By John Thieme
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Additional resources for A Female Houdini: Popular Culture in Margaret Atwood's Lady Oracle
Neither “pure autonomy” nor “total encapsulation” of the audience is the sole reality. A continuous and necessarily uneven and unequal struggle is waged by the dominant culture to disorganize and reorganize popular culture; to enclose and confine its forms and definitions within a more inclusive range of dominant forms: There are points of resistance; there are also moments of supersession. This is the dialectic of cultural struggle. . It goes on continuously, in the complex lines of resistance and acceptance, refusal and capitulation, which makes the field of culture a sort of constant battlefield.
Beauty is defined chiefly by mass satisfaction. High culture pretends to become perpetual, to win time at the expense of space, while pop culture POPULAR CULTURE AND MUSIC 9 tends to be instant culture. Sociologist Herbert Gans employed the term “taste cultures” to designate the level of aesthetic appreciation while also noting that much of “high culture” (books, records, films, painting reproductions) is as mass-produced as the popular arts. 37 This is a debatable view open to criticism from those who can point to the widespread appreciation of, for example, Western classical music by sophisticated audiences around the world, suggesting to many a certain universality despite the clear roots in Western culture.
Rather, they shape and channel sentiment and taste, which churn and simmer in the larger society, and express popular desires in one form or another. . The genius of the cultural industry . . 57 There remains, however, the basic problem of culture under capitalism: Capital is needed to finance it. ”58 High culture has mainly been targeted at a numerically limited but sophisticated and affluent audience. For popular culture the audience must be maximized and the product must then appeal to the lowest common denominator.
A Female Houdini: Popular Culture in Margaret Atwood's Lady Oracle by John Thieme