SOC 2470 Exam 1 Vocab

Viewing Culture as Humanities

culture was seen as the best thing that has been thought of and known. culture was seen as improving people and brought more humanity to society, culture was a way to save people from the dehumanizing industrial world, culture was separate from the scienc

Viewing from the Social Science

argued against the idee that only european culture was supreme, focused on culture as a plural, every nation has their own culture which is equally vauble. culture as defined as morals, laws, customs, arts, knowledge, etc and was broken down into non mate

Contemporary Approach to Culture

culture as seen as values:culture was based on what we value in society, , competing values: effectivenss will be based on your values with respect to the dimensions of focus and structure

Culture As a Toolkit

Culture provides persons with repertoires of ideas, definitions of types of situations, material products, and other factors that may be combined in developing actions - culture is a "tool kit" from which people draw different values to follow, values do

Culture as Meaning Making

what we bing to the table is what contains value, the meaning of a culture object might have different meanings to different people. Meaning makers create meaning and value for cultural products and incorporate them into the products.

Working definition of Culture

Culture is about meaning and the process of meaning making. Culture is patterns of meaning created by humans and these expressions feelings that guide our thinking, feeling, and behavior


A state of affairs in which we take for granted when taking a course of action

Concept of Culture


The Cultural Object

4 theoretical linked corners representing 4 components culture itself: creators, cultural objects, consumers, society
Creators create the cultural objects for cultural consumption that society then dictates what becomes a cultural object.
Ie. Harry Potter

the cultural diamond

4 theoretical linked corners representing 4 components culture itself: creators, cultural objects, consumers, society
Creators create the cultural objects for cultural consumption that society then dictates what becomes a cultural object.
Ie. Harry Potter


those who create the cultural object


those who are exposed to and acquire the cultural object; utilize these cultural objects for any purpose. the consumers are those who give the meaning to the cultural object.


those who are at the center of the cultural diamond. they are the ones who distribute the cultural object to the consumers and from the creators. they mediate the relationships between the main four centers. They allocate how much/what kind of culture is


A historical process in which a dominant group, often by virtue of its moral and intellectual leadership in society, secures the voluntary "consent" of the masses.

Basic Tenet of Reflection Theory

The idea that culture is a projection of social structure. cultural objects reflect the norms and value of society, can reflect values, events, trends, economic system. Idea that cultural values influence literature; cultural values "mirrored" or "reflect

Roots of Reflection Theory

marxism: the clutter and ideology of society reflects its economic relations, mass culture theory: mass culture reflects the madness of society

Critques of Reflection Theory

the theory is rather broad, not entirely sure which group of society or what parts of society are reflect. underlying assumptions are defined too broadly and too simply, reflection is complex, exaggerates culture in many ways and can give a poor represent

Basic Tenets of Social Impact Theory

the idea that culture and cultural objects affect society whether it is positively or negatively. Culture and literature directly influences cultural and society values.

Roots of Social Impact Theory

karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: a society's ruling ideas are the ideas of its ruling class. cultural practices of a capital society not only reflect but also protect the interests of the ruling class and legitimate the process. Ideas of ruling class domin

Critiques of Social Impact Theory

there are very serious methodological problems: very little evidence to support many of these effects. it is a protect of elitism: moral panics the elites become very concerned for the others, look for someone to blame, the media, seeking to reaffirm thei

Frankfurt School of Thought

Part of Social impact/mass culture theory. School of thought professing that culture is being taken over by ruling class and this class fills everyone with mass culture because it is homogenized and standardized so it lures people into passivity and into

mass culture theory

Frankfurt School tenet proposed by Leo Lowenthal that stresses the need to avoid effort when one is experiencing leisure time.
Mass culture is the set of ideas and values that develop from a common exposure to the same media, news sources, music, and art

Idols of Production

Leaders in field of production of cultural objects (ie. industry leaders, politicians, serious artists)

Idols of Consumption

People who set examples and have influence on field of consumption (ie. sports figures, film actors, etc.)

media effect theory

Theory developed by Frankfurt School that plays into mass culture theory: mass media contains harmful effects on society.


Gatekeepers decide what makes the cut with regards to what cultural objects should be exposed to the public (while distributors allocate and regulate the cultural objects to consumers approved by gatekeepers)
Editors, producers, and other media managers w

decision chains

all decisions which affect cultural objects as they move through a system. the product itself is changed to deal with public opinion. content and exposure of a cultural object can be shaped by decision change (ie. prescreening a movie)

market structures

level of concentrations of competion in a particular culture industry will have an effect on the amount and type of cultural objects available

technology in the production and distribution of culture

technology such as the internet has made the distribution of culture much more available to the outside public

culture industries

Entertainment businesses that reproduce the dominant ideology of a culture and distract people from recognizing unjust distribution of power within society; e.g., film, television, music, and advertising., entertainment businesses that reproduce the domin

art world

Patterns of collective activity that go into process of producing any cultural objects perceived as art. The art world involves a division of labor as workers develop a traditional bundle of tasks. cooperative links- occur when artist can't do everything

cultural conventions

The largely implicit or unstated structures that limit or inform what people feel they can express or do. These conventions are embedded in social contexts and interactions, and they influence how people anticipate they will be perceived and regarded by o


The process through which something is given monetary value; occurs when a good or idea that previously was not regarded as an object to be bought and sold is turned into something that has a particular price and that can be traded in a market economy.

Autonomous Gatekeepers

organizations rely on such entities (ie. DJs, film critics), to promote their cultural products.. these people serve as opinion leaders

oligopoly model

A model in which economists examine industry's top 8 firms to determine the competitiveness of these firms' markets. The more competitive markets allow for more artistic innovation and create an environment that provides consumers with more choices.

reception/consumption theory

cultural objects are shaped through audiences who are able to grasp the meaning, culture never stands alone, the people who costume it must also understand it. the cultural meaning of an object is based on the background of that particular society, who yo

Social Networks

meanings people take and the type of culture people consume are heavily based on their social networks (and background)

Roots of Reception/Consumption theory

uses and gratification perspective: suggests that audiences are active in consuming culture Blumer and Katz viewed tv as having four functions : diversion, personal relationships, personal identity, surveillance

The Birmingham School

Raymond Williams, Stuart Hall, and Richard Hoggart founded British Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham in the 1970s. Their approach challenges political economy by focusing on cultural rather than economic context. It empowers audiences by lo

Uses and Gratifications perspective

The theory that people consume media for their own purposes, such as surveillance of the environment, social interaction, entertainment, understanding identity, and decision making (4 functions of TV)

Active Audience Approach

people make their own meaning from cultural objects. Consumption as an act of defiance, a political process., People make their own meaning from cultural objects. Consumers have a large amount of autonomy.

Reception Aesthetic

assumes that readers come to a cultural object with 'horizon of expectations' based on our different nationalities, race, etc, branch of criticism/history concerned with the impression art, design and media make and how they are "read" by various individu

cultural power

The ability to influence cultural values, habits, and institutions such as the family., when people are able to convince others to adopt their values, ideas, and premises as their own.


Vic Turner- " of many voices" with many different and valid meanings or interpretations. Different groups will adopt different positions in relation to their interpretation of the past, and the meanings that they attach to physical remains.


Same and consistent meanings or interpretations across different groups of different backgrounds

content analysis

A systematic method of coding and measuring media content. Ex/ Kaiser Family Foundation that examined more than 1100 tv shows found that 70 percent featured sexual content.


producer/creator of cultural objects attempts to inject a cultural meaning to object before it is exposed to consumers and their interpretations


The process of the consumers receiving a cultural objects and creating their own interpretations of such objects

4 Basic Categories of Decoding

1. Dominant-hegemonic position: encoded meaning is decoded same way
2. oppositional position: consumers create meaning through consumption
3. negotiated position: mix of first two
4.aberrant position: text interpreted in idiosyncratic way, object is not c

oppositional subcultures

Resists particular social institutions or practices, also labeled "counterculture" sometimes., resisting particular social institutions or practices; associated with negative action


Relates to consumption/reception of culture. Process of mixing and matching cultural items in unintended ways. Known as a form of resistance. (ie. safety pins are primarily used to pin clothes but "punk" and goth kids put safety pins in their jackets, and

consumption communities

web groups where members share views and product recommendations online., groups of people who share the consumption of a brand or product (Mac users.. ie. iMessage?)

interpretive communities

A group of people dedicated to the consumption and interpretation of a particular cultural product and who create a collective, social meaning for the product.

symbolic boundaries

conceptual distinctions that we make to categorize objects, people, practices, who or what is included or excluded they can divide objects between high and pop culture , The socially constructed lines that define some people, groups, and things as belongi

cultural capital

Cultural knowledge and cultural competencies that people need to function effectively in society.
ie. viewer requires specific codes to view art, and the capacity to appreciate fine art is unequally spread amongst the classes due to education

high culture

pieces of culture enjoyed only by those competent enough to appreciate them. Requires a certain amount of cultural capital to appreciate them. The artifacts, values, knowledge, beliefs, and other cultural elements that elites in a society use to distingui

pop culture

the aspects of current culture that make up its arts and entertainment (such as fads, fashions, art, media, music, movies, sports, advertising, etc.)

Boudieu's cultural capital theory

high culture is a device used by dominant class to exclude the subordinate class (people must be trained to appreciate and understand high culture) Education, knowledge and or connections one has had through the course of their life enables them to succee

mass culture

common culture experienced by a large number of people

cultural codes

(LEWIS)- series of learned ideologies that we use to navigate life and understand the relations between things and their meaning, LEWIS: That the understanding of the relation between things and their meanings stem from a series of ideologies; These are l


Bordieu, a set of preferences we share as social subjects that are related to class position, education and social standing


favors high culture


favors popular culture


one who is at least open to appreciating more activities considered beneath their social class


one who is only open to appreciating activities considered in their social class

cultural feedback loop

Consumers culture and media culture are becoming more enclosed and becoming more similar. Harder to tell whether cultural meanings are more encoded or decoded.. (shift to dominant-hegemonic category of decoding?)

Griswold's Cultural Diamond

Griswold modified cultural diamond to include distributors in the middle as essential components in that they affect what kind/how much culture is distributed and who receives this allocated culture.

Coolhunting function

collection of spontaneous observations and predictions regarding tastes that differ from one moment to the next
* retailers use this info to decide what the public wants and then make it a part of mass culture

Cool Cycle

Cycle a cultural object experiences as it is exposed to consumers. Begins with innovators, to early adopters, to early majority, to late majority


First to demonstrate trends.. Begin trends. More prosperous and more risk-oriented.

Early Adopters

Second wave of consumers to adopt meanings of cultural product (i.e. taste of clothing). Tend to be community leaders but less prosperous than innovators.

Early Majority

Considered conservative but still open to new ideas; active in community and demonstrate some influence

Late Adopters

More conservative; less open to new ideal; not as socially active

co-optation theory

counter culture resistance to a dominant culture status quo expressed through forms of rebellious/subversive consumption (ie. bricolage)

Trickle down

fashions set by couture establishments and big fashion designers

Trickle Up

In past few decades, fashions have been set by consumers which are then adopted by fashion institutions

Lieberson's theory of tastes/fashions

Tastes and fashions determined 1. externally (broad social trends (ie. access to technology)), 2. internally: class imitation: lower class tries to cling to elite's tastes which causes elite to adopt other trends (ratchet effect), 3. idiosyncratic histori

Lieberson's theory of internal effect

Lower class tries to cling to elite's tastes so elite's seek other fashions to sport

Lieberson's theory of external influences

Broad social trends affect fashions/fads (ie. access to technology)

Historical context

we have basic understanding of cultural objects (i.e.. we know what a shoe is and it can't be sold as a "laptop")

media consolidation

the increased control of an increasing variety of media outlets by a smaller and smaller number of companies. Media consolidation, also called concentration of media ownership, means that a single company possesses several media outlets, such as newspaper


Process of companies being brought together under common ownership but remaining distinct entities

vertical integration

Practice where a single entity controls the entire process of a product, from the raw materials to distribution

horizontal integration

Absorption into a single firm of several firms involved in the same level of production and sharing resources at that level


George Ritzer's term describing the spread of bureaucratic rationalization and the accompanying increases in efficiency and dehumanization., Term used by sociologist George Ritzer in his book The McDonaldization of Society (1995). He describes it as the p

political character of Disney

Berlin Wall effect (Western ideas, many of which influenced by Disney, caused fall of berlin wall); Disney has organizations that lobby the govt to shape legislation

Corporate Culture

the set of values, norm, and beliefs that influence the behavior of everyone in the organization

Mickey Mouse Monopoly

Video raising issues regarding impact of corporations, esp. Disney, on children and American popular culture

Ratchet Effect

Not reverting back to old ways regarding technology change.