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Hegemony & Simulacra: Two Ideas

Materials from Communications Ch 3 & 12
by

Samuel Sloan

on 19 April 2017

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Transcript of Hegemony & Simulacra: Two Ideas

Material from Comm.
Ch 3 (48-50) & Ch.12

Hegemony and Simulacra
Hegemony
- "a process of granting some group with more power and privilege the ability to shape our worldviews, attitudes, beliefs expectations and actions"
Antonio
Gramsci
This Definition is kinda
Crap
Hegemony is a concept that deals with power by a dominant group, but is more about
struggle
and
co-opting
than
"granting"
My Definition:

Hegemony
- A struggle over cultural legitimacy where a (typically oppressed) group seen as having less cultural legitimacy has their cultural capital co-opted by those with power.
ke$ha
hipsters
White appropriations of sacred native american culture.
in native culture, associated only with men: used primarily in religious ceremonies or war
So, looking at a culture (Native Americans) who have had their culture systematically erased through genocide by early American settlers and presidents like A. Jackson, we can track a struggle for legitimacy and maintaining a cultural heritage - particularly when represented poorly in the media.
Recently, we can see things like hipster re-appropriations of Native american culture as a sign of hegemonic struggle.
We could talk about Hegemonic Oppression of African Americans:
Stereotypical representation in media
Mass Consumption of subversive artforms, co-opted by white singers/songwriters (like Elvis) Blues ->Jazz->Soul-> Gospel->R&B->Rap
In a hegemonic situation, a cultural group that is
alternative, subversive, or in opposition to
the dominant ideology of a place is in a
constant fight
with the dominant group.
We could talk about Hegemonic Oppression of Women:
Lack of realistic body types/gender roles in Hollywood
Lack of strong female characters
Culture urging women who worked during WWII to go back to the home.
You can find a dozen or more black musicians from the 1950's that preceded Elvis, doing a similar act, with similar musical forms. Elvis popularized R&B for white audiences.
Chuck Berry
Elvis Presley
On a different level, we could also look at Punk Rock as a genre of music that was meant to be revolutionary in the 60-70's and often spoke to lower class folks.
The point of Punk was to be subversive to authority, engage in anarchy, call out "the man," and reject capitalism as the only or dominant form of exchange.
What was an ideological movement at points, has been co-opted for decades, some say since the beginning.
Can anyone think of some other co-opted cultural practices, people, artifacts?
But today, you can buy so-called "Punk" style clothing in any hot topic.
Ripped Jeans with safety pins were subversive in the 1970's, but are fairly standard today.
Simulacrum
is "the façade that replaces the real to such an extent that the real or actual ceases to be"
Simulacrum - Simulacra (pl)
In the logic of a "true" simulacra, there is no original "thing" - only copies.
Think of most musical albums are produced, typically, with each band member walking into a sound proof room and laying down one track at a time.
The album is a record of a performance that never existed
in any real way, yet is the "official version" of that song.
Furthermore, lots of remixed or electronic music today takes place primarily or solely on computers. A simulacrum might be a old song where most people only recognize the remix or re-sampled version.

Jean
Baudrillard
The Matrix is a perfect Simulacra -
A "fake world" that is more real than the "real world."
Simulacra will make you question what is real
The prime example is Disney,
Building "fake places" that appear as "more real" than the "real" places they are based on.
If you think about some of the ways cultural stories are appropriated in a hegemonic way, with endings changed, it's no wonder we have a hyper-real or simulacric view of the world.
The same applies to stories/characters/myths that are appropriated from popular culture.
IRL, it was more like have my kid and die of smallpox in Europe while we wipe out your people,
K THX.
WHICH IS MORE REAL?
Here's a question: Why should you have to take an SAT test, if the thing it most accurately measures your family's income?
http://www.sociologysource.com/home/
2010/9/27/teaching-hegemony.html
How is this related to Hegemony?
Reflexivity:
-A back and forth process of thinking about how we act, what that means, who it enables, who it hurts and so forth.
-
A realization of your own actions, a realization of how these actions affect others, and the ability to consider the difference.

- E.g. Apologies Have three parts: I realize what I've done. I'm sorry. How Can I make it better?
-The actual doing or putting into practice of a theory or concept.
-e.g. We can study a theory like "Intersubjectivity," but until you put into practice in a practical situation (like interviewing people from different cultures to see how they influence each other), the theory has only limited use.
-
Reflection and action
on the world, in order to
transform
it.
Praxis:
e.g. I can study the art of performance (performance theory) and never perform myself (praxis)..
Dialogic Communication
-
Desire to speak "with"
and
not "for" a person
or
group
of people
-Often seen as an egalitarian, feminist method of communication:
invitational rhetoric
- inviting people into a conversation, rather than speaking for them without asking.

- e.g. Say that as a young person, you are representing the interests of a retirement home to a board of trustees that makes decisions about the home, among other things. Someone practicing dialogic communication would speak with the residents of the home and offer their opinions to the board, letting the residents "speak for themselves." Someone not using dialogic communication might never talk to the residents, instead purporting to speak "for" the group without truly understanding their needs.
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