Marxism Paper

Marxism Paper - Leong 1 Com 385 2/11/10 Marxism in The O.C....

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Leong 1 Com 385 2/11/10 Marxism in The O.C. An interesting way to analyze mediated messages is by Marxist analysis. Marxism is concerned with dialectic between two competing sides. More specifically, Marxism deals with the different class distinctions between the elite and the working classes. Using a Marxist analysis of media is a way to distinguish not only the working class from the bourgeoisie class, but also to demonstrate how the bourgeoisie class manipulates the proletariat in the social and economic structure. A Marxist critic would argue that The O.C. creates a sense of false consciousness by depicting a young man from the working class rise is social status when he is taken into a member of the bourgeoisie’s home. While Marxist analysis incorporates the fundamental principles of Marxism, it does not necessarily mean that these types of critics are Communists. Berger says, “One can be a Marxist critic of the media without being a communist and without believing in the necessity of revolution and the establishment of a classless society by violent means,” (Berger 44). One of the main ideas behind Marxist criticism is materialism. A Marxist analysis is concerned with class and believes that materialism is a component associated with class. Although materialism usually implies negative connotations, materialism for a Marxist is not necessarily a bad thing. There is a considerable distinction between those who do have class and material possessions and those who do not. Marxists base their criticism on the modes of production, which is essentially Capitalism. Capitalism is the base of the economic system, which consists of two distinct classes, those who control the means of production and those who work in the means of production. Berger says, “This economic system influences, in profound and complicated ways, the “superstructure,” or
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Leong 2 institutions and values, of a given society,” (Berger 46). The base is the economic foundation for a society at a given time, which in turn shapes that society’s institutions, art, religion, and culture. Although traditional Marxists claim that the base solely influences the superstructure, the majority of Marxists now believe that the superstructure and base influence each other simultaneously. The modes of production discussed in the economic system are a separation of classes, which are the bourgeoisie, who are the elite, and the proletariat, who are the peasants. The relationship between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat create a class conflict. The class conflict between these two groups coincides with the power that the bourgeoisie class holds over the proletariat. Marxists argue that mediated messages create a power the bourgeoisie uses to manipulate the proletariat by using false consciousness. Berger states, “The mass media and popular culture are centrally important in the spread of false consciousness, in leading people to believe that ‘whatever is, is right’. From this perspective the mass media and popular
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This note was uploaded on 01/10/2011 for the course COMS 385 taught by Professor Besel during the Winter '10 term at Cal Poly.

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Marxism Paper - Leong 1 Com 385 2/11/10 Marxism in The O.C....

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