I have to a little project about iphones in my class and here it goes :

Article: http://www.slate.com/id/2175304/nav/tap3/

As Wu discusses this case, he makes some assumptions about what pop culture is, or what is most important/interesting about popular culture; these assumptions provide the framework of how he treats the iPhone, iPhone users, Apple, etc.

How does Wu implicitly define popular culture, and what influence does this have on understanding the iPhone unlocking issue?

As you answer this question, you will need to address all of the following:

1. Story identifies six ways of looking at popular culture. In your own words, briefly summarize the definition of popular culture that you think is most applicable to how Wu perceives the iPhone unlocking issue.

2. Show how Wu’s discussion relies on this perception of popular culture. Illustrate your argument with specific examples from the article. Be sure to identify at least one concept from another author we have studied together (not Storey) whose ideas also help to illustrate the significance of this iPhone matter; use it to help your argument here.

3. How might Wu have treated the iPhone unlocking issue differently if he viewed pop culture through a different theoretical lens? In other words, on what would we focus if we used one of Storey’s other definitions?


2. Pop culture is not high culture

"Popular culture, in this definition, is a residual category, there to accommodate culture texts and practices which fail to meet the required standards to qualify as high culture." (8)

· Implies necessity of value judgment, of standards for what is the 'best' culture

· Ties to class differentiation, educational distinction

· But - cultural texts & practices move from pop to high, or high to pop

o Sting - Songs From the Labyrinth

o Shakespeare

3. Pop culture is mass culture

"It is mass-produced for mass consumption. Its audience is a mass of non-discriminating consumers. The culture itself is formulaic, manipulative (to the political right or left, depending on who is doing the analysis). It is a culture which is consumed with brain-numbed and brain-numbing passivity." (11)

· Pejorative: Disdainful view of pop culture commodities and their effects

· Tied to theories about dominance of Capitalism

· In global scene, pop culture is mass American culture

· Socially-constructed "loss" of something (folk culture, high culture)

· But - are users of pop culture so passive?

o “Evolution of Dance”

o “OK Go - Here It Goes Again”

o “Numa numa”

4. Pop culture arises from "The People"

"...[P]opular culture is the culture which originates from 'the people'. It takes issue with any approach which suggests that popular culture is something imposed on 'the people' from above. Popular culture is thus the authentic culture of 'the people'. It is popular culture as folk culture." (12)

· Pocket of resistance to Capitalism ("authentic" or folk culture)

· But - materials of pop culture are largely commercially-based

5. Pop culture is contested, the site of struggle between dominant & subordinate groups

"Popular culture in this usage is not the imposed culture of the mass culture theorists, nor is it emerging-from-below spontaneously oppositional culture of 'the people'. Rather, it is a terrain of exchange between the two...marked by resistance and incorporation." (14)

· Battle to establish meaning & significance of pop culture commodities (Fiske will call this excorporation)

· More than just class differences (like in mass culture theories)

· Must account for particular "social circumstances and historical conditions of production and reception." (15)

6. Not pop culture but postmodern culture

"...Postmodern culture is a culture which no longer recognizes the distinction between high and popular culture." (16)

· Not really possible to distinguish high from pop, or "authentic" from pop, or mass from pop

· Ex: Paul McCartney & Starbucks (Global listening event Pt1 & Pt2 for Memory Almost Full)