Friday, 28 February 2014

culture, Popular Culture, The Production and Consumption of Culture, power/ Culture

Topic:- Culture, Popular Culture, The Production and Consumption of Culture, Power / culture

Name:- Upadhyay Devangana S.

Sub:- the cultural Studies

Paper:- 08

Std:- M.A. Sem – 2

Roll No:- 06

Submitted to:- M.K. Bhavnagaar University

           Before we know what is Culture study we have to know what is Culture? Answer of this is

  • influences our expectations of what is appropriate or inappropriate
  • is learned
  • reflects the values of a society
  • frames our experiences
  • provides us with patterns of behavior, thinking, feeling, and interacting
                In summery culture means how we live our life, style of life. We cannot defined any particular definition of the culture because every people have their own culture. Every society and place culture’s definition will be change so it is very difficult to say about culture. Most of the people are unaware for their culture. When we come to know about another culture only that time we become aware about our culture and we able to find different between our and other culture.  Cultural misunderstandings and conflicts arise mostly out of culturally-shaped perceptions and interpretations of each other's cultural norms, values, and beliefs (those elements below the waterline). Entering another culture is like two icebergs colliding - the real clash occurs beneath the water where values and thought patterns conflict.

Now we move on what is Culture study, how it work, where it began?

                         Cultural studies is an academic field of critical theory and literary criticism initially introduced by British academics in 1964 and subsequently adopted by allied academics throughout the world. Characteristically interdisciplinary, cultural studies is an academic discipline aiding cultural researchers who theorize about the forces from which the whole of humankind construct their daily lives. Cultural Studies is not a unified theory, but a diverse field of study encompassing many different approaches, methods and academic perspectives. Distinct from the breadth, objective and methodology of cultural anthropology and ethnic studies, cultural studies is focused upon the political dynamics of contemporary culture and its historical foundations, conflicts and defining traits. Researchers concentrate on how a particular medium or message relates to ideologysocial class, nationalityethnicitysexuality and gender, rather than providing an encyclopedic identification, categorization or definition of a particular culture or area of the world.[1]
                            Cultural studies seeks to understand how meaning is generated, disseminated, and produced from the social, political and economic spheres within a given culture. The influential theories of cultural hegemony and agency have emerged from the cultural studies movement as well as the most recent communications theory, which attempts to explain the cultural forces behind globalization. Unique academic approaches to cultural studies have also emerged in the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Italy.
                          During the 1980s rise of neo-liberalism in Britain and the new conservatism in America, cultural studies was beset with criticism from both outside political and inside academic forces, due to the close alliance between many cultural studies scholars and Marxist theoryleft-wing politics and perceived "triumphalism" by other established scholars. Opposition to cultural studies was most dramatically demonstrated with the 2002 closing of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) at the University of Birmingham, UK. CCCS was considered the founding academic program for cultural studies in the world, and was closed due to the result of the Research Assessment Exercise of 2001, a holdover initiative of the Margaret Thatcher-led UK Government of 1986, that determined research funding for university programs. While many of its opponents continue to describe the discipline as "irrelevant," the field has a world-wide presence consisting of numerous annual international conferences, academic programs, publications, students and practitioners, from Taiwan to Amsterdam and from Bangalore to Santa Cruz.
                  Culture studies initially developed in Britain as a reaction against specific disciplinary and political positions. The most important of these were liberal humanism. Specifically the ‘culture and civilization’ tradition in literary studies; orthodox Marxism culture studies developed as part of an engagement with the New left in the 1950 and 1960 and the mass society thesis and the related tradition of media effects research in mass communications studies. Here culture studies took issue with an impoverished view of culture and agency and a ‘Scientific’ – that is to sat, positivist – empiricist research method.
                 In the previous lesson we saw how complex the concept of culture could be. In this lesson we will look at the history of Cultural Studies.
                    Most accounts of the history of Cultural Studies point to the origins of the discipline in the West, and also draw attention to the difference between the British and American variants of Cultural Studies. When we talk of Cultural Studies in India, we need to note that British Cultural Studies has certainly been an important influence. However, the emergence of the area in the Indian context has also been determined by developments in the disciplines of history, art history and the study of cinema. Moreover, much of what we may today view as early work in Cultural Studies was in fact not called Cultural Studies.
                    A working definition of Cultural Studies would be that it is the study of culture in order to understand a society and its politics. While attempting to trace the history of Cultural Studies we need to look at approaches and areas that are clearly related to what we identify as the concerns of Cultural Studies.

·         Popular Culture
                      Popular culture is the entirety of ideasperspectivesattitudesmemesimages, and other phenomena that are within the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid 20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the late 20th and early 21st century. Heavily influenced by mass media, this collection of ideas permeates the everyday lives of the society.

             The term "popular culture" was coined in the 19th century or earlier. Traditionally, the term has denoted the education and general "culturedness" of the lower classes, as opposed to the "official culture" and higher or the education emanated by the dominant classes.
             The stress in the distinction from "official culture" became more pronounced towards the end of the 19th century a usage that became established by the interbellum period.
                  From the end of World War II, following major cultural and social changes brought by mass media innovations, the meaning of popular culture began to overlap with those of mass culture, media culture, image culture, consumer culture, and culture for mass consumption. Social and cultural changes in the United States were a pioneer in this with respect to other western countries.
            The abbreviated form "pop" for popular, as in pop music, dates from the late 1950s.Although terms "pop" and "popular" are in some cases used interchangeably, and their meaning partially overlap, the term "pop" is narrower. Pop is specific of something containing qualities of mass appeal, while "popular" refers to what has gained popularity, regardless of its style.
                           According to John Storey, there are six definitions of popular culture. The quantitative definition of culture has the problem that much "high culture" (e.g., television dramatizations of Jane Austen) is also "popular". "Pop culture" is also defined as the culture that is "left over" when we have decided what high culture is. However, many works straddle the boundaries, e.g., Shakespeare and Charles Dickens.

Definition: Popular culture is the accumulated store of cultural products such as music, art, literature, fashion, dance, film, television, and radio that are consumed primarily by non-elite groups such as the working, lower, and middle class. There are two opposing sociological arguments in relation to popular culture. One argument is that popular culture is used by the elites (who tend to control the mass media and popular culture outlets) to control those below them because it dulls people’s minds, making them passive and easy to control. A second argument is just the opposite, that popular culture is a vehicle for rebellion against the culture of dominant groups.
                        Owing to the pervasive and increasingly interconnected nature of popular culture, especially its intermingling of complementary distribution sources, some cultural anthropologists, literary, and cultural critics have identified a large amount of intertextuality in popular culture's portrayals of itself. One commentator has suggested this self-referentiality reflects the advancing encroachment of popular culture into every realm of collective experience. "Instead of referring to the real world, much media output devotes itself to referring to other images, other narratives; self-referentiality is all-embracing, although it is rarely taken account of." Furthermore, the commentary on the intertextuality and its self-referential nature has itself become the subject of self-referential and recursive commentary.
                             Many cultural critics have dismissed this as merely a symptom or side-effect of mass consumerism; however, alternate explanations and critique have also been offered. One critic asserts that it reflects a fundamental paradox: the increase in technological and cultural sophistication, combined with an increase in superficiality and dehumanization.
                               Long-running television series The Simpsons routinely alludes to mainstream media properties, as well as the commercial content of the show itself. In the episode "Bartvs. Thanks giving", Bart complains about the crass commercialism of the Macy's Thanks giving Day Parade while watching television. When he turns his head away from the television, the screen shows an oversized inflatable balloon of Bart Simpson floating past.
                     According to television studies scholars specializing in quality television, such as Kristin Thompson, self-referentiality in mainstream American television (especially comedy) reflects and exemplifies the type of progression characterized previously. Thompson argues shows such as The Simpsons use a "...flurry of cultural references, intentionally inconsistent characterization, and considerable self-reflexivity about television conventions and the status of the programme as a television show." Extreme examples approach a kind of thematic infinite regress wherein distinctions between art and life, commerce and critique, ridicule and homage become intractably blurred.
See also.
·         The production and Consumption of Culture

                       Max Weber's theory of cultural rationalization and differentiation is well known. For Weber the development of modernity not only involved a long process of differentiation of the capitalist economy and the modern state but also entailed a cultural rationalization with the emergence of separate scientific, aesthetic, and moral value spheres. Weber's (1948) discussion of the differentiation of the cultural sphere from a more rudimentary, holistic, religious cultural core is conducted at a high level of abstraction. Although Weber provides brief glimpses of the way in which each aspect of the cultural sphere is relentlessly driven by its own logic, the way in which values relate to life-style and conduct, and the tensions experienced by intellectuals, the "cultivated man" and the cultural specialist, his prime purpose was to sketch out a typology (Weber 1948:323–24). While we do find fuller discussions of the cultural sphere in the writings of Bell (1976) and Habermas (1981), we need to build on these sources if we seek to understand the particular conjunction of culture in contemporary Western societies. In effect we need to investigate the conditions for the development of the cultural sphere by focusing on particular historical sequences and locations. First, we need to understand the emergence of relatively autonomous culture (knowledge and other symbolic media) in relation to the growth in the autonomy and power potential of specialists in symbolic production.
                                    We therefore need to focus on the carriers of culture and the contradictory pressures that are generated by changing interdependencies and power struggles of the growing fraction within the middle class toward dual processes of (a) the monopolization and separation of a cultural enclave and (b) the demonopolization and diffusion of culture to wider publics. Second, we need to focus on the development of separate institutions and life-styles for cultural specialists and examine the relation between value complexes and conduct in the various life orders, not only in terms of a cultural sphere conceived as the arts and the academy ("high culture") but also in terms of the generation of oppositional countercultures (bohemias, artistic avant-gardes). Third, we need to comprehend the relational dynamic of a parallel development to that of the cultural sphere: the general expansion of cultural production via "culture industries" and the generation of a wider market for cultural and other symbolic goods to produce what has been termed a mass culture or consumers culture . Both tendencies have contributed to the increasing prominence of culture within modern societies—tendencies that threaten to erode and domesticate everyday culture, the taken-for-granted stock of memories, traditions, and myths.

                              Like the pieces of a mosaic, popular culture practices embody a series of different yet, overlapping elements through which unique traditions emerge. For most Americans, popular culture is the way of life in which, and by which, the dominant society lives. As Ray Brown defines it, "popular culture is the everyday culture of a group, large or small, of people." He contends that, in a democracy like the United States, "popular culture is the voice of the people- their practices, likes and dislikes- the lifeblood of their daily existence" (Brown 23). When looking at American popular cultural studies, however, it is important to consider that there are unlimited demonstrations of cultural behavior dictated by history, race, ethnicity, custom, gender, age, locality and group-size conditions. While most would confine the 'popular' aspects of cultural practices to the dominant, it is also important to consider the alternative cultural narratives that have emerged as hybrids from within the margins of American society.                                          Although these cultural elements make up a much smaller component than those of the dominant society, they are uniquely relevant in explaining and emphasizing the fragmentary nature of American popular culture and the extent to which the 'popular' has conditioned and contested the formation of social spaces.
                Because of their exclusion from political power, cultural recognition, mass communication and popular culture, ethnic minorities and immigrants have played an important role in shaping the American post-modem aesthetic for decades. These exclusions, while often generating marginal states of consciousness among minorities, have contributed to the development of 'historical blocs' of oppositional groups. These 'historical blocs'- united by common ideas, dreams, intentions and alienating experiences- signify the fragmentary nature of the post modem sensibility and display the importance of the many overlapping and inter working popular cultures of American society. (Lipsitz 152).
              While popular culture studies have embraced a wide definition of culture, and have resisted any particular set of theories and methodologies, ghettos, barrios and border zones have been the setting for most texts that examine the popular culture of minority groups in United States (Cawelti 5). When immigrants and ethnic minorities assemble in these urban communities, they often settle as ethnic groups and are surrounded by other marginal clusters. Because such communities share with each other similar experiences of alienation on the margins of society, they have produced similarly apparent, yet alternative narratives, influenced by their conflicting desires to challenge ideological hegemony and/or conform to the mainstream of mass popular culture. "Neither assimilationist nor separatist, these groups drew upon 'families of resemblance'
similarities to the experiences and cultures of other groups- to fashion a unity of disunity"

·         Power\ culture

                             Culture can and should play a role in bringing people together, even those with very different world views. Culture can undoubtedly change individual lives. Beyond that though, it can help to solve intractable social and economic problems; to raise understanding between people and nations; and to encourage solutions to some of the major international challenges we all face.
                   With the pressing economic, social and environmental issues which face the international community, the Edinburgh International Culture Summit will create a much needed and rare opportunity to look at the role of culture in government and governments in culture. It creates a significant new platform to think about key issues such as how Ministries of Culture, and their equivalents, can encourage the right environment for helping culture in all its forms to develop and grow.
             The summit also provides an opportunity for Ministers, and other key figures in the international world of culture, to think about, and discuss together, how cultural policy in countries across the world can be enriched by the sharing of international best practice and co-operation.

                 The process of globalisation is transforming all societies and making them increasingly diverse and interconnected. This opens vast new opportunities for exchange and mutual enrichment between persons of different and plural cultures. It is also raising new questions about inclusion, human rights, and sustainability, calling for new competencies.
               Culture is a key resource to address both the economic and social dimensions of poverty and to provide innovative and cross-cutting solutions to complex issues such as health and the environment, gender equality and promoting quality education for all. Cultural and creative industries are some of the most rapidly growing sectors in the world, representing an estimated global value of US$ 1.3 trillion.
                At the same time, culture is a source of wealth in ways that do not have price tags. Culture can help promote social cohesion and youth engagement, and it is a wellspring for social resilience. Culture is a source of identity and cohesion for societies at a time of bewildering change. No development can be sustainable without it.
At this moment of change, when we are rethinking strategies for development and seeking to identify new sources of dynamism, let’s put culture on the agenda as a force for sustainability in development.
         The Power of Culture is a website about culture and development. Culture is not a peripheral matter. The ideas, ideals and creativity of people are the driving force behind development towards more political, economic and social freedom. The Power of Culture reviews art and cultural expressions in conjunction with human rights, education, the environment, emancipation and democratisation. The site offers a list of projects, initiatives and objectives of Dutch organisations active in this area.
                The site also reports on the part played by cultural organisations in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and South-east Europe. News and background information illustrate how culture is inextricably entwined with ethics and policy. The Power of Culture also points the way to other internet sources, media and organisations. No development without culture. If culture is defined as the entire system of beliefs, practices and customs that exist in a society, it is the foundation that supports every development. Economic development without cultural roots will never be sustainable. But culture is not merely a vehicle for material progress: it is a goal in itself. It is part of the daily reality and is therefore essential to the development of all people.
All our efforts to achieve the millennium goals will be in vain if we fail to notice the themes that occupy people every day and bypass their creativity.

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