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Seminar 4 - Popular, Celebrity & Sub Cultures, Cities & Film

Cities & Film 

The city in Modernism

The city as public and private space

The city in Postmodernism 

The relation of the individual to the crowd in the city. How the Body Functions in the Modern / Urban space.

The possibility of a Urban sociology - the resistance of the individual to being levelled, swallowed up in the social-technological mechanism.

Fordism, named after Henry Ford , is a notion of a modern economic and social system based on an industrialised and standardised form of mass production. The body became part of the machine in a synchronised motion.

The spacial organisation of the postmodern city and how ewe submit the controls of this. A castle city in which bodies of people are controlled. Makes you feel lost. 

How it relates to graphic Design

- The environment makes the public feel lost, an in turn then applies way finding systems to direct the public 

signs, and colour of advertising adds to the effect of chaos in the city which in turn makes the people feel lost. 

Subculture & Style

a subculture is a group of people with a culture (whether distinct or hidden) which differentiates them from the larger culture to which they belong.

Looking at The relationship between subculture and style. 

Looking at different cultures - Cybergoth, Skateboard Culture, Mod Cultures, Skinheads, Hippies, Free Running.

Skateboarding/ parkour and free running/ graffiti as a performance of the city.

For example skateboarding takes elements of the city and creates a new use for this for example the handrail. 

Using urban space in a new way. 

Graffiti is used to mark your territory in an urban environment. Its not about the style but about the activity. 

Graphic design

- Graffiti is reflected in graphic design, by modern hand styles and calligraphy 

Popular Culture 

- Culture Created by the masses for the masses.
- A set of ideas that is followed by a society at a particular time.
- Created by the people vs Created by the elite.

- Authentic Culture Vs Popular Culture.
- Base Vs superstructure

- Class based analysis. List things that are classed at culture.

- Graphics and fine art come form two completely differetn cultures. Design emerges from the mid 18th century workers creating their own culture.

- Matthew Arnold - defending the idea of culture to the notion of popular culture which they felt was dumbing society down. Represented a decline of civilisation.

- Frankfurt school also think this. They think popular culture is mindless and commercial.

Celebrity Culture

- Identity and Celebrity

- Recycling of things from the past

- Celebrity as Artist

- Celebrity as famous

Links to graphic design - Branded People

Subculture & Style 

- A part of a bigger culture but much bigger than this.

- They always start as being symbolic challenges to the bigger culture. Threats and attempts to attack, challenge and redefine that culture.

- Punk for example with the emphasis on anarchy and challenges the mainstream.

- Hip Hop was a black urban threat the america.

- There a politics in that this is youth or some strata of society attempting to re-write a dominant culture.

-  Acts of skateboarding is not just existing in the city but changeling it. grinding down a rail instead of using it to walk.

Links To All Lectures 

Culture was determined by the ruling class

Popular Culture was created by entrepreneurs of popular culture which became the most popular.

Culture is advertising, TV, Films.

As an extension of this, you get subcultures which are a challenge to the mass manufactured popular culture. Things emerging to challenge the dominant culture.

Base and Superstructure

Base of society is the economic reality. What tools and techs, factories and skills people have. All the things society has and can use to generate wealth for itself. In ours we have heavy machinery, big factories, the internet etc...

From all of this stuff, some people are in charge of the factories and others are working 24 hour shifts on the factory lines. All of this is the base of society.

The Marxist reading suggests that everything else - Art, Law, Religion, Fashion, Culture, Attitudes and Ways of Thinking, Ideas, Philosophy emerge as a direct result and product of the base.

as an example... Industrial Capalism in Manchester emerges. A Clear class divide. Workers dumped to live in a certain area. The posh people getting all the money from the factories live in a different area. Working class make their own culture - books, music, ideas.

Frankfurt School - Fordism is a system of mass production. A mode of industrial production. The relations of production in a fordist system is that you have on big boss, with thousands of workers making bits of something. Monotonous labour. For example, you don't know how to make a car, you just know how to put a door on one.

The Frankfurt school argues that at the time of Fordism, culture was produced in an exact similar way. TV Shows, Music all sounds the same. It's the same thing changed slightly to make a new hit. Culture is spat and churned out.

Celebrity Culture - In a system where we identify ourselves with what we buy. We judge individuals like items

Task - Practising Academic Writing 

Triangulation - Top Level, High End, Critical Writing.

This is basically marrying different opinions on one topic to come to a conclusion. You need at least 3 for it to be effective 'Tri'.

For example, Punk Rock, your argument in mounted on research. You need to find what writer A, B and C are saying about it. One says its great, One says its awful and you need at least another to come to some sort of decision.

You can triangulate between quotes and between summarisation of different opinions.

TASK - Write a paragraph which summarises a lecture of your choice from these four we have looked at today. In the summary, show evidence of being able to triangulate between such authors.

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