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Unformatted text preview: Question 4: Hortense Powdermaker: her Hollywood study, hypothesis and goals Hypothesis: the social system in which Hollywood movies are made significantly influence their content and meaning. Certain individuals have the power to greatly influence movies while others are relatively powerless Her definition of a social system: a complex coordinated network of mutually adapted patterns and ideas which control or influence Her purpose: to understand and interpret Hollywood, its relationship to the dreams it manufactures and to our society Her situation and position during her study : acted as a detached scientist, was a part- time visiting professor of anthropology at the University of California in Los Angeles Her criteria: 1. The degrees to which the Hollywood system of production was oriented to maintain and strengthen qualities essential to its product (which is storytelling) 2 . How well the system utilizes its resources Hollywood emphasizes some but excludes other characteristics of American society A unique trait of modern (at that time late 1940s) is the manipulation of people through mass communications Movies emphasize and reinforce a set of values based on glamour and excess beyond the average American lifestyle Movies meet some of modern mans deepest needs o Abating insecurity that results from societys apprehension (caused by world wars, atomic bomb, struggle between democracy and totalitarianism, growing feeling of isolation/loneliness, decreased belief in change since America is not expanding as rapidly anymore, social mobility is decreasing) o An art form that allows men to escape from his daily life o Gives the illusion of companionship In Hollywood there is far more confusion and anxiety than in the society in which surrounds it...
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- Spring '08