Popkultur, motkultur, finkultur

Blir masskulturen allt dummare? Hög tid att göra kulturellt motstånd mot konsumtionssamhällets konformism? Nä, naturligtvis inte – tvärtom. Med avstamp i The Rebel Sell och Everything Bad Is Good For You bjuder ISK in till ett samtal om masskultur, motkultur och finkultur nu på onsdag.

I panelen sitter bland andra:

  • Olav Unsgaard, lärare vid Globalverkstan och redaktionsmedlem i Fronesis
  • Gunnar Falkemark, docent i statsvetenskap, GU
  • Jakob Wenzer, doktorand i etnologi, GU

Onsdag 2 november kl. 18:30 på Viktoriagatan 13, Göteborg. Gratis!

Mothugg passar på att tipsa om förlagets videointervju med Andrew Potter och Joseph Heath, författarna till The Rebel Sell: How Counterculture Became Consumer Culture. Och för den som hellre läser sammanfattar de sina teser lika fint i en artikel i This Magazine:

Look at the non-fiction bestseller lists. For years they’ve been dominated by books that are deeply critical of consumerism: No Logo, Culture Jam, Luxury Fever and Fast Food Nation. You can now buy Adbusters at your neighbourhood music or clothing store. Two of the most popular and critically successful films in recent memory were Fight Club and American Beauty, which offer almost identical indictments of modern consumer society.

What can we conclude from all this? For one thing, the market obviously does an extremely good job at responding to consumer demand for anti-consumerist products and literature. But isn’t that a contradiction? Doesn’t it suggest that we are in the grip of some massive, society-wide, bipolar disorder? How can we all denounce consumerism, and yet still find ourselves living in a consumer society?

The answer is simple. What we see in films like American Beauty and Fight Club is not actually a critique of consumerism; it’s merely a restatement of the ’critique of mass society’ that has been around since the 1950s. The two are not the same. In fact, the critique of mass society has been one of the most powerful forces driving consumerism for more than 40 years.

Ett utdrag ur Steven Johnsons briljanta Everything Bad Is Good For You: How Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter finns att läsa New York Times:

For decades, we’ve worked under the assumption that mass culture follows a path declining steadily toward lowest-common-denominator standards, presumably because the ”masses” want dumb, simple pleasures and big media companies try to give the masses what they want. But […] the exact opposite is happening: the culture is getting more cognitively demanding, not less. To make sense of an episode of ’24,’ you have to integrate far more information than you would have a few decades ago watching a comparable show. Beneath the violence and the ethnic stereotypes, another trend appears: to keep up with entertainment like ’24,’ you have to pay attention, make inferences, track shifting social relationships. This is what I call the Sleeper Curve: the most debased forms of mass diversion – video games and violent television dramas and juvenile sitcoms – turn out to be nutritional after all.

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