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Communication Culture and Media

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Communication Culture and Media

Human beings live in society and it has been the focus of all the social scientist and sociologist to examine the structures and its influences on the human being. The two most important constructs of any society is class and culture. The modern society most defining influence is that of media especially the electronic media. The faster means of communications and media has to a large extent mitigated the isolation of the communities’. As a result, a kind of universalization is in process.

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The apprehension of the people that media is governed by the interest of the powerful and it is not air facts but rather aversion of its own reality is not totally unfounded.

Human beings don’t exist in void they are constantly interacting with people and most of their interaction is within the community they are born and raised. Culture has been afield of study that has been extensively explored. Post modernist like Bordieu has tried to find a co-relation between culture and power.

(Houston n.p, 2002)

Noted sociologist Banks defines culture as “Most social scientists today view culture as consisting primarily of the symbolic, ideational, and intangible aspects of human societies. The essence of a culture is not its artefacts, tools, or other tangible cultural elements but how the members of the group interpret, use, and perceive them. It is the values, symbols, interpretations, and perspectives that distinguish one people from another in modernized societies; it is not material objects and other tangible aspects of human societies. People within a culture usually interpret the meaning of symbols, artefacts, and behaviours in the same or in similar way”

Class is term which has been in use in the modern times with its implications of inequalities that exist in the society. The social class was being increasingly used by the Marxist ideology to represent the economic in equalities in the society which was fuelled by the industrial revolution. The difference in the culture, lifestyles power, authority, education and religion are the structure that defines class.(Banks  et al ,n.p1989)

Pierre Bourdieu is an acclaimed French sociologist who questioned the existentialist theory of the intellectual giants like Jean Paul Sartre .He even contended the structuralism of his time. These were the two opposing trends of his time in fact he provided a middle path between these two thought processes. Existentialist theory was a revolt against the abstract philosophy of the bygone era which had nothing to do with the suffering of the human being. It was amore realist approach which dealt with the choice, individuality subjectivity freedom and above all nature of human existence. (Wolfrey,n.p,2000)

One of the key concepts that Bordieu explored was the concept of habitus. He is not the first one to have done an in depth analysis of the social construct .The famous exponents of the concept are Aristotle, Marcel Magus and Bourdieu in the modern times .Human beings live in different social environments and the culture of the community conditions the human responses. The behaviour and the thought process is acquired according to the structuralism. The conditioning of human psyche by the outside world is negated by existentialism emphasis on objectivism. Human beings according to this theory are making conscious choices. His concept of the habitus resonates with the Marxist dialectical precept (Jeremy pg 100 ,2000) .The social structures shape the human responses and the structures are also getting affected by the human choices. The outside stimuli from the field of human interaction are interacting with world of symbolic meaning of the world of that particular individual. This has smells like the Kantian idealism. The practice of the human beings is defined by the divisions of the social world. Bourdieu views social structures interacts with the symbolic meanings of the world of human mind.

Taste simply doesn’t imply what can be perceived by the four senses which described by E. B. Titchener in his outline of psychology. According to Bordieu it is not only an aesthetic faculty but also includes the clothes the furnishing and grooming .It encompasses the whole canvass of human actively where there is an empirical interaction with the material world. It defines the choices we are making regarding while dwelling in our fields like the professional life. The concept of habitus can be applied to the aesthetic faculty of taste .This construct is not static feature through out an individuals life It can be inculcated. It involves a continuous reference to an exemplary. Food is a biological need and the preferences of foods is determined by the class culture religion race and the social enviornment.It is unique amalgamation of the  empirical biological construct and the cultural construct which is subjective. Since a living body is crucible of this interaction there is an element of dynamism in this construct, (Anderson pg 31, 1996). Prior to Bordieu taste was considered to be subjective and thereby revealing the self identity of an individual. The religion structure can be seen in the certain foods as beef and pork being considered sacrilegious by the adherents of religions like Islam and Hinduism. Religion is relatively less perceptible to change and it can even undermine the biological aspect as it is a established fact that man is omnivorous but religion like Hinduism hails vegetarianism as its religious principle and the followers adhere to it. (Sloan, n.p., 2003)

The change of economic fortune, education and culture due to migration also brings about change in the eating habits. The working class eats foods that are greasier the way they eat the food is different. There is less emphasis on formality. The bourgeoisie lays more emphasis on the nutrition and keeping the body healthy. Therefore, salads and less greasy food like the baked meat are consumed more by them. Bordieu views culinary taste as being determined by the class to which an individual belongs. He discusses the class construct and how it determines our taste in his seminal work ‘Distinction: Asocial critique of judgement and taste’ His views have been thought to belong to antiquity as the class distinction is not so rigid in the contemporary times. The social structure is determining factor like the urban and the rural setting also have effect on the eating preferences. The consumption of the fast food is more in the cosmopolitan cities than in the rural areas. Class which Bordieu refers to is not subjective rigid framework but rather a dynamic structure was the objectivity is also at play. Habitus according to him is the everyday life activities and the preference that the individual shows with regards to the course of action.This according to bordieu is determined by the social class.

Another important influence on the human society is television and the reality shows that is genre which is based on the premise that it is showing humorous events that are based on actual situations. The characters are not professionals but laity. This genre is a recent phenomenon. Big brother survivors cops are some of the examples of these reality show although it includes programes like quiz The idea has been present since the inception of the television but it gained currency in the 2000.Necessaty is the mother of invention .The strike by the writers guild of America and the demand for innovative programs led to the birth of this genre. It would be wrong to presume that these shows are pure depiction of reality. Fact and modification of facts under the guidance of the programme director is what constitutes these shows. The media undertakes the construction of reality. Therefore the same structures that influence human endeavours in a society are at work in these shows Fact and fiction blend or hybridize to provide entertainment. The Big Brother shows have been charged with being racist. Economic is one of the important factors in the continuity of such programme despite the charges that it is eroding the privacy of the individuals, because the production of such programmes is very cheap as music sets and payment to writers and actors is not required. Here again we see that the objective and the subjective interact in the crucible of the aesthetic faculty of entertainment. Hybridization been in practice in almost every aspect of filmmaking in Hollywood and Altman has brokenthis myth with regards to regards to music in his book. (Altman, pp 90-102 & 110-119,1989)


Altman, Rick, 1989, The American Film Musical, BFI, London, pp 90-102 & 110-119

Bourdieu, Pierre. 1977. Outline of a Theory of Practice. Cambridge University Presss

Stanley Houston Reflecting on Habitus, Field and Capital: Towards a Culturally Sensitive Social Work Journal of Social Work, Vol. 2, No. 2, 149-167 (2002) © 2002 SAGE Publications

Bourdieu Pierre Distinction: Asocial critique of judgement and taste’

Reality TV: the Big Brother phenome Posted: 9 April 07 reterieved


Cohen, Ralph, 1987, “Do Postmodern Genres Exist?”, Genre, vol XX, nos 3-4, Fall-Winter, pp 241-257.

Donald Sloan Culinary Taste: Consumer Behaviour in the International Restaurant Sector (Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism) (Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism) Publisher: Butterworth-Heinemann; 1 edition (December 4, 2003) ISBN-10: 0750657677 ISBN-13: 978-0750657679

E. B. Titchener (1867-1927) textbook, “An Outline of Psychology

Michael O’Donovan-Anderson The Incorporated Self  pg 31Publisher: Rowman & ittlefieldPublishers, Inc. (July 1996) ISBN-10: 084768282X  ISBN-13: 978-0847682829

JIM WOLFREYS In perspective: Pierre Bourdieussue 87 of INTERNATIONAL SOCIALISM JOURNAL Published Summer 2000 Copyright © International Socialism

Banks, J.A., Banks, & McGee, C. A. (1989). Multicultural education. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Pierre Bourdieu: A Critical Introduction (Modern European Thinkers) by Jeremy F. Lane  Publisher: Pluto Press (September 1, 2000) ISBN-10: 0745315011 ISBN-13: 978-0745315010


Cite this Communication Culture and Media

Communication Culture and Media. (2016, Sep 13). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/communication-culture-and-media/

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