Monday, January 24, 2011

NPR: "Common Cultural Ground Getting Harder to Come By"

Hey y'all,

I heard a story on National Public Radio today that touches on a lot of what we talked about in our first class meeting and in the readings. The basic idea is that the networked aged in which we now live has created a "fractured culture." The fragmentation is a result of the overwhelming amount of choices we now have in how we consume media and interact with each other in relation to it. This story talks about how technology has fundamentally changed the way we communicate with each other in the sense that there is no longer "one dominant cultural conversation." This is not completely a negative thing, just the evolution of what was once mass market. You can listen to the story here:

"Common Cultural Ground Getting Harder to Come By"
By Elizabeth Blair -- January 24, 2011

You might notice that "fractured culture" idea conflicts with Dewey's idea that communication works "not by transporting the private thoughts of people's minds but by making people share in the making of a common life (pg. 35)." While there are certainly dominating forces in pop culture that capture the attention of the masses and dictate what we end up talking about around the water cooler (American Idol *cringe*, Jersey Shore *double cringe*), those moments of cultural unity are much more rare.

1 comment:

  1. Has there ever been a "one dominant cultural conversation"? Maybe the issue with a lot of these readings revolves around the question of what is culture? Is there even such a thing as a broad culture which seems to be idealized in these readings? I think culture is more narrow. I think Dewey's quote that you references about communication as making people share in the making of a common life is more what culture is. Might this be broad sometimes? Yes. More often, it is probably narrow.

    There is an interesting duality in communication and culture. On the one hand, these mass communication forms have allowed for increased understanding of others, and on the other hand, it has increasingly fragmented groups. As Cooley put this, a multitude of influences will lead individuals to become unique through conformity.