POPULAR CULTURE POST MID TERM I
PERSPECTIVES ON CULTURE & CONSUMERISM
Associated with the Frankfurt School in the early decades of the twentieth century and the writings of the Birmingham Centre for Cultural Studies (begun in 1964). Both of these groups began to look at culture as a force shaping lived human experience, rather than at the level of abstract generalization. Their focus was on examining the function of culture in everyday life and its role in a system of social hierarchy and domination. These studies eventually began to build on Antonio Gramsci's (1891-1937) concept of hegemony to demonstrate how class or gender rule is supported not only by overt mechanisms of law and the exercise of power, but is pervasively dispersed throughout society in institutional structures and cultural beliefs and values. Cultural studies now include a substantial portion of sociological work.
A sociology developed by the Frankfurt school that is influenced by divergent intellectual ideas, including Marxism and psychoanalysis. It starts from two principles: opposition to the status quo and the idea that history can be potentially progressive. Together these principles imply a position from which to make judgments of human activity (rather than just describing) and provide the tools for criticism. Sometimes associated with highlighting the ‘dark side’ of modernity, critical theory attacks social ideas and practices which stand in the way of social justice and human emancipation (the rational organization of society as an association of free people). Critical theory is opposed to ‘bourgeois liberalism’.
Sociological perspectives that focus on the inherent divisions of societies with social inequality and the way these social divisions give rise to different and competing interests. The central assumption is that social structures and cultural ideas tend to reflect the interests only of some members of...