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Unformatted text preview: Mass Comm 101- Visual Communication Levina January 22 nd , 2008 January 24 th , 2008 What is Culture?- John Story 1 st reading John Story- How do we define culture? o Important- we will be talking about visual culture (televison, film, etc.) o What does it mean to talk about popular culture? 3 definitions o 1. Culture as processes of intellectual or aesthetic developments According to this, if someothing cannot be itnerpeted as intellectual or aesthetically valuable, then it is essentially not culture. i.e. Rambo- doesnt show any intellectual or aestehitcally valuable- it is therefore not culture Distinction between high and low culture o 2. Culture as a particular way of life Talks about cultural events (i.e. holidays ) Has certain norms, relations, behaviors, etc. Very much an anthropological way of culture Important to audience studies Constructs and observes the experience Trying to understanding the audiences construction of fandom o i.e. Harry Potter- interview the readers, analyzing message boards, observe viewer reactions, etc. o 3. Culture as text and practices (Story and Raymond Williams) Practices- whose role is it to produce meaning? Signifying practices (Stuart Hall) We can look at any sort of visual text and we can interpret it as a piece of culture, then we look at the meanings that these text generate. o i.e. Harry Potter- what we are looking at is the meaning that the text generates (sex, race, gender, orientation, etc.) What does it mean that Rowling revealed that Dumbledore was gay? What does the role of sexual orientation mean to our culture? What does the text generate? All text are embedded with particular meanings and ideologies of how the world is. All these texts that we are surrounded constantly produce meanings that help us organize and make sense of this life There is no such thing as a meaningless meaning. o i.e. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry- according to the first meaning, it probably wont mean anything; but according to this meaning, it probably has a lot to say about sexual orientation in society. In this class, we will mostly concentrate on this definition. 6 Definitions of Popular Culture 1. Popular culture as a culture liked by the most people o i.e. surveys, ratings, box office, billboard, etc. Not really useful and not very accurate 2. Popular culture is what is left over when we are done with high culture o Echoes back to the first definition of culture. High culture is not easily accessible (assumes that high culture transcends history and therefore creates a stone border between high and low), so everything after high culture is left for the masses and therefore popular culture....
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- Fall '08