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COMM 4221: Ritual

Mark Pedelty

on 16 November 2013

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Transcript of Hegemony

Problem solving methods using experiments or trial-and-error.
As singular noun, a "heuristic" is a shortcut method or mental script derived from experience, sometimes derived from, and applied to, different domains (e.g., Petchauer, 2).
A social research methodology involving long-term, fieldwork and
participant observation
within a community of
; used to gain a better understanding of informants' social organization and cultural patterns.
Related Concepts
Emic: informants' perspective
Etic: ethnographer's
The published work
is also called an

Cultural Capital
Symbolic acquisitions and performances that can lead to higher status in a social hierarchy; conspicuous expressions of "taste"
"subcultural capital"
Narrative Analysis
What are the most basic elements of stories?
So what is a
(Quantitative) Content Analysis
Applying Narrative Analysis
Problem: Youtube
often has ads
Profound stories (e.g., myths) that represent a society's worldview.
The measurement, assessment, and comparison
of media messages using coding, counting, and
statistical testing.
Bring ideas for a research question (RQ), hypothesis, and variables (e.g., one measurable aspect of ad music in relation to visual or textual content in ads) on Thursday. The simpler the better. Content analysis works best on basic, countable variables (e.g., sex of singing voice, length of ad, company, etc.)
American Dream
& Horatio Alger?
"Making it" as an
emphasis in popular
Let's apply narrative analysis to this song and video and then answer this question: how do they deal with the American Dream metanarrative?
Research Ethics
With the person(s) next to you, think of
a scenario where information you keep or
publish could harm your informant.
1. Informed consent
2. Protecting informants in the field and in publication
3. Careful handling of data
The consent form
With the person(s) next to you, think of
a scenario where information you keep
and publish might harm an informant.
Please take one. Copy this form or download from Moodle.
Questions about
the assignment?
Research and Writing Guide
Role play as intro & overview
Interpreting a text's meaning by studying its basic story elements.
Brainstorm: Measurable variables for
YouTube ads? (musical
and otherwise)
We do not have the time
to design a rigorous content analysis and there
might not be enough ads.
Solution: we'll use more
of a "census" approach.
Analysis of the building blocks of meaning, including "signs."
signifying units? (Drewett, 43)
Roland Barthes
According to Antonio Gramsci, hegemony is a social condition in which hierarchy is maintained not just by overt power (e.g., military), but also by widespread acceptance of ideologies that legitimate authority and inequality. These ideologies so powerful, according to Gramsci, that many people cannot even imagine reasonable alternatives.
Drewett uses the term in reference to Apartheid South Africa. Does Gramsci's definition fit Apartheid?
What about popular music: can music be "hegemonic" in the Gramscian sense of the term?
Content Analysis Examples
Frisby, C. M., & Aubrey, J. (2012). Race and Genre in the Use of Sexual Objectification in Female Artists' Music Videos. Howard Journal Of Communications, 23(1), 66-87.
Pop about the same as R&B & Hip-Hop.
Country music less sexual objectification.
Waters, R. D., Amarkhil, A., Bruun, L., & Mathisen, K. S. (2012). Messaging, music, and mailbags: How technical design and entertainment boost the performance of environmental organizations’ podcasts. Public Relations Review, 38(1), 64-68.
The use of basic musical persuasion techniques was correlated with the relative popularity of the podcasts.
Zhang, Y., Dixon, T., & Conrad, K. (2010). Female Body Image as a Function of Themes in Rap Music Videos: A Content Analysis. Sex Roles, 62(11/12), 787-797.
Rap videos about sex and materialism: thinner women
Rap videos about politics:
larger women
Tempo (BPM)
Nonprofit Environmental Soundscape
Corporate Non-environmental Soundscape
Corporate Environmental Soundscape
Complete coding
Qualitative analysis of subsample
Including variables that are too complex and combinatory for quantitative coding: genre, timbre, etc.
Next Steps
Having coded for sex of…
disembodied voice: announcer
embodied voice: spokesperson
Need to code for…
Voiceless bodies: nonspeaking roles
Sex of Image?
Do women have to be seen to be heard in ads?
Preliminary Results
Time intensive
Current sample of 120 ads (40 in each category) will be tripled
Acquisition & Coding
Soundscape theory
Paper Cuts
multiple hypothesis testing method
danger of fishing expedition, but gets at complexity
especially useful for descriptive purposes
mixed methods
supplemented with qualitative analysis of subsample
See paper for formal hypotheses and tests
Hypothesis Testing
Sonic Conflicts over Sustainability in Corporate vs. Nonprofit Ad Campaigns
Singing to the Choir?
Dominant soundscape in environmental ads is “acoustic-rural,” but the corporate ads are more “upbeat”
Announcers (omniscient narrators) are almost exclusively male in corporate advertising. Women are almost only heard when seen.
Cartesian dualism: mind/body, subject/object, man/nature?
Soundscape Trends?
Basic trends are continuing
in expanded corporate
environmental ad sample.
The other samples have
not been expanded.
Sex of Announcers
Spokespersons are
less common than
off screen announcers
Sex of Spokespersons
Are the dominant soundscapes gendered?
What are the dominant soundscapes in environmental ads?
Is the voice of “green advertising” predominantly
male or female?
Sex (of body)
Role: announcer, spokesperson, singer, character
Vocal Pitch
Ad type: corporate vs. nonprofit
Ad type: corporate environmental vs. corporate non-environmental
Environmentally themed nonprofit TV ads
Non-environmentally themed corporate TV ads
Environmentally themed corporate TV ads
Media Literacy
Producers' Awareness
Better Ads
In sociology: a high degree of ideological concordance between various social elements in a group, creating a very coherent and homogenous subculture.
The process through which a person
becomes the subject of a state or institution
Louise Althusser
A debate regarding pop politics
Most pop music is apolitical or "carnivalesque"
Pop music tends to "interpellate" the obedient consumer
An assumed character or role, especially one adopted by a performer
implies intentionality
Always a
Becoming subjects & gaining identity
interpersonal "hailing"
architectural interpellation
textual interpellation
Breaking Interpellation:
The Dadaist Tradition in Popular Music
disrupting "reason"
Albert Einstein
"Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen."
drawing attention to the exotic and bizarre nature of the everyday and taken-for-granted
musical interpellation
#1 hit: One More Night
"you" = lover
A girl who looks quiet but plays when she plays
A girl who puts her hair down when the right time comes
A girl who covers herself but is more sexy than a girl who bares it all
A sensable girl like that
#2: Gangnam Style
"you" = what kind of "girl"?
Taste Culture
other examples?
Pink's "Stupid Girls"
Disrupting convention or reinforcing it?
Feminist or sexist?
Pilot Study Results & Related Examples
Ben: animals?
Plous, S. S., & Neptune, D. (1997). RACIAL AND GENDER BIASES IN MAGAZINE ADVERTISING. Psychology Of Women Quarterly, 21(4), 627.
Simon: product use in ad?
(cc) image by anemoneprojectors on Flickr
Susan: first speaking role m/f?
Kyle: smiling women?: 13 in regular, 22 in diet
Jacob: vocals?: 4 in regular, 7 in diet
Does the diet,
less-taste version
need more sensory stimuli?
Britt, Maia: celebrity?
Many: genre, style
Allan, D. (2008). A Content Analysis of Music Placement in Prime-Time Television Advertising. Journal Of Advertising Research, 48(3), 404-417.
[14% popular music]
0 (100?)
5* (500)
11 (1100)
Celebrities are signified
through music?
4 (400)
* is "contemporary" popular music?
Point of the Content Analysis Exercise

1. Get some sense of what quantitative analysts do with media (e.g., market researchers).

2. It is good to have some broad context (e.g., 100's of texts) for interpretive analyses and claims. For example, claims regarding violence on prime time television, children's TV, etc., are often based on anecdote and a few samples as opposed to rigorous research.
A group or subculture whose internal and external identities are linked to shared interests in specific cultural practices and art forms.
Taste Culture
Generically, it can be any subset of a larger society
In practice, often used to refer to relatively homologous groups (i.e., skinheads, straight edge, etc.) or used synonymously with “taste culture."
Taste Culture is often associated with socioeconomic class status
Musical Articulations
Goths, Kpop, Metal Heads, Punks, Rappers, Ravers....
Subcultures signified, in part,
through music?
What genres are used to signify upper, middle, and working class statuses in America?
Is there such a thing as trans-class, non-class, or "class x" musical genres, styles, cultures, or practices?
Cultural Panic & Subcultures
First) Count off to 4: (1) rave fans, (2) parents, (3) county officials, and (4) concert promoters
Second) Watch this news story and decide how you would react and what you would do. Explain why:
Third) Report the results of your discussion. Reporter: largest backpack or purse. Facilitator: smallest.
What is it and why do we have them?

Subculture & Genre Writing Exercise
1) Genre and group you are studying
2) List a few common, external perceptions about
this genre and its fans.
3) Are any of those perceptions related to stigma and/or related to class, race, or gender stereotypes?
4) Based on your research so far, how are some of those external perceptions different from how your informants think about their music and themselves?
Submit to Week 8 Forum on Moodle by October 26
On TV and in movies, people in drum circles are often represented as silly "hippies." They are viewed as lazy, unwashed, superficially spiritual, and spaced out. Their counter-cultural views are lampooned as unrealistic and contradictory. For example, "Die Hippy Die," an epidsode of South Park, presents drum circles as a public menace. Ifan, a member of the Clearwater Drum Circle (CDC), is aware of these stereotypes, and argues:
People who haven't experienced a drum circle often don't understand what we do. For the CDC it is about creating rhtyhms together, ourselves, rather than relying on some computer program or iPod to do it for us. We are connected to each other, as a community, rather than to a machine.
As an ethnographer, I wonder if the stigma applied to the middle class youth subcultures like the CDC is a way of attempting to make middle class kids conform to cultural norms.

(Popular) Music Studies
Question for small group discussion:
Are some genres better than others at
dealing with environmental themes?
If so, how and why? Give an example or two.
Is there such a thing as "urban" vs. "rural"
musics? If so, what makes music urban or
rural? Give some examples.
What roles have animals and nature played
in human music-making? Give a few examples.
Are rock and pop sustainable?
Do events like these (e.g., Live Earth) make a difference?
Does musical protest matter?
Is most popular music associated with overconsumption or sustainable consumption?
Discussion: 7 groups (count off from back).
Reporter: from the smallest town.
10 minutes for discussion and then report to the class.
Front of class
1 2
3 4
5 6
+ Tuvan tonality = noise
+ Bosavi tonality (linked to bird song) = noise
+ Spanish tonality (linked to sacred polyphony and harmonics) = noise (devilry)
(but Western flute music resonated)
musical semiotics: sound is a signifier
sign + sign = code

is a process of
encoding &
Music is a semiotic process, a way that we make meaning.
We need to create meaning
in order to make music (e.g., encode sound with meaning; or it would just be "noise")
1) Are some genres better than others at dealing with environmental themes?
If so, how and why? Give an example or two.
2) Is there such a thing as "urban" vs. "rural" musics? If so, what makes music urban or rural? Give some examples.
3) What roles have animals and nature played in human music-making? Give a few examples.
4) Are rock and pop sustainable?
5) Do events like these (e.g., Live Earth) make a difference?
6) Does musical protest matter?
7) Is most popular music associated with overconsumption or sustainable consumption?
Feel free to modify the question
To what extent are there "universal" aesthetics and to what extent must musical elements be culturally encoded to be meaningful and aesthetically pleasing? For example: rhythm, timbre, harmony, or pitch?
(plural: simulacra)

A simulated reality that is mistaken for reality
Truman Show
& Philip Glass's soundtrack
If we "create" place culturally,
then what places are "real" and which
are "unreal"? Aren't rock clubs, churches
filled with choral music, and forests
filled with birdsong equally real? Who
creates these spaces, including
sound design, and does it matter?
Tagg: urban
Thesis about heavy
We live in
human &
Our music reflects that
Let's see your space and hear your song
Ritual is...
Deeply meaningful ("sacred")
Scripted (e.g., "liturgical")
not this....
but what about this; is
this how ritual is "mediated" now?....
Sensual (deeply involves the senses)
Manuel Nunez's
Why do humans perform rituals?
Victor Turner
The Ritual Process

An in-between status or state
social rites for
individuals and groups
transitorystates of
social or historical
Tableau Exercise
Count off to 4
All: first a tableau showing example where assigned ritual succeeds to reinforce social bonds and a second that represents a case when it breaks social bonds. Use your bodies to
communicate the point (instruments optional if you prefer movement and sound, but keep it simple). We'll interpret first, but also choose a representative to explain after we guess. 15 minutes to prep. Note: "subversive" agents can undermine ritual, social antagonisms (e.g., between groups) can be unsurmountable, performances can go poorly, poor planning, etc..
1. Mummers
2. Moshers
3. Choose a familiar musical ritual to illustrate the same point
4. Choose a familiar musical ritual to illustrate the same point

"Ritual is a means of performing the way things ought to be in conscious tension to the way things are.” - J.Z. Smith, quoted in Bonni's Turning Up the Light
The inevitably transitory (according to Tuner), collective feeling of inclusion, belonging, and leveling of rank that often characterizes liminal stages during the "ritual process."
According to various theories of hegemony, hegemonic ideology articulates us to nation (nationalism), markets and corporations (capitalism), patriarchy (sexism), and/or racial hierarchies (racism). Cultural Studies theorists often apply the theory of hegemony to popular music. Can you think of any examples that support or refute the "hegemonic music" thesis?
Before getting to hegemony, a more
fundamental question: To what extent
do we create our "selves" and to what
extent are we the products of the
cultures, institutions, ideologies we are
raised within?
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