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Cultural Studies - Assignment Example

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Scholars within the cultural studies tradition often describe media audiences as being active. Within this definition is the understanding that media is at all times open to interpretation. While there is a message meant to be delivered from the respective television network, internet source, radio station, newspaper etc…
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Cultural Studies
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Download file to see previous pages Stuart Hall defines culture as, "actual grounded terrain of practices, representations, languages and customs of any specified society (Hall, 1996)." By this definition, western culture is its own society, but when referred to, the regions most commonly thought of as embodying western culture are Europe and the United States. The most significant aspect of western culture has to do with the ideology of the hegemony in charge. In western culture this would be the business moguls especially those that own media companies, majority members of government Hall defines representation as "How the world is socially constructed and represented to and by us (Hall, 1996)." The representation is key because it dictates how a group of people will interact with their culture and also how other cultures will preconceive and then receive members of a certain society.
Highly acclaimed French Sociologist Pierre Bourdieu has done much work on culture and its influence on decision making. He finds that the public has no genuine representation in democratic societies. When people tend to watch media coverage of certain events and they see the results of polls and statistics, they perceive the information from the perspective of a rational choice theorist. Most people based their decisions on the grounds of believing this theory, but Bourdieu is in opposition to it. Rational Choice theory is the belief that human beings naturally choose a given path dependant on whether it is the best means to achieve their goals. It is a belief in methodological individualism; this meaning it adopts the belief that social situations, and group behavior is solely the result of individual action. Within this theory, corporations and national governments are viewed as individual operators as well. The problem that arises with this theory are the certain assumptions. This theory assumes human beings are aware of certain information, of which they aren't always aware, and it assumes that individuals consistently make mental calculations to determine their next decision. He points out how this belief contributes to the human tendency to conform when he argues that,
Doing one's duty as a man means conforming to the social order, and this is a fundamentally a question of respecting rhythms, keeping pace, not falling out of line. 'Don't we all eat the same wheat cake Don't we all get up at the same time These various ways of reasserting solidarity contain an implicit definition of the fundamental virtue of conformity. (Bourdieu, 1977)
He later goes on to show that conformities only other opposition is eccentricity, which becomes natural for those intrigued by it irregularity.
the opposite of which is the desire to stand apart from others. Working while the others are resting, staying in the house while the others are working in the fields, traveling on deserted roads, wandering round the streets of the village while the others are asleep or at the market - these are all suspicious forms of behavior. The eccentric who does everything differently... (Bourdieu, 1977)

Bourdieu believes that society cannot just be analyzed in terms of economic classes and ideologies, but that individual education and culture must be applied as well. Bourdieu does not separate people based on class and then analyze them, but groups everyone into what he calls a field/ social arena.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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