EPUB Banality in Cultural Studies

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Meaghan Morris’ paper is par excellence a postmodern interpretation of ‘ cultural studies’. What she basically did is she applied Jean Baudrillard’s theory of media to the current state of ‘cultural studies’. Baudrillard’s theory of media effects and culture is a theory that redefines reality in the postmodern era. Reality nowadays is, according to Baudrillard, anything that can be simulated. Because media has the potential of reduplicating reality and presenting it to the masses in a fancy depiction, people started to believe that what is presented to them is more real than what is really out there (real world). This simulated reality seems more alive because “the only irresistible force today is that of the moving object as it fices and evades the subject” says Morris. The example of TV plays a major role in Morris’s paper. TV has the power to change society radically because it is now the new reality. What is not broadcasted is unimportant enough and whatever that gets the media attention is “important”. In that sense, nothing is seen (or real) until it is seen on the magical box, for example the city of Darwin that disappeared from the real world simply because there was no news about it on TV. TV has shifted from a process of reporting real events of the real world to a process of creating real events that in turn influence the real world. This shift is important for it proves that what is broadcasted has become more real and influential than what is actually happening in the real world. People have become more engrossed in the trivialities that are being feed to them by media and oblivious of what is essential and real. It is almost considered a catastrophe if a soccer match was interrupted because the power went down. That’s how much the simulated reality (hyperreality) has become important. And if thousands of people were killed by a natural catastrophe, it is considered as a minor event, and probably some would get angry if this sort of news interrupted their favorite TV programs.
In Baudrillard words, we tend to study what is banal and leave aside what is fatal. That is to say, ‘cultural studies’ is being directed toward unimportant issues that constitute an endless loop that eventually lead to the same results. Morris is concerned with the methods with which ‘cultural studies’ is researched. She thinks that the methods of research give repetitive results because simply ‘cultural studies’ and its methods are directed toward the mundane life. She emphases on the idea that ‘cultural studies’ become banal once the economic institutions influence the focus of this discipline. We are using the wrong tools (or concepts) to analyze mass media and popular culture. Therefore the question isn’t “what ‘cultural studies’ is?” but rather “What does it do?”
The core idea is that ‘cultural studies’ is not an independent discipline (or field) that has specific fields of interest. ‘Cultural studies’ is a discipline in which other disciplines cross roads. It is also the discipline that, hypothetically speaking, has the potential to touch all sides of life. The potential of ‘cultural studies’ can do more than what is assigned to it. “The marketing of cultural studies is beginning to define and restrict what it is possible to do and say in its name” says Morris. Her quote shows the interference of the utilitarian in directing the use of ‘cultural studies’. The book publishing industry for example does not absolutely permit all sorts of publications, but it channels them to the mainstream or the standards set by economical and conspicuous motives. Institutions, be it political or economic, are doing the job of standardizing the cultural identity as well as the manner in which cultural studies is being approach. To Morris, we are living in a social setting, which is created by capitalism.

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Publisher Block #14, 1988 printer friendly version
Pages count26
File size0.9 Mb
eBook formatebook, (torrent)En
Book rating3.7 (1 votes)
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