BELIEFS AND VALUES• Assume the “truth” of the belief/value• Tests • Stability • Significance
  8. 8. WHY ARE MYTHS IMPORTANT?“…a society’s way ofunderstanding, expressing, andcommunicating to itself conceptsthat are important to its self-identity as a culture.” ---John Fiske, Key Concepts in Communication and Cultural Studies
  9. 9. MYTH-NARRATIVE• stories that express those deep-seated cultural values and beliefs• Myth narratives often exist as story formulas which achieve popularity because they tap some of the vital myths• NOTE that myths and myth-narratives while related are NOT the same
  10. 10. “A society is possible in the last analysisbecause the individuals in it carry around intheir heads some sort of picture of thatsociety.”--- Karl Mannheim, Utopia and Society (1964)
  11. 11. MYTH• “romantic love”
  12. 12. For instance, what do programs such as The Bachelor, or TheBachelorette “tell” us about the consistency of myths over time?
  13. 13. COMPLEXITY OF MYTHS• Natural complexity (in the myths, beliefs themselves) • myths have a number of associated beliefs and values • myths are inter-related • Popular myths often contradict each other • Beliefs change over time
  14. 14. COMPLEXITY OF MYTHS• Expressive complexity (the way popular artifacts express myths) • Artifact may “question the myth” • Same artifact may express one or more myths • Artifacts occasionally function to reveal the contradictions • Artifacts express the beliefs of the time of their production
  15. 15. COMPLEXITY OF MYTHS Natural (Myths...) Expressive (Artifacts...)• …have many • … may question myth associated beliefs & values • ...may express many• …are inter-related myths• ...often contradict • ...may reveal• …beliefs change over contradictions time • ...express beliefs of the time of their production
  16. 16. “MORALITY TALES”• Myth-narratives are the basic fundamental narrative expression of American myths, beliefs, values• The emphasis and meanings of the tales change over time and with historical circumstance
  17. 17. RURAL SIMPLICITY A MYTHIC FORMATION• Myth :: “True American virtue and happiness are to be found by living close to nature on a farm or in a small town” [p 96] • Beliefs/values • Icons • Heroes/Celebrities • Stereotypes • Rituals • Popular Arts
  18. 18. “MORALITY TALES”• Myth-narratives are the basic fundamental narrative expression of American myths, beliefs, values• The emphasis and meanings of the tales change over time and with historical circumstance• Myth-narratives are believed to be true and so have a powerful impact on choices and actions• Myth-narratives are often in conflict with each other as they reflect contradictions at the heart of the American mindset
  19. 19. “SUCCESS”??? Changing Definitions??? Do you think that the definitions of some of the cultural myths are changing in contemporary times? Does Marsden suggest that there may be “New” definitions of “success” for instance?
  20. 20. MYTHS: THE BASIS OF POPULAR CULTURE Studying popular culture artifacts and the beliefs and values they reflect is a survival tactic…we are most susceptible to the dangers in popular beliefs when we are unaware of the beliefs themselves and the fact that they are determining the conduct of our daily lives. [Nachbar & Lause, 109]

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