Religious studies 2812 religion and popular culture
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Religious Studies 2812: Religion and Popular Culture. What is Culture?.

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Religious studies 2812 religion and popular culture

Religious Studies 2812:Religion and Popular Culture


What is culture
What is Culture?

  • Anthropological definition of Culture: “The system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviours, and artifacts that the members of society use to cope with their world and with one another, and that are transmitted from generation to generation through learning.” (Bates & Plog, p. 7).

  • UN definition of Culture: ”A set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of society or a social group and that it encompasses, in addition to art and literature, lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, traditions and beliefs".  (http://www.unesco.org/education/imld_2002/unversal_decla.shtml)]

  • Definition of ‘high culture:’ “High culture is often associated with art forms such as opera, classical music, ballet, literature and fine arts. It is widely perceived as the work of professional artists, serious in intent, valuable, and aimed mainly at an elite and educated audience.” http://www.vceart.com/resources/glossary/glossary.html

  • Culture, “High Culture” and

    “Pop” Culture - some definitions


Pop culture
“Pop” Culture

Pop Culture: “The opposite of high cultural art forms, such as the opera, historic art, classical music, traditional theater or literature; popular culture includes many forms of cultural communication including newspapers, television, advertising, comics, pop music, radio, cheap novels, movies, jazz, etc. In the beginning of the 20th Century, "high art" was the realm of the wealthy and educated classes while popular culture or "low art" was considered commercial entertainment for the lower classes. In the 1950s and 60s the gulf between high and low art closed with the rise of Pop Art…in which artists incorporated imagery and/or media from popular culture such as advertisements, mass produced objects, movies, and comics.” (www.artsconnected.com)


Is pop culture really pop
Is Pop culture really pop?

Theories of Popular Culture:

Aristocratic theory of Mass culture (pop culture = threat to “civilization,” moral degeneracy, undermining true values of religion, art, civilization. )

Socialist Theory of Cultural Industry and Consumer Capitalism: the Masses dominated by elite culture industry, that tells people what to like, what to choose, what to watch… so as to sell products. - Marxist point, who owns the Means of cultural production?


Corporate rap
Corporate Rap?

  • Corporate sponsorship - ‘Its about the bling, not the art…’?

  • VOD & Reebok - has pop culture gone completely corporate?


Where s the spoof
Where’s the Spoof?

  • The commercialization of pop culture fads, the commercialization of spoofing pop culture fads!

  • Terry Tate, Office Linebacker - Superbowl ad makes Reebok 9th most active website on the web - pop culture = corporate marketing?


Theories of pop culture con t
Theories of Pop Culture, con’t.

  • Pop Culture as “dialogic” - Pop Culture as the combination of culture industry creations, folkloric elements, “high” culture elements, counter-cultural elements, etc. - various communities of discourse engaged in production, consumption, counter-production, commentary, acceptance, rejection, etc. of cultural products.

    - Fans/consumers as “textual poachers” - “those who appropriate popular texts and reread them in a fashion that serves different interests… fans construct their cultural and social identity through borrowing and inflecting mass culture images, articulating concerns which often go unvoiced within the dominant media.” (Jenkins 1992, p.23)


Consumers fans as textual poachers
Consumers/Fans as Textual Poachers?

  • Cross-over pop culture - cultural products enter popular consciousness, become metaphor, commentary on other social phenomena.

  • Pop culture as “reflexive” - looking at itself, reinterpreting itself?

  • Nerf Herder (punk/pop) - Star Wars, Buffy, Trek crossovers.


Consumers fans as textual poachers1
Consumers/Fans as Textual Poachers?

  • Cultural products as transgressive (het, slash videos, fanfic, etc. - ‘if Viacom won’t tell this story, I will…’


Theories of pop culture con t1
Theories of Pop Culture, con’t.

Pop Culture as Subversive - idea that Pop Culture can challenge mainstream norms, undermine political hegemonies, etc.

Dixie Chicks political protest - subversive?

New verb - to be “dixie chicked”?

Conspiracy theories… were the Dixie chicks ever blacklisted?


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