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Sociology Lecture#3.docx - Sociology Lecture#3 Wednesday...

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Sociology Lecture #3 Wednesday, May 17 th 2017 Culture A system of behaviors, beliefs, knowledges, practices, values, and material artifacts such as buildings, tools, and sacred items Material and Non-Material Cultures are contested Authenticity Dominant culture The culture that through its political and economic power, is able to impose its values, language, and ways of behaving and interpreting behaviour on a given society Often represented in the media Countercultures and Subcultures Countercultures exist in opposition to the power of the dominant culture and challenge it o Is a minority culture, ex: hippie movement 1960s, biker gangs, goths Subculture is the culture of a group of people who share a distinctive set of beliefs and practices that differed in some significant way from the dominant culture without directly opposing it o Ex: queer sub culture, interest in computers o Do not pose a significant opposition to mainstream, just exist outside of it High Culture The culture of the elite Ex: arts, ballet, classical music Cultural capital (Pierre Bourdieu): set of skills and knowledge needed to acquire these sophisticated tastes These things became high culture because elite was consuming it Popular Culture vs. Mass Culture Popular culture – the culture of the majority, especially those who don’t have power o Because it is consumed by the majority it cannot be considered high culture o Very deliberately curated, agencies of “forecasters” have big companies as clients ex: colour of the season Mass culture – refers to people who have little or no agency in the culture they consume o Big companies dictate what people watch by value and belief and mass culture is in fact created by those in power for the masses
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Role of agency (ability of people to be creative and productive with what they want to buy) o Forest Bebblin “conspicuous consumption” people are willing to buy certain products because of the status symbol they have ex: buying a Prada handbag o Mass culture not popular culture because people are being fed certain narratives o Sociologists maintain that consumers of media are reading the media text vs. mass culture deciphers the texts. Reading =
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