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Intro to Sociology: You May Ask Yourself Chapter Three

by: Leah Notetaker

Intro to Sociology: You May Ask Yourself Chapter Three SOC 101- 406 (, Peter Hart-Brinson)

Marketplace > University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire > SOC 101- 406 (, Peter Hart-Brinson) > Intro to Sociology You May Ask Yourself Chapter Three
Leah Notetaker

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About this Document

These notes cover the third chapter of You May Ask Yourself. Material covered includes media, culture, and how they affect us and shape us to who we are.
Intro to Sociology
Peter K. Hart-Brinson
Class Notes
sociology, Introduction to Sociology, Media, Culture, massmedia, Society, youmayaskyourself
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Leah Notetaker on Friday October 7, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOC 101- 406 (, Peter Hart-Brinson) at University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire taught by Peter K. Hart-Brinson in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 88 views.

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Date Created: 10/07/16
YMAY CHAPTER 3 Chapter Three  Media and culture have always been closely related.  Media are merely a reflection of larger trends. What is Culture?  Culture- set of beliefs, traditions, and practices; the sum of the social categories and concepts we embrace in addition to beliefs, behaviors (except for instinctual), and practices; everything but the natural environment around us  Culture is always relative because cultures vary around the world. o Colonialization played a role in the realization of this.  Ethnocentrism- belief that one’s own culture or group is superior to others, and the tendency to view all other cultures from the perspective of one’s own. o During the eighteen and nineteenth centuries in Europe, the mass production of goods helped the middle class grow, thus changing the social and political climate, especially in Great Britain, even helping to break ethnocentrism. o Matthew Arnold: “Culture is the pursuit of perfection and broad knowledge of the world in contrast to narrow self-centeredness and material gain.”  Everything is a component of culture, save for the natural components of the world.  Non-material culture- values, beliefs, behaviors, and social norms  Material culture- everything is a part of our constructed, physical environment o (ex. Mount Rushmore, x-rays, Hondas, Everyman) How We View Culture  Culture is more noticeable in a foreign context. o (ex. shaking hands, kissing on the cheek) o Even words in our language have culture, as they may not have a direct translation in another. o Racial, sexual, and other equality matters widely vary from culture to culture.  Ideology- a system of concepts and relationships, an understanding of cause and effect o (ex. democracy, science, religion) o Ideologies do not always stand forever. (ex. Soviet Union)  Cultural relativism- taking into account the differences across cultures without passing judgement or assigning value o Sometimes, a culture may practice things which contradict universal human rights o (ex. Wife beating, clitoris cutting)  Cultural scripts- modes of behavior and understanding that are not universal or natural; symbolic meanings o Can be used to better understand the lives of others.  Subculture- distinct cultural values and behavioral patterns of a particular group in society; a group of individuals united by sets of concepts, values symbols, and shared meanings specific to members of that group distinctive enough to distinguish it from others within the same culture or society o (ex. gothic subculture) Components of Culture  Values- moral beliefs, often affected by culture o (ex. Individualism in America/ American dream; pull yourself up, “rags to riches”)  Norms- how values tell us to behave, often taught from a young age, sometimes in adulthood  Socialization- society’s values, beliefs, and norms that have been internalized Theories  Reflection theory- idea that culture is a projection of social structures and relationships into the public sphere, a screen onto which the film of the underlying reality or social structures of a society is projected o (ex. Rap music is violent because the world is violent)  But this theory has some issues. o It does not explain why some cultural products have staying power and others don’t. (ex. Mozart) o And some products change meaning over time. (ex. Shakespeare is only considered high art now.) o This theory is also unidirectional. What are Media?  Media- any formats, platforms, or vehicles that carry, present, or communicate information o (ex. newspaper, books, television, websites) o Media are among the first visible forms of culture in modern society. o The first form of mass media were books. As the printing press spread, larger audiences were able to read books. Then came film and television, videos, blockbusters, VHS, DVDs, records, cassette tapes, CDs, the internet, and more and more are being created today. Media & Culture  Hegemony- condition by which dominant groups use their powers to elicit the voluntary “consent” of the masses o By this, media reflects culture and works to produce it. o This often happens in private institutions. (ex. church, family, media) Media Life Cycle 1. How People Create Media 2. How Media Shape Culture 3. How Media Reflect Culture 4. How Individuals and Groups Use Media to Shape Culture Analyzing Culture  Textual analysis goes over media content in various forms. o (ex. How many Asian leads on television? How many women?) o Thus, audience studies are born. o The debate over the effect television has on children is always on. o We experience texts by our own critical, interpretive, and analytical processes.  Cultural Production- before it becomes history, it must happen in the present. o Power boards of directors regulate the media. (ex. writers, directors) o All media producers have bias. The Effects of Media  Media may produce effects: o Short term and intended o Short term and unintended o Long term and intended o Long term and unintended  Media may still reinforce racist ideologies, even if not blatant. o (ex. Post Katrina. One picture of a white person with grocery items, one with a black person doing the same. White person = surviving, black person = looting)  Media in the West are accused of sexism towards women as well. o (ex. some ads having “unrealistic” beauty standards, some perpetuate violence towards women) o Again, the effects are up for debate and study. Freedom (or lack of) of the Press  The Freedom of the Press is not always very open. o In the U.S., advertising financially supports broadcasting companies. o When ownership lies in the hands of a few people, censorship is thought to be much higher. o It may be easier to post an alternate view on the Internet than broadcast it on television, for example. What Do We Consume?  America is a consumer culture with big corporate marketing.  Consumerism- the steady acquisition of material possessions, often with the belief that happiness and fulfillment can be achieved if one does such o Children, especially low income ones, are targeted. (ex. Pop products in school, Channel One) o The purchase of “in” products in low income families is often done to be seen a socially resonant. o Middle class and upper class families downplay consumerism, strangely enough. o A thought: If all school children wore uniforms, it would bring “sameness” to diminish differences and lead to less consumerism of clothing brands, for example. Keeping Up the Fair Fight  People can take back and use the media for their own ends.  Culture jamming- the act of turning the media against themselves o Done to resist consumer culture and consumerism; ads are viewed as propaganda o (ex. Joe Camel promoted smoking for a cigarette company, was removed after being accused of targeting children.) Conclusion  In conclusion, there are many cultures all around us, and there are many ways to view it, especially through that of a critical lens and our own analytical thoughts.


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