Theories of Culture

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  • Theories of culture
    • Marxism
      • Capitalism creates false needs and commodity fetishism
      • Adorno and Horkheimer - mass culture encourages you to think you need to buy things
      • The Frankfurt schools says capitalism creates desires that only capitalism can satisfy
      • Neo Marxism
        • The Frankfurt school suggest:
          • Mass culture is used to dull the minds of the working class
          • Mass culture promotes the capitalist ideology
          • The population are passive victims of mass culture
        • Gramsci - the idea of a single mass culture is too simplistic
          • Capitalism creates a dominant culture
          • Capitalism had to allow some oppositional cultures so it would appear to be a fair system.
        • Hall and others toake a more psitive view of modern culture and prefer the term popular culture.
        • Hall - youth subcultures help the WC resist capitalist values.
    • Funtionalism
      • Based on the ideas of social control but in a more positive way than Marxism.
      • Durkheim describes culture as a kind of social glue.
        • It bonds people together by creating shared interests and puropses
      • Individuals internalise norms and values meaning they become part of who we are.
      • Helps to socialise people into appropriate behaviour.
      • Durkheim called the shared norms and values of society the 'collective consciousness of society'
    • Feminism
      • Culture stereotypes women into roles.
      • Ferguson and Mcrobbie found that magazines promoted traditional female roles
      • Dworkin - images of women in the media encourage and justify violence against women.
      • Some popular culture representations f women can also be empowering
    • Postmodernist
      • Culture is diverse
      • Functionalism is outdated because of their view of of one dominant/shared culture
      • Reject the idea that culture unifies people in society
      • Hall - diversity creates fragmented identities where people can construct their own identity from a range of different cultures.
      • Strinati - culture is still affected by structural factors such as class
    • Interactionism
      • Culture is determined by individuals
      • Culture is partly developed at the bottom of society by the individual
        • If people change the way they act to one another then culture will change too.
      • Goffman - unspoken rules in society
      • Culture comes from peoples own ideas of how to interact with each other


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