pop culture - Trip Bennewitz Teaching Learning and Popular...

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Trip Bennewitz Teaching, Learning and Popular Culture Professor Cerri Banks 10/3/06 Midterm Exam Essay #1 Cultural Studies is the mixture of ideologies, people’s lives, sociology, and our reactions and obsessions with media. Cultural Studies is a very broad but vague term and embodies many aspects of life. A large part is the effect media and popular culture have upon us as individuals and as a society. Unfortunately, many aspects of our society are determined by hegemony. Our society was built by and to accommodate the interests a certain group of people also known as SCWAMPs (straight, Christian, white, able- bodied, male property holders). Our culture was shaped by the ideas of these people and it is very different to escape from the social norms established by society. Cultural Studies has many perspectives on culture that discuss hegemony, sites of conflict and social relationships, and the production of social relationships. In the past, people of certain races, genders, economic classes and sexualities had difficulty having parts in aspects of society such as business, politics, and the media. As time progresses, culture allows for new ideologies to arise and this causes conflicts and contestations in society. Douglas Kellner discusses multiculturalism and how culture is a site for conflict in his article “Cultural Studies, Multiculturalism, and Media Culture.” A large issue that still stalks society is the issue of race, mainly non-whites but specifically blacks. A dominant ideology that was present during most of our country’s history and even today is that whites are better than blacks. “…ideologies of race utilize racist
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representations of people of color and various minority groups.” This ideology was shaped during slavery; SCWAMPs brought blacks from overseas to work on plantations and in homes as servants. But as time advanced, people began to create new ideologies and this caused conflict. These new ideologies were that blacks were not a lesser kind but that they were humans too and deserve rights. This led to the civil war, and eventually the civil rights movement. The ideologies produced just before the Civil War were still not morally and ethically right but that led new ideology after another. A majority of people began to take these ideologies of equality to heart which led to full rights for blacks but only after more controversy and conflict. Kellner also addresses the issues of class and gender and discusses how “ideologies of gender promote sexist representations of women and ideologies of class, for instance, celebrate upper class life and denigrate the working class.” [pg. 3] Culture will always be a site for controversy and society will continue to reform as new ideologies are created. Culture is also a site where social relationships are produced and reproduced.
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pop culture - Trip Bennewitz Teaching Learning and Popular...

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