Culture, Ideology, Interpellation
The term culture, as used in the phrase "cultural studies," is neither aesthetic nor humanist in emphasis, but political. Culture is not conceived of as the aesthetic ideals of form and beauty found in great art, or in more humanist terms as the voice of the "human spirit" that transcends boundaries of time and nation to speak to a hypothetical universal man (the gender is deliberate - women play little or no role in this conception of culture).
Culture is not, then, the aesthetic products of the human spirit acting as a bulwark against the tide of grubby industrial materialism and vulgarity, but rather a way of living within an industrial society that encompasses all the meanings of that social experience.
Reckon this thread has legs, TT?
I'd just got out of my second surf for the day when I read it . Hell fun rights that ran for a loooong time.
And seeing as it's my Birthday I adjourned immediately to a bowlo right nearby for a schooner and flathead/ chips /salad combo. Opened the iPad and was confronted with the above .
You'd have to say that surfing yourself to a standstill followed by a countery and a schooey was representative of our culture.
I don't think that is a result of any grubby , industrial materialism.
Three cheers to you Blowin. You realise Grant Hackett is your star-crossed brother? Keep your duds on mate.
Legs, Stunet? Hah! Strap yourself in...
Blowie, you'll need a few more schooies...well, more than usual...
Cultural studies is concerned with the generation and circulation of meanings in
They start with the belief that meanings and the making of them (which together
constitute culture) are indivisibly linked to social structure and can only be explained in
terms of that structure and its history. Correlatively, the social structure is held in place
by, among other forces, the meanings that culture produces; as Stuart Hall says, "A set of
social relations obviously requires meanings and frameworks which underpin them and
hold them in place." These meanings are not only meanings of social experience, but also
meanings of self, that is, constructions of social identity that enable people living in
industrial capitalist societies to make sense of themselves and their social relations.
Meanings of experience and meanings of the subject (or self) who has that experience are
finally part of the same cultural process.
Grant Hackett ?
Here's a cultural reference - Is Jack McCoy's " Blue Horizon " the best surf movie of all time ?
Not my favourite, but the best ?
The movie you'd show to non surfer to convey the beauty , joy , characters and relentless addiction of the entire lifestyle ?
Then you've got the fact that it's just fundamentally a pleasure to watch .
McCoy's sensual waveriding visuals - yes, sensual - coupled with his exploration of the surfing life with its blue lineups , athleticism, high energy , respected lineage and radical party lifestyle also documents the culture of surfing for its disciples like no one else .
And this is his unheralded magnum opus.
Did I go too far ?
Watch it .
Pants on. Lost em before. Not the crowd pleaser I was hoping for.
TT - You're off chops !
What is that shit ?
Couldn't say. Never seen it. Apologies Jack, if you're reading this.
I recently had the idea to review McCoy's four films of the early/mid 90s: Bunyip Dreaming, Green Iguana, Sik Joy, and Sons of Fun, and wrap a bit of context around them - perhaps even a bit of cultural context! You know, what they owed to the future, and what the future owes to them. Might even bridge it with the concept of surf movie as bulwark against the tide of grubby industrial materialism.
Johnno Friske would abide.
A slab of post-modern lager thanks!
Also underlying this [cultural studies] work is the assumption that capitalist societies are divided societies. The primary axis of division was originally thought to be class, though gender and race have now joined it as equally significant producers of social difference. Other axes of division are nation, age group, religion, occupation, education, political allegiance, and so on. Society, then, is not an organic whole but a complex network of groups, each with different interests and related to each other in terms of their power relationship with the dominant classes. Social relations are understood in terms of social power, in terms of a structure of domination and subordination that is never static but is always the site of contestation and struggle.
Email me your address and I'll send the entire McCoy collection to you tomorrow.
The Billy movies, Blue horizon , Occumentary.
The man is well worthy of any respect you bestow on him .
Social power is the power to get one's class or group interest served by the social structure as a whole, and social struggle - or, in traditional Marxist terms, the class struggle - is the contestation of this power by the subordinate groups. In the domain of culture, this contestation takes the form of the struggle for meaning, in which the dominant classes attempt to "naturalize" the meanings that serve their interests into the "common-sense" of society as a whole, whereas subordinate classes resist this process in various ways and to varying degrees and try to make meanings that serve their own interests.
I think I have got the hang of this thread now. Jack McCoy, through-out his oeuvre, was contesting the social structure within mainstream surfing of domination and subordination.
Generous offer Blowin, but I actually have it. Somewhere along the way I scored all McCoy's films, some of them in flash limited edition packaging. So the reason I haven't seen it isn't omission but time, I suppose.
Recently had a great chat with Jack about his undying love for Al Byrne's craftsmanship. Mr McCoy has a few.
And TT, you ever feel there's a point when the language describing such concepts is inadequate? When the concepts and the debates surrounding them become so esoteric, so specific and finely honed, that the ambiguity in the words is bound to misrepresent them?
I can think a thought and be satisfied, but any written description of it is insufficient.
So Turkey, considering that Ann C. Tyler said that "the goal of all communication is "to induce in the audience some belief about the past..., the present..., or the future,"' where are we at when the dominant classes control the means by which meaning is disseminated and therefore controls not only the narrative but the response to the narrative?
And at the same time, in Stuart Hall's essay 'Culture, community, nation' that appeared in the October 1993 issue of Cultural Studies, the author shows how arguments made with a progressive political agenda sometimes converge argumentatively and epistemologically with those of the conservative right in their failure to decenter normative assumptions derived from the entelechy of Western European history about ethnic and religious aspirations.
I believe we see the ramifications of this in politics today.
No doubt about that Andy, please go on.
Oh, I could BB but I think you get the general idea! Faaark...
You gotta laugh though.
any chance this thread be moved to "Website troubleshooting". my scroll bar went straight to the bottom when i opened the page.
oh jeez, i'm surrounded by cultural studies fiends wherever i go...
are there any logicians at all on this site?
The attempt of the dominant classes to naturalize their meanings rarely, if ever, results
from the conscious intention of individual members of those classes (though resistance to
it is often, though not always, both conscious and intentional). Rather, it must be
understood as the work of an ideology inscribed in the cultural and social practices of a
class and therefore of the members of that class. And this brings us to another basic
assumption: culture is ideological.
i'll take that as a "no" then.
so, it follows that the culture of cultural studies is ideological, inscribed in its practices, right?
No doubt - the basis of the convergence between the pair of terms under examination (culture and ideology) is that they both embrace non-material aspects of human existence relating to the subjective realm of ideas, values, world-views, and cosmologies, the very stuff of human history.
The cultural studies tradition does not view ideology in its vulgar Marxist sense of
"false consciousness," for that has built into it the assumption that a true consciousness is
not only possible but will actually occur when history brings about a proletarian society.
This sort of idealism seems inappropriate to the late twentieth century [early twenty first?], which appears to have demonstrated not the inevitable self-destruction of capitalism but its unpredicted (by Marx) ability to reproduce itself and to incorporate into itself the forces of resistance and opposition. History casts doubt on the possibility of a society without ideology, in which people have a true consciousness of their social relations.
so TT, what is the bot you are using to generate this stuff? hats off to the programmers, it's a beauty.
can you run this on other thinkers/theories? or is it just for cultural studies?
The issue of ideology is a very important proposition in Marxist theory. In the course of their scientific exploration to establish historical materialism and in their critique of the whole of capitalist society and culture, as represented by Germany, Marx and Engels always treated materialist inquiries into ideological issues as the focus of their struggle with idealism.
By adhering to the fundamental intellectual principle that man’s social being determines his social consciousness, they defined ideology’s reactive mechanism and social function in terms of the interrelationship of economic, political and mental life; defined its subjective mechanism and class attributes in terms of the mutually generative and prescriptive relations between social consciousness and social entities; and defined its cognitive features and its character of practicality in terms of the forms of existence of social consciousness and the relationship of knowing and doing.
From this they constructed three dimensions and nine perspectives for interpreting ideological phenomena and clarified intellectual tenets and a scientific methodology for understanding ideology.
At the same time, to find a pragmatic exit from the semantic labyrinth surrounding ‘ideology’ and ‘culture’, we should consider the neutral connotations of ‘ideology’ as a formative, intrinsically paradoxical, constituent of culture, and argue that the heterogeneous, volatile, and contested nature of all ideologies when viewed through some postmodernist lenses is acceptable only under the historically exceptional societal conditions of high modernity.
Structuralism, another important influence on British cultural studies, also denies the
possibility of a true consciousness, for it argues that reality can only be comprehended
through language or other cultural meaning systems. Thus the idea of an objective,
empirical "truth" is untenable. Truth must always be understood in terms of how it is
made, for whom, and at what time it is "true." Consciousness is never the product of truth
or reality but rather of culture, society, and history.
Althusser and Gramsci were the theorists who offered a way of accommodating both
structuralism (and, incidentally, Freudianism) and the history of capitalism in the
twentieth century with Marxism.
I need a Gramsci right now...
For Althusser, ideology is not a static set of ideas imposed upon the subordinate by the dominant classes but rather a dynamic process constantly reproduced and reconstituted in practice - that is, in the ways that people think, act, and understand themselves and their relationship to society.
He rejects the old idea that the economic base of society determines the entire cultural superstructure. He replaces this base/superstructure model with his theory of over-determination, which not only allows the superstructure to influence the base but also produces a model of the relationship between ideology and culture that is not determined solely by economic relations.
At the heart of this theory is the notion of ideological state apparatuses (ISAs),
by which he means social institutions such as the family, the educational system,
language, the media, the political system, and so on. These institutions produce in people
the tendency to behave and think in socially acceptable ways (as opposed to repressive
state apparatuses such as the police force or the law, which coerce people into behaving according to the social norms).
The social norms, or that which is socially acceptable, are of course neither neutral nor objective; they have developed in the interests of those with social power, and they work to
maintain their sites of power by naturalizing them into the commonsense - the only -
social positions for power. Social norms are ideologically slanted in favor of a particular
class or group of classes but are accepted as natural by other classes, even when the
interests of those other classes are directly opposed by the ideology reproduced by living
life according to those norms.
wow,,,,,, theres 20 minutes of my life I wont get back. We're not going to be tested on this next week are we? As a self confessed philistine you lost me at culture.
And they said this thread would never make it...
Social norms are realized in the day-to-day workings of the ideological state apparatuses.
Each one of these institutions is "relatively autonomous," according to Althusser,
and there are no overt connections between it and any of the others - the legal system is
not explicitly connected to the school system nor to the media, for example - yet they all
perform similar ideological work. They are all patriarchal; they are all concerned with the
getting and keeping of wealth and possessions; and they all endorse individualism and
competition between individuals. But the most significant feature of ISAs is that they all
present themselves as socially neutral, as not favoring one particular class over any other.
Each presents itself as a principled institutionalization of equality: the law, the media,
and education all claim, loudly and often, to treat all individuals equally and fairly. The
fact that the norms used to define equality and fairness are those derived from the
interests of the white, male, middle classes is more or less adequately disguised by these
claims of principle, though feminists and those working for racial and class harmony
may claim that this disguise can be torn off with relative ease.
Turkey, an overarching concept which both encompasses and surpasses notions of white, male patriarchy, despite how transparent this patriarchy may be when viewed through a feminist lens, is the one which Marx proved to the world:
“…all man’s juristic, political, philosophical, religious and other ideas are derived in the last resort from his economic conditions of life, from his mode of production and of exchanging the product.”
This general idea constitutes the fundamental concept of the materialist theory of social structure and the general rationale when we talk about ideological issues.
All this high falutin talk of the drivers of society without reference to that greatest of all philosophers - Charles Darwin.
Nature abhors weakness.
Power flows to those with strength.
Deal with your faux guilt and appreciate your day in the sun as nature also shows us that all and everything is cyclical.
Today's rooster is tomorrow's feather duster so don't feel free to enjoy it......while it lasts.
blowin, the darwinian idea of natural selection that you paraphrase as "Nature abhors weakness" applies to nature. society is a different matter. darwin didn't have anything to say on society. but "Darwin's bulldog" TH Huxley does.
humans live in a society and this is where moraility comes into the picture (there is no morality in nature and natural selection). we set society up in certain ways (well marx would say the means of production set society up in a certain, i guess) and how we set it society rewards some and punishes other, independently of natural selection and whether a person would be weak or strong in nature.
the hedge fund manager in connecticut worth 20 billion to his name is probably riddled with weakness that nature would abhor.
so any way, the Nature abhors weakness argument has no bearing here. power does not flow to those that have strength, but to those that society has set up in its favour.
...not that any of that matters really -...today's rooster..tomorrow's feather dust holds true...wheel of fortune and all that.
Althusser's theory of overdetermination explains this congruence between the
"relatively autonomous" institutions by looking not to their roots in a common,
determining economic base but to an overdetermining network of ideological interrelationships among all of them. The institutions appear autonomous only at the official level of stated policy, though the belief in this "autonomy" is essential for their
ideological work. At the unstated level of ideology, however, each institution is related to
all the others by an unspoken web of ideological interconnections, so that the operation
of any one of them is "overdetermined" by its complex, invisible network of interrelationships with all the others. Thus the educational system, for example, cannot
tell a story about the nature of the individual different from those told by the legal
system, the political system, the family, and so on.
Ideology is not, then, a static set of ideas through which we view the world but a
dynamic social practice, constantly in process, constantly reproducing itself in the
ordinary workings of these apparatuses. It also works at the micro-level of the individual.
To understand this we need to replace the idea of the individual with that of the subject.
The individual is produced by nature, the subject by culture. Theories of the individual
concentrate on differences between people and explain these differences as natural.
Theories of the subject, on the other hand, concentrate on people's common experiences
in a society as being the most productive way of explaining who (we think) we are.
Althusser believes that we are all constituted as subjects-in-ideology by the ISAs, that
the ideological norms naturalized in their practices constitute not only the sense of the
world for us, but also our sense of ourselves, our sense of identity, and our sense of our
relations to other people and to society in general. Thus we are each of us constituted as a
subject in, and subject to, ideology.
The subject, therefore, is a social construction, not a natural one. A biological female can have a masculine subjectivity (that is, she can make sense of the world and of her self and her place in that world through patriarchal ideology). Similarly, a black person can have a white subjectivity and a member of the working classes a middle-class one.
You don't believe that the wealthiest in society are amongst the most powerful ?
Pretty sure I could take out Trump in a physical altercation .....but you think that'll happen ?
Society is a human construct and society adheres to the laws of nature due to the fact that they are immutable.
Darwin was an inadvertent philosopher , but an entirely emphatic one.
The strong take and the weak accept what they are given.
Identity politics is a disengenous distraction originating with the old tactic of divide and conquer.
The demise of the left as a contradictory force of the capitalist powers was set as they sowed the seeds of division amongst themselves that grew to become the current culture wars between the natural allies of the working class and the disenfranchised minorities.
Our common enemy has sown the seeds of division between us .
As everyone is realising, the real battle lies between the haves and the have nots.
Identity politics is a ploy. Full stop.
The ideological theory of the subject differs in emphasis, though not fundamentally,
from that developed in psychoanalysis by placing greater emphasis on social and
historical conditions, particularly those of class. Althusser drew upon Freudian theory to
develop his idea of the subject. As Ann Kaplan notes, feminists too have used psychoanalytic theory, though much more sophisticatedly, to theorize the gendered
subject. This gendered subject is more rooted in psychological processes, the ideological
subject of Althusser in historical and social ones.
But both theories stress the role played by the media and language in this constant
construction of the subject, by which we mean the constant reproduction of ideology in
Althusser uses the words interpellation and hailing to describe this work of the
media. These terms derive from the idea that any language, whether it be verbal, visual,
tactile, or whatever, is part of social relations and that in communicating with someone
we are reproducing social relationships.
the grim reaper is my enemy
As someone who studies 'cultural studies' I can say I understand all that TT is copying and pasting lol. However, it can be said much more simply
Culture is not just a group of people with shared customs (an anthropological view) but a lively process of ongoing negotiation and production of meaning in different settings, where the settings themselves are not fixed and change more rapidly than ever before. Culture is not just for the elite (i.e. 'high culture' - see opera, literature, etc), as the marxist Raymond Williams wrote: 'Culture is Ordinary'. We all negotiate, produce and find meaning with what resources we have at hand. So, popular culture is also important to how we form and negotiate meaning and should be paid attention to e.g. how surfing is important to us and is one avenue we work out our values and arrange our lives. Of course, what should be valued and what should not and which meaning should be prioritised or not is debated because there are competing personal interests and institutional forces (e.g. gender, race, etc.). So, culture (meaning-making) is political e.g. there is no 'one' surf culture, or what women experience through surfing can be different to men. Currently, culture happens in the shadow of and is affected by the operations of capitalism. So, this is explored by cultural studies folk. Some people contest this capitalism by using its own cultural products against it e.g. what punk very briefly did before capitalism managed to absorb it and put it to work in the service of capital. Or how surfing at one stage had 'counter-culture' possibilities but has now become a perfect vehicle for capitalism with its faux 'rebellion', 'alternative lifestyle', etc. Cultural Studies is effectively politically orientated towards the left, although there is also anarchist cultural studies.
Now, go surfing. That's what cultural studies folk would advocate. Fuck capitalism.
In communicating with people, our first job is to "hail" them, almost as if hailing a
cab. To answer, they have to recognize that it is to them, and not to someone else, that we
are talking. This recognition derives from signs, carried in our language, of whom we
think they are. We will hail a child differently from an adult, a male differently from a
female, someone whose status is lower than ours differently from someone in a higher
social position. In responding to our hail, the addressees recognize the social position our
language has constructed, and if their response is cooperative, they adopt this same
position. Hailing is the process by which language identifies and constructs a social
position for the addressee. Interpellation is the larger process whereby language
constructs social relations for both parties in an act of communication and thus locates
them in the broader map of social relations in general.