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Puppeteers of the Populist Culture - Essay Example

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Puppeteers of the Populist Culture

This essay shall discuss the impact of the manipulatory techniques on the society, which is the push factor that creates a following. It shall explicate the 'cultural populism' that emphasizes the power of the audience in interpreting the objects of consumption, which objects become artifacts of the culture of daily living. In the process it shall envisage an understanding of the works of Klien, Adorno and Horkheimer, Hebdige, Rutherford, and Danesi, and the definition of culture, the undercurrents that drive the mass culture and their economic and political consequences, the ultimate beneficiaries of the whole process.
'Culture' can be understood as possessing some transient characters, by which they are identified by people of different ages, as Hebdige suggests it is "Refracted through centuries of usage" and "has acquired a number of quite different, often contradictory, meanings" (p. 66). However, he delineates two specific definitions by which it is perceived" 1) the traditional terms as manifested in the generally accepted best practices of the world which includes appreciation of classical forms of art such as literature, ballet, and drama and 2) the one that is derived from the science of anthropology wherein the meanings and values are not taken in the context of art but, as a means of classification (p. 67). However, accepting broader definition proposed by Williams (1961), which included the "relationships between culture and society, one which through the analysis of 'particular meanings and values' sought to uncover the conceived fundamentals of history" (Hebdige 67) is a more useful one, in the context of the cultural studies. This would enable both the definitions of culture to be more meaningfully integrated with each other. Herein the use of "ideology" or the basic principles on which the culture stood for. Over a period of time "ideology" itself became broad-based and incorporated a wide variety of terms, seeping into all aspects and levels of sociability (Hebdige 68). This explanation is pertinent because, ideology is not explicit, but "invisible by its apparent transparency" (Hall 1977 cited in Hebdige 69), rather it acts from the base, from the bottommost layer of the mind, on which all other external symbols and signs are based. This comes to the forefront, and acts as external manifestations of the dominant groups and sub-ordinate groups inherent in the society, which paves the way for class connotations within the society. The conflicts and tensions within these groups and sub-groups is rather understood from the indirect expressions of "style" in which the ideology is produced and reproduced by means of signs and objects in the society. Inevitably, the conflicts give rise to "Hegemony" or the "situation in which a provisional alliance of certain social groups exert 'total social authority' over the subordinate groups" (Hebdige 72). The most important point raised by Hebdige which is pertinent to this analysis is that, this authority is not won by force or compulsion, rather by "winning and shaping consent so that the power of the dominant classes appears both legitimate and natural" (Hall 1977 cited ...Show more

Summary

We promote the concept of the American dream" (Klien 123), state the corporate promoters of the capitalist society. The concept of manipulating the ideological and social constructs of the society to fit into the schemes of a select few is not new. It has been an age-old practice, and as political speakers have proved, there is always willing crowd of people who are more than willing to conform to the peer ideologues and practices…
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Puppeteers of the Populist Culture essay example
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