Posted: November 8th, 2023
I would assign myself a score of 30 out of 40 for course participation based on my perception of how well I interacted with course readings and class assignments. Course discussion forums tend to provide the opportunity for interaction and participation in online classes. My skewed attendance of these forums explains my perceived score. As a parent working two jobs, I normally lack the time to engage in classroom discussions. I often had to navigate conflicts between daily work meetings and class time. However, I always recorded and listened to the classes after work. I recall I found the topics and recorded discussions very interesting because of the content and the professor’s participatory teaching style. Not only did I make sure to listen to each class session but also to complete the course readings. Such a level of commitment in reorganizing personal time to finish and submit assignments while reflecting on the discussion forums is why I believe I should receive at least three-quarters of the final class score.
One of the primary lessons from the course was the difficulty in ignoring the pull of popular culture. Since the inception of social media technologies, popular culture has moved from mass media to our daily lives. The course has facilitated my understanding that popular culture provides a read into the beliefs and values of a society. For instance, America focuses on mass production and distribution, explaining why it has numerous celebrity cults. Nevertheless, a key lesson from class is the need to be cautious of the aspects of popular culture that a person consumes. A lack of diversity in sources might result in polarization, especially in political matters. I would like to read more about how different sources impact our consumption of popular culture and its implications for individual attitudes, ideologies, and behaviours. Such an understanding would be beneficial in deriving effective ways of raising awareness and inducing social change on particular pop culture topics.
Material and physical forms of popular culture tend to be influenced by institutional perspectives. It is common for academic accounts of the mediatization of mass media to be based on their capacity as institutions (Bolin 177). As a result, materials forms of pop culture should be perceived as organization-oriented ideologies and beliefs that seek to affect social life. Such an understanding of the mediatization of media gives a unique take on the nature of society, which is that we are institutional. An example can be seen in journalism. For the production and distribution of pop culture via mass media to be effective, it must be done through institutional processes at the Meso-level. The need for media to come from organizations explains why people often call for the independence of news organizations from political influences. Digital media is less bound to this need for institutionalization.
Unlike mass media, digital and virtual media focus on the individual. The user benefits from being remote while being integrated into online social networks. The approach to digital media influences the production and distribution of pop culture, as social messages can be personalized for easier consumption (Coteli 3). For instance, the practice of blogging centers on the conveyance of personal experiences and opinions for larger audiences. Mass media would have involved the conveyance of institutional messages to individual and larger audiences. Therefore, when selecting the choice of media, it is critical to first assess the target audience (Coteli 3). Digital media would be more effective if the message is intended for individual consumption. Therefore, the effectiveness of digital media is dependent on its ability to strengthen a person’s digital identity within a particular digital culture. The stronger the digital identity becomes, so does the digital culture.
Referencing, sampling, and remixing are important as they facilitate ongoing cultural dialogues. Remixing allows derivative works to be combined and edited to create new materials, meaning the new still conveys the old (Hesmondhalgh 56). Some might argue that remixing and sampling have existed since popular culture’s inception and mark a critical aspect of how culture evolves. It has never been easy or cheap to create influential work, which is why revolutionary creations tend to be sampled in later works. Therefore, remixing and sampling are important because they ensure the continuity and growth of cultural literacy, providing audiences with a means to navigate the media-saturated labyrinth of today. However, given that remixing and sampling are means of quotation, commentary, and citation of previous works, there are bound to cultural inequalities in their production and distribution. Intellectual property laws are some of the mechanisms that guarantee cultural imbalances between cultural producers and those that recreate them.
Pop culture is subject to structural inequality that impacts its production and distribution. Hesmondhalgh laments that sampled content often comes from dominant cultures, such as the United States entertainment industry (58). Copyright, trademarks, and other intellectual property rights act as structural barriers to the reproduction of pop culture by minor cultures. As a result, there is reduced participation in cultural productions by minority cultures, increasing the visibility of majority cultures (Hesmondhalgh 60). In some cases, remixed and sampled creations do not result in the recognition of the secondary creators. All the praise and acclamations go to the original creator despite the remix having its unique creative features. While protecting ownership of original works is important, there is also the need to acknowledge new creations that stem from them.
Bolin, Goran. “Institution, Technology, World: Relationships between the Media, Culture, and Society.” Mediatization of Communication. De Gruyter Mouton, 2014, pp. 175-197.
Coteli, Sami. “The Impact of New Media on the Forms of Culture: Digital Identity and Digital Culture.” Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, vol. 9, no. 2, 2019, pp. 1-12.
Hesmondhalgh, David. “Digital Sampling and Cultural Inequality.” Social and Legal Studies, vol. 15, no. 1, 2006, pp. 54-78.
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