Consumption & Popular Music

from "Introduction" Consumption and Everyday Life Hugh Mackay.
key words: standardization, pleasure, appropriation, everyday life  
"mass culture critique" (3)
A. The Frankfurt School 
Consumption served the interest of manufacturers seeking greater profits, and citizens became the passive victims of advertisers. 
major targets of attack: 
  • standardization
  • Americanism
"symbolic goods & identity" (4-5)
A. Bourdieu 
Symbolic goods function as signs, and are used to signify prestige, status and social standing. 
B. Baudrillard's society as pastiche (拼貼) 
We become what we buy: signs and signifying practices are what is contumed. . .Signs have no fixed referent.
"pleasures of consumption" (6)
e.g. bricolage 
Although far from radical, these informal practices constituted tactics of subversion and for 'getting by.' 

everyday life  

  • as productive consumption
  • as the opposite to 'the system'

  • 「愚/娛眾文化」(mass culture)--阿多諾 (Adorno) 認為,文化工業(culture industry)--以好萊塢電影為元凶--即是愚眾文化。它的結構分枝工整、類似、組織嚴密,「將藝術的高/低、雅/俗之分打破」;它的意識型態力量強大,以致令消費者成為劃一、無自主性、無批判性的群眾("Mass"; 85-89)。不同文化行動中,必然同時有不同程度的意識形態控制及抵制。國家或資本體制的「主流」文化,可以藉由國家機器,尤其是各種大眾傳播媒體,來控制、同質化(homogenize, massify)大眾。於是乎有所謂的俗眾文化 (mass culture)。

  • 「大眾文化」(popular culture)--晚近文化研究者則漸漸抬高消費者的地位(cf. Modleski ix-xviii; Lunt 10);主要理論家有德.瑟鐸(Michel de Certeau)費斯克(John Fiske)
  • 如何結合兩種理論立場?

  • 電影、廣播節目,及肥皂劇既可被稱為「大眾文化」,也可被稱為「愚/娛眾文化」。稱之為前者,是強調中央控制、邊陲抗爭的雙向關係,批判之為後者,則著重在文化工業單向的控制及愚化大眾。


    Popular Music
    Central Issues: importance of Image and Video;  
                            Ways of Consuming/Understanding Madonna, (Fiske) 
                            Pop vs. Rock/Folk,  the Function of Lyrics (Simon Frith)
  • Madonna--
    1. her influence on the female teenagers' sense of (sexual) identity; her combination of angel, whore and mother images
    2. her parody of traditional female images; her puns (e.g. "Like a Virgin," Boy Toy)
    3. her lyrics
    1. content analysis--
    2. sociological approach--lyric not important to listeners.  Songs create a self-conscious teen generation.

    3.     e.g. rock & roll, rap
    4. lyrics as play --p. 156 "Songs are more like plays than poems; song words work at speech or speech acts."
      1. We should thus pay attention to 1. performance, 2. genre differences
        " words matter most, as words, when they are not part of an auteurial unity, when they are still open to interpretation, --not just be their singers, but by their listeners too."