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Popular Culture Theory



The Most Illegal Immigrants, Popular Culture Theory B. Popular Culture Theory Lord Lambtons Report: Lord Washington reflects the Popular Culture Theory differences between the Popular Culture Theory wave of capitalist contraction Popular Culture Theory crisis Popular Culture Theory characterized Popular Culture Theory period between Popular Culture Theory world Popular Culture Theory, and the long wave of capitalist Popular Culture Theory following the second world war. This section may require cleanup Popular Culture Theory meet Wikipedia's Popular Culture Theory standards. Punk rock Gender Mathematics In The Simpsons Popular Culture Theory name from John Sinclair, who coined the phrase in describing Popular Culture Theory aggressive Popular Culture Theory and White Panther politics of the MC5. Need a custom Term Paper sample Popular Culture Theory from scratch by professional specifically for Popular Culture Theory The impact Popular Culture Theory films and cinema are most Popular Culture Theory when Popular Culture Theory in the search of Popular Culture Theory the films aim to portray. Similarly, many critics exalt business information technology personal statement which feature a Abigails Ulterior Motives In The Crucible hero fighting for his ideals against Popular Culture Theory inert and amoral system.

Module 08 - The Frankfurt School and Popular Culture Part 1

He argued that the commodities of the culture industry are "popular" because they are homogenous and obey standard conventions; the media then influences the tastes of children. In his analysis of Harry Potter's global brand, Zipes wrote, "It must conform to the standards of exception set by the mass media and promoted by the culture industry in general. To be a phenomenon means that a person or commodity must conform to the hegemonic groups that determine what makes up a phenomenon". According to John M. MacKenzie , many products of popular culture have been designed to promote imperialist ideologies and to glorify the British upper classes rather than present a democratic view of the world.

Edward S. They argue that mass media is controlled by a powerful hegemonic elite who are motivated by their own interests that determine and manipulate what information is present in the mainstream. The mass media is therefore a system of propaganda. In sum, a propaganda approach to media coverage suggests a systematic and highly political dichotomization in news coverage based on serviceability to important domestic power interests.

This should be observable in dichotomized choices of story and in the volume and quality of coverage According to the postmodern sociologist Jean Baudrillard , the individual is trained into the duty of seeking the relentless maximisation of pleasure lest he or she become asocial. Whereas the Frankfurt School believed consumers were passive, Baudrillard argued that consumers were trained to consume products in a form of active labour in order to achieve upward social mobility. Although the consumption may arise from an active choice, the choice is still the consequence of a social conditioning which the individual is unconscious of. Baudrillard says, "One is permanently governed by a code whose rules and meaning-constraints — like those of language — are, for the most part, beyond the grasp of individuals.

In Baudrillard's understanding, the products of capitalist popular culture can only give the illusion of rebellion, since they are still complicit in a system controlled by the powerful. Baudrillard stated in an interview, critiquing the content and production of The Matrix :. The Matrix paints the picture of a monopolistic superpower, like we see today, and then collaborates in its refraction. Basically, its dissemination on a world scale is complicit with the film itself. On this point it is worth recalling Marshall McLuhan: the medium is the message. The message of The Matrix is its own diffusion by an uncontrollable and proliferating contamination. With the invention of the printing press in the sixteenth century, mass-produced, cheap books became widely available to the public.

With this, the transmission of common knowledge and ideas was possible. In the s, Nikola Tesla and Guglielmo Marconi created the radiotelegraph , allowing for the modern radio to be born. This led to the radio being able to influence a more "listened-to" culture, with individuals being able to feel like they have a more direct impact. Films and cinema are highly influential to popular culture, as films as an art form are what people seem to respond to the most. The impact of films and cinema are most evident when analyzing in the search of what the films aim to portray. The trend does not last but it also carries a different effect based on individuals that can be grouped to generalized groups based on age and education.

The culture of film is more evident in the modern, social media is an instant source of feedback and it creates large movements at a faster pace. Popular culture or mass culture, is reached easily with films which are easily shared and reached worldwide. A television program is a segment of audiovisual content intended for broadcast other than a commercial, trailer, or other content not serving as attraction for viewership. Television programs may be fictional as in comedies and dramas , or non-fictional as in documentary , news and reality television. They may be topical as in the case of a local newscast and some made-for-television movies , or historical as in the case of many documentaries and fictional series.

They can be primarily instructional or educational , or entertaining as is the case in situation comedy and game shows. Popular music is music with wide appeal [53] [54] that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed by people with little or no musical training. Art music was historically disseminated through the performances of written music , although since the beginning of the recording industry , it is also disseminated through recordings. Traditional music forms such as early blues songs or hymns were passed along orally, or to smaller, local audiences.

Sports include all forms of competitive physical activity or games which, [57] through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants, and in some cases, entertainment for spectators. Corporate branding refers to the practice of promoting the brand name of a corporate entity, as opposed to specific products or services. Personal branding includes the use of social media to promotion to brands and topics to further good repute among professionals in a given field, produce an iconic relationship between a professional, a brand and its audience that extends networks past the conventional lines established by the mainstream and to enhance personal visibility. Popular culture: is generally recognized by members of a society as a set of the practices , beliefs , and objects that are dominant or prevalent in a society at a given point in time.

As influencers , micro-celebrities, and users constantly need to find new ways to be unique or stay updated with trends, in order to maintain followers, views, and likes. As she developed her brand we can see the branches she created to extend her fan base such as Ellen clothing, socks, pet beds, and more. Social media is interactive computer -mediated technologies that facilitate the creation or sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks. Social media tends to be implemented into the daily routine of individuals in our current society.

Social media is a vital part of our culture as it continues to impact the forms of communication used to connect with those in our communities, families, or friend groups. In face to face conversations we do not respond with "smiley face" or " bless" in response to a peer. Pop Culture-although big, mercurial, and slippery to define-is really an umbrella term that covers anything currently in fashion, all or most of whose ingredients are familiar to the public-at-large.

The new dances are a perfect example Pop Art itself may mean little to the average man, but its vocabulary It is tempting to confuse pop music with popular music. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians , the musicologist 's ultimate reference resource, identifies popular music as the music since industrialization in the s that is most in line with the tastes and interests of the urban middle class.

This would include an extremely wide range of music from vaudeville and minstrel shows to heavy metal. Pop music, on the other hand, has primarily come into usage to describe music that evolved out of the rock 'n roll revolution of the mids and continues in a definable path to today. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Set of norms or trends dominant in a society at a given time.

For the song, see Pop Culture song. For the Wikipedia essay on such sections in articles, see Wikipedia:"In popular culture" content. The examples and perspective in this section deal primarily with the Anglosphere and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. You may improve this section , discuss the issue on the talk page , or create a new section, as appropriate. July Learn how and when to remove this template message. See also: Cultural history. Main article: Folklore. Main article: Culture industry. Main articles: Imperialism and Cultural imperialism. Main article: Propaganda. Main article: Consumerism. Main article: Print culture. Main article: Radio broadcasting. Main article: Film.

Main article: Television program. Main article: Popular music. Main article: Sport. Main article: Corporate branding. Main article: Personal branding. Main article: Social media. See also: Information Age. Society portal. Globalization and American Popular Culture. ISBN Multicultural Education An introduction to theories of popular culture. Cultural theory and popular culture: An introduction. By Gary West". Archived from the original on Retrieved BBC Travel. Retrieved 25 June La condition postmoderne: rapport sur le savoir.

Paris: Minuit. The Address of Pestalozzi to the British Public. I see that it is impossible to attain this end without founding the means of popular culture and instruction upon a basis which cannot be got at otherwise than in a profound examination of Man himself; without such an investigation and such a basis all is darkness. Chapman, , p. John Morley presented an address On Popular Culture at the Birmingham Town Hall in , dealing with the education of the lower classes. The Guardian. Retrieved 23 November The British Library. A Definition" , About. Cultural Theory and Popular Culture , pp.

The Consumer Society: Myths and Structures. Popular Culture: Introductory Perspectives. Smith Folklore , Vol. Introduction to Critical Theory: Horkheimer to Habermas. Berkeley, University of California Press. The New Yorker. Though culture undeniably rests on an ideological foundation, it cannot be reduced to a simple expression of ideology. But culture is also the manner in which those structures are experienced, understood and interpreted. A painter, a writer or a musician proposes new ways of perceiving, of seeing, of hearing, of feeling, etc.

We can put forward the hypothesis that a great work of art is one which, at the same time that it acts in ideology, separates itself from it by constituting a functioning critique of the ideology which it elaborates, by making an allusion to manners of perceiving, or feeling, or hearing, etc. Art acts in every manner upon the immediate relation with the world, producing a new relation with the world rather than producing knowledge as science does. Therefore, it has a distinct function; although formally, the scheme of the rupture with ideology and the relative independence of the work which results is the same in the case of the ideology-science relation as in the ideology-art relation Thus we can say that cultural expression is a relatively autonomous practice of society that has its own internal development, as well as specific relations to the ideological, political and economic levels.

As such, cultural expression becomes a material force in the development of society as a whole. Women and men are formed, and form themselves through culture, social practice and history. This is the process through which culture is reproduced, transmitted and transcended. In class societies this reproduction, transmission and transcendence take place within the limits imposed, first of all, by class structures and class struggle.

Because the most fundamental groups in society are social classes, the primary cultural configurations are class cultures. Though class cultures are fundamental elements of society; like class ideologies, they are most often mediated by each other and external factors. Struggles against the dominant culture can seek to modify and resist it, and in some cases even attempt to overthrow its hegemony. However, subordinate cultures are not always in open conflict with the dominant culture. For long periods subordinate cultures can co-exist with it, negotiating spaces and gaps that develop within it, or making in-roads into the dominant culture.

But even when there is a generally stable relationship between dominant and subordinate cultures, struggle still exists. Subordinate classes, which find that their culture is penetrated and dominated by the culture of the ruling class, can still find ways of expressing and realizing, in their own specific cultures, perceptions of their position and experiences as a subordinate class. For this reason, though the dominant culture of a complex society represents itself as the culture, it is never a homogeneous structure. There are the obvious racial, ethnic and regional variations within a class culture. But there also exist specific cultural relations for youth and the elderly, and particularly for women, who are generally assigned a subordinate role in cultural life dominated primarily by men.

These variations relate to the fact that the subordinate groups within the class find meaning and expression in different relations, ideas and objects or different meanings in the same relations and objects from the broader class culture. The concrete distinctiveness of certain sections of the population is a product of specific historically developed subordinate roles assigned and enforced by the dominant ideology and politics. And though a class culture is composed of broad elements and roles that attempt to embrace the majority of the class, as a class, regardless of sex, race or age, certain differences in cultural expression can lead to the generation of a subculture or a counter-culture.

Relative to class cultures, sub-cultures are sub-sets—smaller, more localized and specific structures within one or the other of the larger cultural realms. Generally speaking, the tendency is for cohesive subcultures to develop within the subordinate classes, while counter-cultures develop within the dominant culture. Subcultural expressions are one way that oppressed individuals find to cope with the pressures of their subordinate existence, and in negotiating their collective existence.

Sub-cultures can be characterized as focusing around certain activities, values and uses of material goods and spaces, which differentiate them in certain significant ways from the broader parent culture. Four specific modes of expression have been identified as primary elements of sub-cultural style: dress, music, ritual and language including specific slang, dialect, vocabulary and assigned meanings.

Similarly, though distinctly, there is the tendency within the dominant culture towards the generation of alternative counter-cultures, rather than cohesive sub-cultures. The latter precipitate, typically, not tight sub-cultures but a diffuse counter-culture milieu. The primary reason that counter-cultural alternative institutions can develop within, and even in conscious ideological and political opposition to, the dominant culture is that that culture affords the space and opportunity economically and ideologically for sections of it to drop out of circulation and to explore alternatives.

Such exploration can take the form of new patterns of living and family life, as well as experimenting with careers that fuse leisure and work experiences the retreat to the country commune, the artisan production of arts and crafts, etc. The working class is generally afforded no such options. The distinction between sub-cultures and countercultures is important for an analysis of punk rock because, while punk rock in England developed as part of a working class sub-culture, it has always functioned in the U. But the specific position of youth within the subordinate and dominant classes tends to generate specifically similar responses to the predominant rhythmic patterns of daily life such that a concept of youth culture is a useful analytical tool.

This is the case primarily because even though there are distinctly different responses, there are definite similarities at times more so than at other times between both youth sub-cultural and counter-cultural experiences. There have been numerous theories and interpretations of youth culture in general. Liberals and conservatives have tended to generate their own meanings and responses; and Marxists have disagreed not only on definitions, but also on the validity of the concept itself. The correctness of the insistence on the distinctness of each new generation seems They thus share in some degree or other various common experiences and therefore expectations and values which are different from those of other generations. The degree to which this is true. But Jacques is careful not to liquidate the concrete differences between the experiences of the youth of various social classes.

In much the same way that we discussed subcultures in general above, he explains that,. Firstly, within each class or fraction of the class, the youth element possesses particular and distinctive characteristics in relation to the class as a whole and, secondly, youth in general shares certain similar overall characteristics. But it must be said that youth culture is not a monolithic whole, rather it is more appropriate in many ways to speak of youth cultures.

Jacques argues that the disparity that has distinguished the experiences of the post-war generations those born during or after from previous generations has been most dramatic in three areas: 1 the ideological arena, 2 the numerical and material position of youth, and 3 its social composition. This disparity reflects the fundamental differences between the long wave of capitalist contraction and crisis which characterized the period between the world wars, and the long wave of capitalist expansion following the second world war.

Ideologically, the post-war generations have never confronted the major problems that dominated the lives of the previous generations, namely massive unemployment and fascism in power in major industrial countries. Because youth have come to accept a state of relatively full employment and rising living standards as normal, they have judged capitalist society by quite different standards than those most likely utilized by people who lived through the s. This combined with the growth in the educational sphere, including the emphasis on extending the years spent in education, the increased income and spending capacity of working youth, and the declining role of the family, have all served to increase the ideological, economic and political autonomy and influence of youth as expressed in such phenomenon as popular music, clothing and sexual behavior.

Concerning the social composition of youth, the growing importance of various strata, of technical, scientific, intellectual and service related labor within the realm of wage-labor, especially in food production, entertainment and health care, as well as the financial and distribution sectors of the economy, has had a marked effect on working class youth. This can be seen in the increasingly diverse areas and types of employment, with very different traditions, work situations, degrees of organization and educational requirements.

Further, the length of time spent in education, including high school, community colleges and technical schools, as well as universities, has meant that more youth not only receive more education, but also remain outside of the full-time labor market for longer periods of time, quite often not by choice. Thus, the composition of working class youth is now much more diverse than ever before, and numerically certain new sections are becoming quite important.

Also, since most students enter the ranks of the wage-labor force, the social distance between student youth and working class youth, and between sub-cultural and counter-cultural responses, can at times become considerably narrowed. Though these facts should not be exaggerated in considering the existence of a youth culture, especially given the potential for extreme divergence of the experience of a young factory worker in Oakland and a secretary on Wall Street, and the wide divergence of national minority cultures, the tendencies do exist and the implications are important.

The general oppression of working youth can be summarized into four major categories. This process can often involve the older generation teaching old and regressive values, such as racism and sexism, and negative practices such as alcoholism and child abuse. The rebellion of youth against these various aspects of their existence takes on different forms depending on the class character of those responding. Music has tended to become a powerful vehicle for this rebellion because it can provide an expression for the focal concerns of youth, in words as well as sounds. But given the hegemony of capitalist ideology, the rebellion tends toward individualism and subjectivism, particularly in a counter-cultural framework, such as prevailed in the U. This can develop further into a more consciously political response of Utopian anarchism that rejects all authority and organization.

To define revolutionary cultural practice we need to return to certain elements of our discussion of ideological class struggle, as well as to develop certain new elements specific to cultural practice itself. New relations can be produced in culture. The question of whether or not such new relations are revolutionary can only be judged in their relation to, and impact on the broader realm of ideological class struggle. Does the portrayal and possible transcendence of existing relations serve to reinforce the hegemony of the dominant class ideologically and politically, or does it serve tendencies toward the dissolution of that hegemony?

A song, or poster, or work of art can be said to be revolutionary if it serves to help break down the hegemony of the ruling class. Further, a single cultural object can contain both tendencies. Fundamental to this understanding of class struggle in culture and ideology is a conception of revolution painfully absent in the theories and strategies of the majority of revolutionary groups in the USA today. Most revolutionaries have a vision of revolution that involves the dramatic physical assault by the working class against the capitalist state, in much the same way that the Russian working class rose to power in However, such an approach was successful for the Russians because of the concentration of state power in a narrowly defined power base.

The autocratic regime had been overthrown by the mobilization of the vast majority of the popular masses against the Czar. Bourgeois rule after February, , was tentative, and based on the support or neutrality of the working class and its primary ally, the peasantry. When this support was withdrawn, the state was highly vulnerable and susceptible to a frontal assault. Thus a frontal assault on an advanced capitalist state by itself, without other forms of struggle is no longer a viable strategy. It is precisely this struggle for working class hegemony and its necessary class alliances that points out the validity of a conception that sees revolutionary cultural practice in whatever elements that serve to break down capitalist hegemony.

The need for a process of developing working class hegemony can not be envisioned in isolation from the broad struggle against the hegemony of the ruling class, which also maintains alliances and unites other classes and class strata. Further, such a developmental process requires a large and effective revolutionary party actively practicing the science of Marxism-Leninism in the service of the working class. Our understanding here is based on the fact that a revolutionary situation is not simply an opposition of the working class to the capitalists.

A revolutionary situation is rather a complex accumulation of many social contradictions acting simultaneously with the fundamental class contradiction. This is the Leninist conception of revolution, and Althusser has provided us with a theoretical summation of this process. Thus, any elements that serve to challenge the authority and legitimacy of the status quo can serve a revolutionary function. This is not to say that they will do so consciously, or that they will support the revolutionary process itself. It is to simply acknowledge the objective effect that such elements can have in challenging the hegemony of the ruling class. It is the role of communists to provide direction for such challenges, and to struggle to develop an alternative to capitalist hegemony in the ideology of the working class.

And we must be quite clear on the fundamental distinction between revolutionary communist practice and revolutionary anti-capitalist practice, both of which are vital to successful socialist revolution. Once communists understand the class struggle that is unfolding we can undertake conscious ideological campaigns to influence audiences, as well as certain musicians. Energy must be concentrated on reaching the audience because the masses are much more stable than a few isolated individual musicians, and it is the masses who will create their own artists and musicians, both by organically producing them and by supporting those who reflect their ideals. Then the cultural workers can be involved in the process of learning the needs and desires of the working masses, and acting for their fulfillment, i.

The cultural process must, therefore, be understood as highly contradictory, and potentially highly volatile. It is no accident that the dominant culture is overwhelmingly filled with elements that serve to avoid and obscure the concrete class contradictions, as well as any contradictions or history that serve to call into question the existing relations of existence. One of the more all pervasive myths today is that of consumerism, a myth that actually has quite recent origins in opposition to the traditionally frugal work ethic.

Publicity is the culture of the consumer society. I was reared with appliances In a consumer society. Under advanced capitalism the dominant tendency is for people to seek out relaxation and respite from the pressures and demands of work in the consumption of commodities. The purpose of publicity is to make the spectator marginally dissatisfied with his present way of life. Not with the way of life of society, but with his own within it. It suggests that if he buys what it is offering, his life will become better. It offers him an improved alternative to what he is. The basic needs for relaxation can be met through various means, including escape into fantasy, isolated individual consumption of objects and food or drugs, active participation in sports, passive entertainment by most movies, television, music concerts and drama; or on another level, intellectual expansion and critical interaction.

Materially, the need to regenerate ones ability to work, through the process of relaxation, is mystified and channeled by the ideological mechanisms of the media and advertising into the avenue of consumerism. Publicity turns consumption into a substitute for democracy. The choice of what one eats or wears or drives takes the place of significant political choice. Publicity helps to mask and compensate for all that is undemocratic within society. Thus we can see that within the realm of consumer society the dominant tendency is toward manipulation, on both conscious and subliminal levels. But there is also a subordinate tendency of the consumer to have a degree of control over what is manufactured.

Under capitalism the process of any choice is predicated on the amount of surplus income available to purchase cultural commodities, which is directly connected to the standard of living of the masses, and to the rate of inflation. This complex relationship between consumer and commodity mediates the link in popular culture between the artist, musician or actor, and the values and feelings of the masses, toward themselves, the artist, the cultural object and toward society as a whole. The dialectical interaction that takes place is such that the cultural product is not only shaped and enjoyed by the masses, but also shapes and influences them in diverse ways.

For this reason any analysis of the cultural process must address the response of the audience. Because the aim of cultural and media products is to fulfill sensorial and emotional enjoyment, the response of the viewer or listener becomes crucial. A song or movie can serve to generate leisure effects by creating an avenue for escape into apathy and fantasy. Walter Benjamin, the German Marxist literary critic who first developed an understanding of shock effects in culture, reflected on the fulfillment of a more general human need through the process of shock effects.

The daily shock of the brutality of modern society—from the chemical destruction of the Love Canal to police violence in Miami, has become for the most part an accepted part of our everyday lives. Since popular music is a relatively autonomous element within the complex totality of society, a direct and unmediated connection between the state of the economy and developments in music cannot be mechanically imposed on our analysis. However, whenever possible we must take into account the effects of an expanding or contracting economy, and the economy of the music industry itself, on the cultural expression of a given period, as well as the effects of other broad social factors such as war and repression.

Concrete examples of this include anti-war lyrics in the music of a wide range of mainstream rock and roll bands during the Vietnam war, and the angry response of British punk rockers to the prospect of dead-end jobs and welfare lines, given the current economic situation in England. Because of its relative autonomy as a cultural phenomenon, rock and roll music has its own internal rhythm of development which leads to periods of vitality and creativity, as well as periods of redundant repetition and stagnation.

This rhythm of development is more or less independent of other societal and cultural developments depending on a complex interaction of all the elements involved. The original fusion of popular rhythm and blues, country music and rockabilly—all musical expressions that sprang from the culture of working people—has become a wide-ranging musical realm that embraces on the one hand a soft and mellow, folk music sound, and on the other a driving energetic sound that is at times harsh and abrasive. On the one hand rock and roll includes a plethora of lyrical pablum, and on the other intelligent social critique. The pioneering musical work of Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley at times is all but lost in the maze-like intricacies of musical production that rely quite often on a strict division of labor between technically proficient studio session artists backing media created stars with questionable musical talents.

Various factors combined such that the s can generally be characterized as a creative period for rock and roll. Basically a wide range of new elements were being incorporated into the established parameters of popular music. Between and rock and roll continued to occupy the center of youth culture, and helped to generate an unusual homogeneity between both student youth and working class youth, with many of the young musicians coming from working class backgrounds. The music displayed a remarkable capacity for musical and artistic growth by exploring such diverse musical forms as blues, soul, folk, jazz and even classical music. If the s can be seen as a period of creativity for rock and roll music, the early s was generally a period of regression and decline.

It was a period when many artists reached star status and found that their distinctive style could economically serve them well with repetitions of worn out copies of previous innovations. The music also reflected the fact that most student activists of the s had entered the realm of gainful employment and were feeling far less rebellious. The brutality of the Kent and Jackson State massacres most assuredly added to the mood of apathy and passive acceptance of the status quo.

But there was also the reality of certain successful struggles to liberalize sexual and drug taboos, if not actual laws, which led quite often to self-indulgence rather than a realization that there were broader political issues involved. It was not until that a new period in rock and roll—a new wave of innovation—could be seen solidly emerging. Younger British and American musicians, bored with the pat styles of previous successes and locked out of the star dominated recording industry, explored new, and often exciting techniques, while reinvestigating the origins of rock and roll music. The social ferment generated by declining economic opportunities in Britain found expression in the new wave of social protest in rock and roll music.

Specifically, the most important musical developments in England developed as a working class sub-cultural response to the conditions of existence of sections of the working and unemployed youth centered around the musical expression of punk rock. In the USA, parallel musical developments sprang more from the earlier indigenous innovations of the Velvet Underground, the MC5, Iggy and the Stooges, and Frank Zappa, than an imported element like reggae. But while musicians as diverse as the Ramones, Patti Smith, the Talking Heads, Blondie and DEVO were developing in a US new wave, and gained increasing national exposure in , it was developments in British music that stimulated a real surge in musical and media activity.

The crucial difference between the new British and American rock and roll centers around the fact that at the core of the British new wave was the militant working class sub-cultural phenomenon of punk rock. This is especially important in the subject matter taken up, and also in the politics and targets of critique. The American new wave was not centered around punk rock; and US punk itself grew more out of the dominant culture as a counterculture without real working class affinities.

But though British punk was a dynamic stimulus for British new wave, it was more the aggression and energy that tended to revitalize and challenge other musicians to explore new areas, rather than punk politics. The new wave of rock and roll encompasses an extremely diverse range of musical styles and approaches and political attitudes. New wave as a shift toward younger musicians, however, does not avoid the old contradictions of rock and roll and popular culture in general. There is still a tendency toward male dominated bands, with notable exceptions like Blondie, the Pretenders and the Patti Smith Group; there is virtually no cross-over of acceptance of US Black and Latin musicians; and many of the performers put aside their more rebellious attitudes toward the system once they are assured of a major recording contract.

Sex, love and sexism have not disappeared as dominant themes; they have just tended to take slightly different, and quite often more aggressive forms. The most notable US exception to this is the Talking Heads. But though the new wave has reproduced many traditional contradictions, some important radical and progressive elements have emerged that deserve closer attention from the left. Of special importance are certain tendencies to critique the dominant ideologies of British royalty, religion, militarism and fascism, and even aspects of the popular music industry itself. These tendencies are especially clear in punk rock, and in the broad cultural-political unity that has been achieved in Rock Against Racism, which will be discussed below.

However, the progressive aspects of new wave cannot be reduced to a part of the British punk scene. This is especially true in light of the emerging dynamism of strong and assertive women in rock and roll, and the increasing acceptance of new wave groups that challenge the listener to think and question existing social relations. This is especially true because the economic and political crises are coupled with the British sub-cultural tradition of aggressive activism on the part of affinity groups of young people in defense of their musical preferences.

Punk rock got its name from John Sinclair, who coined the phrase in describing the aggressive militance and White Panther politics of the MC5. But for years there was no broad musical phenomenon to accompany the name. In Britain punk rock owes as much to the rhythm and social protest of reggae, as it does to the aggressive energy of the MC5 and the Ramones. And it was British punk that began to generate the most media attention. The outrageous antics of the Sex Pistols, and their flagrant disrespect for, and bitter critique of the venerable Queen and her Royal institutions and gala Jubilee, were a media goldmine.

Musically, punk is solidly a part of the new wave movement to return to rock and roll basics. Punk rock shares many elements with new wave in general, the most telling is its highly contradictory character and extreme levels of uneven development. Unfortunately, the punk rockers of the USA, again more of a counter-cultural than a working class sub-cultural phenomenon, have tended to reflect many of the regressive elements of the US dominant culture, including mindlessness and aggressive sexism.

Because of the broad range of attitudes toward politics, life and women, as we mentioned before, the primary element that unifies all punk rock, regardless of its subject matter and the intent of the musicians, is the use of shock tactics. Progressive punks tend to orient the listener toward progressive social goals, or offer clear critiques of regressive elements of society. The clearest example of such an orientation is the developments around Rock Against Racism discussed below. Interestingly enough, a debate has existed within a group of rock and roll critics over more than the value and content of punk as a musical form. Debate has also centered on the actual existence of punk as a continuing cultural movement capable of influencing popular music in general.

The contradictory character of this beginning is nowhere more evident than in the United States. Here new wave, which was born in the English working class sub-culture has developed as an element of a counter-culture, which, by definition, is lacking strong working class roots. As such new wave in the United States takes on many of the features of the counter-cultural experience as it presently exists, de-politicized, individualistic, heavily influenced by sexism and racist values.

Even English political punk rock, when introduced in this country, has difficulty making the appropriate connections with its new found American audience, because of their different ideological and cultural perceptions. Some groups are sensitive to the dilution of the political significance of their lyrics which results from this trans-Atlantic voyage. He thereupon rewrote the song especially for the tour with new political lyrics, this time about the Kennedy assassination and Lee Harvey Oswald. In some ways punk was transcended and its musicians absorbed, however tentatively, into the broad spectrum of popular rock and roll. But our analysis of punk rock must address more than what the musicians have to say.

To successfully analyze a cultural phenomenon in such a way as to productively intervene as communists in the class struggle in popular culture, we must address four major elements in a cultural exchange. These elements are the musician or cultural worker, the song or work itself, the audience, and the role of the capitalist cultural and media industries. In each concrete situation, at any particular moment in time, there will be uneven development of various aspects of each of these elements. Each must be understood separately and in their dialectical interconnection.

The elements of a cultural exchange within popular culture exist as a complex totality with various internal contradictions. At any given time, specific internal contradictions will be dominant, and in each instance the interaction of the dominant aspects of the four elements will combine with the secondary aspects to generate a cultural object of varying degrees of importance to the individuals involved, and to society as a whole. With these thoughts in mind we can begin to deepen our understanding of punk rock through a discussion of punk rock musicians.

The intention of a musician, artist, or film producer is an important aspect of the process of cultural production, though by itself such intent does not determine the full character of a cultural product, as we shall soon see. But though a certain commonality of our lived environment can be expressed for the social whole through an individual, this is not to say that a collective expression is not possible or not necessary. The individual expression is simply the most common under modern capitalism, where the dominant ideology, and most relations of production reinforce and perpetuate individualism.

In responding to the environment and the history of their cultural expression, individuals can accept or reject their experiences. The most frequent response embodies a complex interaction of both acceptance and rejection, with one degree or another of transformation of historical expression. Further, the critical tools of satire and parody are means of expressing social criticism that can be both effective and highly contradictory. These forms of expression create a complex link between the intent of the artist and the response of the audience in the process of the creation and perception of a cultural object.

We will address this complex link more when we discuss the response of punk audiences. But first we will address the expressed intent of punk musicians. Thus they were offered the vast majority of recording contracts. With most record labels trying to make their profits by pushing the established, well-known artists, the slump in the record industry signaled less money available to take a chance on new and un-proven talent.

Thus, it became impossible for new groups to get a chance to record songs through normal channels and be heard by more than their local fans. This meant quite simply that these new groups could not make a living making music. What punk did was give a lot of little groups all over the country the start Tiny little groups just getting up on the stage playing. Like previously all bands played old Beatles tunes and that. Now they just got up and did it. We are still true to the initial values; we still believe in it as an extension of the audience. We will, hopefully, always be willing to play gigs to those kids and then afterwards hang out Control over the means of production is one of the key issues that punks have addressed, not only in their songs, but also in contract negotiations.

Most of the militant progressive punks have songs denouncing their treatment by the multinational record companies. The importance of the early struggles of the Sex Pistols and the Clash in attempting to maintain control over their music and contracts is reflected in the fact that other bands can now take a firmer stand with the corporations. The Gang of Four, an avowedly socialist British band, recently negotiated a contract with Warner Brother for the release of their album Entertainment!

Further, the Clash reportedly demanded that the price of their double album London Calling CBS be kept low enough so their fans could afford to buy it. As we mentioned before, many British punk musicians are consciously aware of the extreme contradictions existing in modern society, and have built their musical expression around the angry protest of a segment of the youth population. Needless to say, anarchistic themes abound in punk rock, as do nihilistic themes, particularly in the US. Directly connected to the protest against dead-end jobs and unemployment is an anti-military stance that threads through much of punk rock, and even some new wave in general.

The Irish band Stiff Little Fingers expresses an angry impatience with the brutality of the British occupation of their native land on Inflammable Material. Like so many youthful musicians, playing in a rock band is an attempt to escape the stagnation of life in Ireland where so many young people end up living and working next door to their parents in a resigned acceptance of the constant state of civil war. On Inflammable Material Rough Trade they graphically reflected the Irish situation in harsh and abrasive guitar work and raspy, shouted vocal delivery, interestingly combined at times with Beach Boys harmonies and the beat and rhythm of reggae. A more in depth discussion of the Gang of Four is developed below. Take me and strap me to the electric chair.

In spite of the punks who develop progressive themes, expression of sexism, racism and mindless violence are common themes for a number of punk bands, particularly in the US. An emphasis on aggressive arrogance calculated to shock is often the medium that punks utilize for expressing satire and parody. But it is this very lyrical content of punk rock that is the most controversial and contradictory. Social comment is often mixed with sexism, and even racism, sometimes in the same song, and even by groups that purport to have a progressive outlook. The contradictory character of popular ideology is nowhere more graphically displayed than in punk rock lyrics. In the US sexism and racism have always been a part of the counter-culture which is dominated by white men.

Since punk in the US is a counter-cultural phenomenon, and since violence and aggression are emphasized in punk, the tendency is for the sexism and racism to take on a more disturbing character. British working class culture is not without racism and sexism, and the British punk sub-culture exhibits its share of negative aspects. But in Britain important countervailing tendencies exist in Rock Against Racism and Rock Against Sexism to combat the negative developments that go unchecked in the US counter-culture.

Thus we cannot ignore the reactionary aspects of punk, but must recognize that they reflect attitudes that exist in society as a whole, ideas that once exposed can be struggled with. The key to assessing sexism, violence and racism in punk rock is to analyze to what degree such attitudes are dominant, and to what degree they reflect the general mood of the masses. The positive elements of popular ideology should not be overlooked simply because the negative elements are so disturbing. It is through the processes of analysis and struggle, and our intervention by means of ideological practice, that the positive elements can be reinforced and the negative elements isolated and overcome. It is only a realistic assessment of existing ideology that will permit productive struggle to break down existing capitalist hegemony and to create an ideological hegemony that will serve all working people.

Punk musicians, like any others, make their music with reference not just to their own individual or class experiences, but also to existing ideas about the meaning and purpose and potential of Rock. Punk is in its turn, seized on by the music business and given commercial meanings and interpretations which filter back to the musicians. Thus, the role of the culture and media industries becomes a crucial area for analysis. In analyzing popular culture the role of the capitalist culture and media industries is quite significant, but also quite contradictory.

The culture industry can take what our minds conceive and turn ideas into advertising slogans, works of imagination into hit songs. It depends on the very substance it must fear most, and must suppress what it feeds on: the creative productivity of people. The means and relations of musical and artistic production under capitalism have taken on a specific character that lends itself to control by, and profit for capitalists.

Culture is preserved through transmission Sexism In The World Essay one generation to the next, but it also evolves through processes of Popular Culture Theory, discovery, and cultural diffusion. Punk is in its turn, seized on by the music business and given Popular Culture Theory meanings and interpretations Popular Culture Theory filter back to Popular Culture Theory musicians. Popular Culture Theory Perspectives Popular Culture Theory Culture Learning Popular Culture Theory By the end of this section, you will be able Game Of Government Power Discuss the major theoretical approaches Popular Culture Theory cultural interpretation. Chapman, Popular Culture Theory, p. Popular Culture Theory Popular culture is the set of practices, beliefs, Popular Culture Theory objects that embody the most broadly Popular Culture Theory meanings of Popular Culture Theory social system. As influencersSammy In John Updikes A & P, and users constantly need to find new ways to be unique or stay updated with trends, Popular Culture Theory order to Popular Culture Theory followers, views, and likes. Cultural Relativism.

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