BCULST 510

Who defines?

In Uncategorized on November 5, 2011 at 19:23

Who defines?

“As Guy Debord (1994:130) put it in his classic account of the Society of the Spectacle, ‘culture is the general sphere of knowledge, and of representations of lived experience, within a historical society divided into classes; what this amounts to is the power to generalize, existing apart, as an intellectual division of labor and as the intellectual labor of division.’ A second starting point for understanding the production of culture, therefore, is to focus on who possesses this ‘power to generalize’ and  how they use it to advance the ‘intellectual labor of division’- the division of one group from another so as to stabilize and name ‘culture,’ and so as to say about their own or other’s lived experience: ‘this is true.’” (p 72).

“[The culture industry’s] job is to develop the idea of culture so as to normalize or smooth over contradictions between systems of production (which are inherently and grossly unfair) and systems of consumption (which rely on the myth that we all can have it all). One of the jobs of people working in the culture industries is to name and define resistances and strategies to the workings of the political economy, to redefine them as ‘culture’ and hence as an expression of ‘taste’ rather than active resistance” (p 80).

References:

Mitchell, D. (2000). Cultural geography: a critical introduction. Blackwell: Malden, MA.

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