What is culture

Culture means the way of life, beliefs, customs, values, knowledge, roles and norms in a society. 

It is the way of life in a society.

Culture is socially transmitted (Passesd on throyugh socialisation) 


identifiable group within a culture

members share values and behaviour patterns which are diffrent from mainstream norms

Can be resistance to mainstream culture 

(Punks and goths)

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Does mass culture replace Folk Culture?

Folk culture is the culture of[re-industrial society. 

Includes, fairytales, folk dances, folk songs and rituals.

It is passed on through mouth

Sociologits look at the way the culture changes from villages into towns and cities 

Robert Redfield said that folk societies were bases in strong extended families, supportive communities and a local culture. In urban societies these were not present.

Georg Simmel argued that urban societies showed a reduced sense of community, and that urban people were more selfish

Frankfurt School said that reduced sense of community was linked to the developemnt of a mass culture. He said that media had become a strong sense of socialisation, and it was wiping out the diffrences between local cultures. Instead, it looked more and more like there was just one big culture, shared by everyone.

Mass culture is used not just to describe the effects of the media, but also refer to fashion and other types of consumption.

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High and low culture

The elite tend to have a distinct culture from the masses

High culture = opera, arty french films, shakespear

Low culture = Fast food, Hollywood films, soap operas

High culture is generally considered more difficult to appreciate and the audience is een as educated and having good taste, it is seen to be good for society

A lot of funding for high culture has come from a low culture source

Some customers have been hostile to the idea that the lottery is used to pay for arty dances and thertre companies 

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No such thing as Low culture

The idea of high culture and low culture are very negative

Bourdieu says the whole idea of high culture is to give status to elite groups. he says statues is maintained by passing on cultural knowledge 

Marxist argues that high culture is just ruling class culturem and that ruling class have imposed their idea of culture on the rest of society, and defined it as better than working-class culture.

Some marxist will argue that so-called low culture is just as complex and sophisticated as high culture. They use the term popular culture that is more positive.

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Popular culture

Mass and low culture are both concepts that are bases on the idea os a passive audience

They assume that the audience is being manipulated by the media

Popular culture is a concept that is bases on the idea of an active audience. This audience shapes and changes culture. 

The centre for Contemporary Culture Studies did a lot of research into the way this happens in youth fashions and subcultures

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Marxist view on culture

Adorno and Horkheimer argued that ,mass culture encourages you to think you need to buy things when you don't. You don't need these things such as the way you need food. It creates a false need/

Commodity fetishism is where false needs create a obsession and desires about consumer goods 

Frankfurt School nsais that the commodity fetishism was like a religion becaise capitism creates desires that only capitislism can satisfy. This means that we can think capitlism is good because it gives us what we want. 

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Neo-marxists (working class oppressed by capitalis

Frankfurt school decided that the main way of transmitting capitalist ideology was through the media.

They argued that mass culture hel[ed capitalism to oppress the working class by destroying community and individuality. It also encourages acceptance of authority and discourage people from thinking for themselves

The Frankfurt school argued that things like newspapee horoscopes were used to suggesr a person life experiences were down to luck or fate, rather than social structures or personal actions. Tv and radio advertising reinforced the values of capitalism.

Capitalism used mass culture to prevent revolution from ever happening

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Neo-marxist disagree with Frankfurt school

The italian thinker Antonio Gramsci said that the idea od a singlke mass culture was too simplistic

Gramsci thought that capitalism creates a big dominant culture (Hememony)

Gramsci belives that capitalism w=had to tolerate some oppositional culture, rather than stamp them out. By allowing some opposition to exit, he said capitalism could create the illsuision that it was a fair system/

He had a big influence on the work of Marxist like Sturta Hall of the Centre for Xontemporry Cultural studies. Hall says that youth subcultures help[ working class youths to resist capatlist values

Hall and other neo-marxists who take a more positive, optimisticv view of modern culture, prefer trhe term popular culture to mass culture

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Functionalist see culture as a bond

Functionalists belive that structures off society are set up to allow society to run as smoothly as possible. Durkheim's functionalist theroy of clture is also based on the iddea od social control, but is more positive than Marxist.

1) Durkeim's functionalist perspective describes culture as a kind of social glue. It bond speople together  bycreating shared intrests and purposed

2) Individual internalise the norms and values. This means tose norms and values become a part of who you ae (Your identity) 

3) The result is consensu, which means everyone sharing the same norms and values - Durkein xalled the shared norms and values that hold society together, the collective consciousness of society

4) Helps socialise people into appropriate behaviour 

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Postmodernism argue that it is diverse

Say that functionalism is outdaed. They argue that it is diverse

Postmodernists reject the isea that culture helps to unify people into society 

Stuart Hall says that diversity in fragmented identities. Peop;e can construct their identity from a range of diffrent culktures. Layers of identity can include nationality, genderm ethnicity, religion and political beliefs. Hall links this with the rise of social movements such as Feminism and black poert. He says that people have constructed their own identities dduvh as British Muslim as a responce to globalisation

Dominic Stiniti agrees with some postmodern ideas, but he says that culture is alos affected by structual factorslike class

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During 1970 and 198-, many femisnist researched that the relationship between popular  culture and gender socialisation. Most of these studies suggested that popular culture steryotype wopmen into roles such as housewives.

Ferguson and McRobbie studied magazines, and found that they promoted tradional female roles

Radical feminists, such as Andrea Dworkin in her study of ***********, suggest that many images of women in popular culkture encouraged and justify violece against women

Femanists have argued that popular culture representations sof women can also be empowering.  

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