Defining key terms

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  • Include #3 in pdf of An introduction to popular culture
  • Culture for elites; culture for the rest of us
  • AnthropologicallyThe distinct practices, artifacts, institutions, customs, and values of a particular social group (manners, beliefs, ways of dressing, behaviors etc.)
  • Were greek theaters “popular culture?” what about shakespeare?See Nachbar on classicists/modernists:: understand that the boundaries are fluid and seem to depend on context of when the classifying is done and who is doing ittwo perspectives on itclassicistsalso not limited to "presently" popularExample: can study mindset of Beatles fans in the 1960s as well as mindset of _________ fans nowstudy popular culture see it as always aroundinclude in their definition Athenians eager to laugh at Greek plays of comic Aristophanes, standing room only crowds pressed into the Globe Theater to see the latest hit play by Shakespeare, massive Nielsen audience which made Roseanne the number one tv program in USA in 1991modernistspopular culture is a recent thing (maybe only since late 18th century)because it neededmasses of peoplemoney & leisuremechanics or means of communicatingpress, books, radio, tv, film, internetSUMMARY: both classicists and modernists agree that we need to examine that which as been or is accepted or approved by a large group; they disagree about additional characteristics and time periodsDo seem to need an understanding of what the cultural artifacts are DOING; what function they provide for the society
  • Defining key terms

    1. 1. “Culture” and “Popular Culture”
    2. 2. “Culture” and “Popular Culture” What is “Culture”? Characteristics of “culture” Defining “Popular” + “Culture” Characteristics of “Popular Culture” The Popular Culture Formula
    3. 3. What is "CULTURE?"
    4. 4. "Culture?” a first definition… Agricultural meaning…
    5. 5. "Culture?“ a second definition… An Evaluative Definition • The general process of intellectual, spiritual, and/or aesthetic development
    6. 6. •Historically “Culture” = refinement and intellectual superiority “The best that has been thought and said in the world” (Matthew Arnold, 1869)•Socially Defined Working classes were “raw and uncultivated” posed a cultural danger to the elite Upper classes possessed and protected Culture their duty was to impart culture on everyone else Matthew Arnold
    7. 7. Culture for elites and Culture for the rest of us
    8. 8. Okay But… If “Culture” belonged to the elite – how did we classify the “un- culture” of the masses: folk music, legends, traditions, folk arts? As opposed to “High” culture , late 19th Century saw a rise in “folk” culture – artifacts created by a specific community or ethnic group – transmitted through oral communication – Fairytales, folksongs, proverbs and dialects  Not a threat to society because it was a culture in decline (industrialization and urbanization)
    9. 9. Other Categories of Culture Folk culture – Products developed in a limited community and transmitted directly from generation to generation, between "folk" familiar with each other
    10. 10. Categories of Culture Folk culture – Products developed in a limited community and transmitted directly from generation to generation, between "folk" familiar with each other Elite/High Culture – Products produced by and for a limited number of people with specialized interests, training or knowledge
    11. 11. Characteristics High Culture  Folk Culture – Unique and innovative – Common and traditional – Difficult thought provoking – Simple and accepted – Not commercial – art for art‟s – Personal for present day sake – Oral traditions – Timeless – Often commercial – Small elite audience – Limited audience
    12. 12. "Culture?“ – a third definition a general process of intellectual, spiritual, and aesthetic development a particular way of life, whether of a people, a period or a group Raymond Williams
    13. 13. "Culture?" a general process of intellectual, spiritual, and aesthetic development a particular way of life, whether of a people, a period or a group – the works and practices of creative activity
    14. 14. "Culture?" a general process of intellectual, spiritual, and aesthetic development a particular way of life, whether of a people, a period or a group – the works and practices of creative activity
    15. 15. Yeah, but What About Everyone Else? High and Folk Culture represented only a small population, so... What about the modifier “popular”? What do we mean by “popular culture” as opposed to just “culture”? “Popular” – in its broadest sense means “of the people” and we use it to mean “accepted and/or approved of by a larger number of people”
    16. 16. Relationship between three types of culture
    17. 17. Be aware that… Negative Connotation: o Seen as a hollow imitation of „true‟ culture – conveyed no worthwhile message or value o Works as a drug – giving its audience a false sense of reality (Marxist) o “Powerful and pervasive de-educator of the public mind” – F.R. Leavis
    18. 18. Relationship between three types of culture FLUID – Nothing to prevent YOU from moving from one area/type to another – Cultural ARTIFACT can change categories
    19. 19. For Example - Elvis Pop Culture (for sure) Innovative music – Combining genres Stretched boundaries – Musically – Socially
    20. 20. For Example - Mozart Classified as High Culture – patronized by 18th C Viennese aristocracy But not limited to that class – his tunes were whistled in the streets – became „popular‟ Now his music is on “greatest classical hits ” CDs in bargain bins at WALMART Mozart on Film Soundtracks Media the means for classification? If it‟s heard outside a symphony hall is it still high culture?
    21. 21. “Culture” and “Popular Culture” What is “Culture”? Characteristics of “culture” Defining “Popular” + “Culture” Characteristics of “Popular Culture” The Popular Culture Formula
    22. 22. Characteristics of CULTURE
    23. 23. Characteristics of CULTURE Culture is SYMBOLIC
    24. 24. Characteristics of CULTURE Culture is SYMBOLIC Culture is SHARED
    25. 25. Characteristics of CULTURE Culture is SYMBOLIC Culture is SHARED – Subcultures
    26. 26. Characteristics of CULTURE Culture is SYMBOLIC Culture is SHARED – Subcultures Culture is LEARNED
    27. 27. Characteristics of CULTURE Culture is SYMBOLIC Culture is SHARED – Subcultures Culture is LEARNED Culture is ORDINARY
    28. 28. So, in other words…CULTURE is a social groups SYSTEM OF MEANING
    29. 29. “Believing that man is an animal suspended in websof meaning that he has spun himself, I take culture tobe those webs....”--Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures 1973)
    30. 30. “A society is possible in the last analysis becausethe individuals in it carry around in their headssome sort of picture of that society.” --- Karl Mannheim, Utopia and Society (1964)
    31. 31. “If you can write the nation’s stories, you don’tneed to worry about who writes its laws.”--- George Gerbner, Communication, (1978)
    32. 32. “Communication is a symbolic processwhereby reality is produced, maintained,repaired and transformed.” --James Carey, “Cultural View of Communication”, p. 10
    33. 33. “Culture” and “Popular Culture” What is “Culture”? Characteristics of “culture” Defining “Popular” + “Culture” Characteristics of “Popular Culture” The Popular Culture Formula
    34. 34. And Popular Culture is… the products of human work and thought which are accepted and approved of by a large community or population
    35. 35. But what about history?Did popular culture start with mass media?
    36. 36. But what about history?Modernists Classicists
    37. 37. Although modern communicationstechnology has vastly extended the reach ofpopular entertainment, popular entertainmentbegan long ago.Gladiatorial combat in the arena in ancientRome was a form of mass entertainment.
    38. 38. Rather like World Wrestling Entertainment today . . . Without the television.
    39. 39.  The Roman and Greek comparison is important. – State-sponsored entertainment provided in the Coliseum kept the Roman mob contented and amused. In fact there was a phrase for this: “bread and circuses.” – Popular entertainment in ancient Rome was a form of social control. – Give the masses plenty of free food and entertainment to keep them in line so they wouldn‟t make trouble for the upper classes. Some theorists of popular culture think this is still the motive behind popular culture today. (e.g. Adorno & Horkheimer)
    40. 40. And Popular Culture is… the products of human work and thought which are (or have been in the past) accepted and approved of by a large community or population
    41. 41. “Culture” and “Popular Culture” What is “Culture”? Characteristics of “culture” Defining “Popular” + “Culture” Characteristics of “Popular Culture” The Popular Culture Formula
    42. 42. Characteristics of Popular Culture Consists of artifacts & events & products
    43. 43. Characteristics of Popular Culture Consists of artifacts & events & products – Icons – Stereotypes – Heroes – Rituals – Popular Arts
    44. 44. Characteristics of Popular Culture Consists of artifacts & events & products Surrounds us
    45. 45. Characteristics of Popular Culture Consists of artifacts & events & products Surrounds us Reflects audience beliefs and values
    46. 46. “... "most of popular culture constantly reaffirmsand reproduces the already taken-for-grantedmeanings and values in American Society…”--Lawrence Grossberg, p. 15
    47. 47. “zeitgeist” ="spirit of an era" Popular culture‟s "reflective” nature – Transitory attitudes and perspectives (hidden and abstract) as well as deep seated beliefs and values are made CONCRETE in popular culture
    48. 48. The Popular Culture FormulaThe popularity of a given cultural element(object, person, event) is directly proportionalto the degree to which the element reflectsaudience beliefs and values. The greater thepopularity of the cultural element—in an eraand/or over time—the more reflective of thezeitgeist this element is likely to be. ---Nachbar and Lause, p. 5
    49. 49. Characteristics of Popular Culture Consists of artifacts & events & products Surrounds us Reflects audience beliefs and values Is commercial
    50. 50. Characteristics of Popular Culture Consists of artifacts & events & products Surrounds us Reflects audience beliefs and values Is commercial Is often imitative (of itself)
    51. 51. Characteristics of Popular Culture Consists of artifacts & events & products Surrounds us Reflects audience beliefs and values Is commercial Is often imitative (of itself) Shapes audience beliefs and values
    52. 52. Characteristics of Popular Culture Consists of artifacts & events & products Surrounds us Reflects audience beliefs and values Is commercial Is often imitative (of itself) Shapes audience beliefs and values
    53. 53. "Popular culture is, then…” the artifacts (icons, objects, people, practices, „art‟ forms) which are (or have been) accepted and approved of by a large community or population, promoted via mass communication media… – and having widely shared meanings – and manifesting group identifications to us – and capable of both reflecting & shaping values, beliefs

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