Pop Culture as Mass Culture

Posted by: | March 25, 2009 | Comments Off on Pop Culture as Mass Culture




The first article regarding popular culture as mass culture is “The Fateful Final” about the world cup final between Brazil and Uruguay in 1950 in which Uruguay beats Brazil in the final 12 minutes of the game. Football in Brazil is a major/mass pastime that acts almost as a national religion. When I was younger I played soccer for 13 years and my team won the BC provincials one year. Throughout this article I could really imagine this fate full game and the emotions that came with it. To some extent at least I can identify with the change in mentality that you have when playing as well as when you’re watching a game from the sidelines. The strong connections between team players and their desire to win can bring everyone into the present, forgetting past and future and simply being in the now. This is an amazing power of sports, and extremely difficult to do when you are in your daily life. Anyways, I guess I can say that if you have never played in team sports and the amount of emotion and intensity that is written about in this article might seem weird and excessive (which it very well might be). But there is something to be said for experiencing the act of being in team sports or even just watching. I feel like it does bring people together creating a sense of community whether that is in a small town and a group of children, or on the national level. I guess what the author of this article exemplifies how nations as big as Brazil can come together as an imagined community, all intimately connected. In the article I became aware of the extent of the emotions that were on high at the Maracana. The emotions could be defined as almost scary or fanatical with a sort of mob mentality that I would probably want to stay away from. However I did think it was interesting to learn that only one person got knocked over when leaving the Maracana after the game and that violence was minimal.


In the second article, “Big Snakes on the Streets and Never Ending Stories” we learn of Venezuelan Telenovelas, another form of popular culture as mass culture.

The telenovela is popular all around Latin America and “is the main source of support for several television channels in Latin America”.  We learn about novellas on the radio in the 1900s and their influence on telenovelas of today. You can go back farther and trace the telenovela to “popular forms, beginning with the folletin, or newspaper serioal, itself transitiona…”(pg67) It continues to evolve as a genre, acquiring different nuances in different countries. Most of them however are organized and produced in a similar way… “a story in which a man and a woman fall madly in love, but before they can live happily ever after, they have to overcome a series of obstacles.”(pg69)





Posted by: | March 25, 2009 | Comments Off on Hibridación…

..Hibridación…La lectura de esta semana del escritor argentino Néstor García Canclini describe una teoría más del mestizaje: hibridación. Se me ha complicado un poco encontrar la diferencia entre hibridación y transculturación. En la lectura …

Hybrid culture

Posted by: | March 24, 2009 | Comments Off on Hybrid culture

I had a difficult time for a while trying to pick out of the article what exactly the author’s definition of ‘hybrid culture’ was. Not that the article was not interesting throughout, but until the end I was not all that clear on his meaning.
It was interesting to read about Canclini’s take on the […]

Modernity and Hybrid Cultures

Posted by: | March 24, 2009 | Comments Off on Modernity and Hybrid Cultures

Nestor Garcia Canclini’s article entitled “ Hybrid Cultures: Strategies for Entering and Leaving Modernity”, talks manily about the development of urban dwellings. They have become microcosms of interweaving and fragmented: humans, land and culture. Cities offer a paradigm for culture and power, and create many opposing thoughts of humankind. Latin American cities scenarios make one perceive both the amalgamation and separation in both high and popular culture. Much global modernity phenomenon in the trends and creation of popular culture is able to be viewed, many of these stratifications of art is impossible to get to and not necessary. A hybrid happens in these forms of art that is more generically termed ‘post-modernism’.By pointing out interesting issues, like the figurative bond between urban and rural spheres in the view of the ever increasing mass media prevalent in most nations today Canclini shows us what one may see when going to a Latin American country. Many of the countries I have been to in Latin America have supported this thought process, much of television broadcasting either has some or a large portion of influence on the style, language and goals of the country and its people. Canclini then goes on to talk about urban reflections, by using examples from national monuments, statues and urban artwork to show the ways in which history and modernity interact on the canvas that is the streets. Other examples of folk and art works tend to be display in museums and usually in areas of ‘high culture’, while the public areas and monuments is where the real contention court lies. Page two hundred and thirty one provides an excellent example for how the author proposes an alternative look at contesting and contention in public areas through the viewpoint of popular culture representations. In the last paragraph of this chapter, the author makes this contesting even clearer between lack of public initiative, acknowledging the symbolism these monuments perform (i.e. creating politeness and conflict) and a detachment from political issues. The most interesting part of Canclinis work, or at least I found to be, is when he discusses the significance of urban graffiti art and the ways in which it allows for imagery to be altered, distorted and rebuild visual realities. Other things  such as comic books, which the author also points out, can have a humoristic approach to speak about the dominant and orthodox view forms.  


Hybrid Cultures

Posted by: | March 24, 2009 | Comments Off on Hybrid Cultures

In Nestor Garcia Canclini’s article, he explores the popularization of folk culture. It was thought that modernization would erase folklore, but instead it has transformed it. The “popular-traditional” has been adopted by the elite culture and the culture industry, in such a way that it is commodified and mass-produced. Facing unemployment, many people turn to making artisans to make a living, or as an way to make a little extra income. Artisans make up apparently “ 18 percent of the economically active population” of Latin America, a number that is surprising as many would think that culture was being eroded by the globalization of Western (mainly American) culture. Now, people whose communities never made handicrafts, or only did for their own personal use, are making them as part of the culture industry. Governments continue to promote the productions of such artisanal work despite the fact that it does not add to the GDP. In places like Mexico, stores dedicated solely to the sale of souvenirs are everywhere, heavily concentrated, obviously, in the tourist destinations that are frequented by Americans. Staying at a Club Med, people can own a little piece of “real”, “authentic” Latin America that they bought in the resort’s gift shop, without even having to venture out into the street.  Folklore is not only catered as a commodity for tourists, however, as states use traditional or popular symbols to reach the population. Nestor Garcia Canclini states that different sectors use folk culture “to affirm their identity, stress a national;-popular political definition or the distinction of a cultivated taste with traditional roots” (154). Through the modernization of communication networks, states can use traditional symbols, dances, festivals, etc to reach all levels of the population, regardless of geographical location or socioeconomic standing. Communities also use folk culture as a way to communicate with the people, to tell history and to teach morality. So, although traditional culture is often produced for the volumes of tourists wishing to take home a little piece of their trip, modernization has allowed traditions to keep being practiced by the population, even if they have been transformed.


Posted by: | March 24, 2009 | Comments Off on Hybridity

Before reading Canclini’s few chapters I thought I had a pretty good idea of what hybridity, as a theory of mixture, would be. I thought that it would be a lot like transculturation except more diverse, less one whole process. In a way, this isn’t an…

Theories of Mixture: Hybridity III

Posted by: | March 24, 2009 | Comments Off on Theories of Mixture: Hybridity III

This article was somewhat confusing.  However, there is one point that Canclini makes that I agree in part with, but not totally.Canclini says that the state uses folk culture to attract tourists.  On many levels, I agree with this.  I think that in…

Hybridity: And I’m not talking about your car, or am i?

Posted by: | March 24, 2009 | Comments Off on Hybridity: And I’m not talking about your car, or am i?

Ever heard that popular saying out there that goes something like this: “Kiss French, Dress Italian, Drive German”? Well that’s the first thing I thought when I say the word Hybridity. Why? I am not sure, all I know is that for me people have always try to adopt things from other places…. the grass […]


Posted by: | March 24, 2009 | Comments Off on Hybridity

I found that the point of the author about hybridization was hard to get. I must confess that I cannot clearly understand the differences between hybridization, transculturation and syncretism. I found really interesting the first arguments of Calclini about popular culture as a construction of the elite. He explains that there […]

Cities: schizophrenic agglomerations of grids or a place for citizens to fully engage with each other and perform creative expressions of culture?

Posted by: | March 23, 2009 | Comments Off on Cities: schizophrenic agglomerations of grids or a place for citizens to fully engage with each other and perform creative expressions of culture?

On “Hybrid Culture, Oblique Powers” by Néstor García Canclini, 1995.The development of urban concentrations fascinate me in its capacity to, simultaneously intertwine and fragment, peoples, places, and cultures. Cities are a strong representation of …

Futbol y Telenovelas

Posted by: | March 23, 2009 | Comments Off on Futbol y Telenovelas

Si hay dos cosas que se asocian con Latinoamerica, son el futbol y las telenovelas.  Aunque hay gente que no se vuelve loca por el futbol, siempre van a tener algun equipo favorito.  Pasa lo mismo con las novelas, por ejemplo, me crie en una casa con…

popular culture as mass culture

Posted by: | March 23, 2009 | Comments Off on popular culture as mass culture

I do my post for last week today because I was quite busy last week and I did not manage to do it properly. Anyway, I found the two articles quite interesting. We are quite used to associating Latin America with the two examples given this week. Indeed, the futebol and the telenovelas have a […]

Theory of mixture III: Hybridity

Posted by: | March 23, 2009 | Comments Off on Theory of mixture III: Hybridity

First of all, I must admit that Canclini’s article was a bit difficult to follow. He really deals with numerous complex themes and he doesn’t really focus on the term ‘hybridity’ which gave me troubles to understand its meaning. I ho…

Is it Natural?

Posted by: | March 23, 2009 | Comments Off on Is it Natural?

Hybridity…is it really that natural? From a biological perspective hybridity is commonly a result of human manipulation of genetics – cross-breeding… borne from hyperactive imaginations of scientists with too much time granted to them or childhood …

Theories of Mixture: Hybridity

Posted by: | March 23, 2009 | Comments Off on Theories of Mixture: Hybridity

While this article was a bit hard to get through, due to its wordiness, I felt like it covered some very interesting topics. However, the topic of hybridity wasn’t really covered in depth until the very end of the article, and to be honest, by that poi…

Telenovelas and Futbol

Posted by: | March 23, 2009 | Comments Off on Telenovelas and Futbol

In this response I want to switch it up and talk about the second article first “Big Snakes on the Streets and Never Ending Stories: The Case of Venezuelan Telenovelas” by Nelson Hyppolyte Ortega. In this article, Ortega talks about the telenovela phen…

Futebol and Telenovelas

Posted by: | March 22, 2009 | Comments Off on Futebol and Telenovelas

As I expect, learning about Brazil through fuetbol was probably one of the most exciting things we have done in this class. “Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life” is done very well. Bellos tells the story of Brazil through events such as the 1950’s World Cup of Soccer and profession athletes like Garrincha. I had an idea of how import the 1950’s World Cup because I had heard it from someone while I was in Brazil. It was one of the largest upsets according to the individual I talked to about it. Uruguay was seen as a large underdog going into the match.  It is unfortunate that is how they see the event, because despite it being the most important game played there, it still is just a game.  The things leading up to this event and game were more important to the foundation of the country( i.e. breaking free of dictatorship and building a stadium and hosting the championship game) but the people let the game symbolize more than it’s worth and “blamed” some for the loss. Specifically individuals, like Moacir Barbosa, lives were made so horrible for just trying to represent their country at the national stage. He was quoted as saying “The maximum punishment in Brazil is 30 years imprisonment, but I have been paying, for something I am not even responsible for, by now for 50 years”. I understand that futebol is extremely important to Brazilians, but isn’t there a point to which it’s too important. When I think of this it brings to mind how much focus on hockey is in Canada. I have heard horror stories of coaches being killed or assaulted (by parents) because they didn’t play a certain player. I enjoy sport especially soccer/football and I am a competitive person, but it isn’t the point of sports to bring people together, not single them out especially as scapegoats. Another point is how much this would discredit the win. Uruguay must have fought hard to achieve that victory, and Brazil though almost always a favourite, can’t always win. Soccer players are only human, and humans make mistakes.

The second article was not nearly as enthralling as the first, but it was still very relevant to Latin American Culture studies. Nelson Hippolyte Ortega’s small overview of telenovelas, explaining how and why they came into existence was quite interesting. The highlighting of works such as Rowe and Schelling show the culture process at work. In his introduction Nelson however loses me somewhat because he compares soap operas and telenovelas. He says that telenovelas are to incite “reality” and “teach about the affective, social and political problems of contemporary society”, and that soap operas are simply to entertain. I agree that there is much more substance in telenovelas, as they have some cultural value, but that does not mean that they do not also intent to entertain. When it comes down to it both soap operas and telenovelas serve to make money through media.

Popular culture as mass culture

Posted by: | March 22, 2009 | Comments Off on Popular culture as mass culture

Although football is not a fascinating topic for me, I found Alex Bellos’s article interesting in its way of presenting futbol in Latin America and in Brazil in particular as one of the main component of the national culture. I guess here, mass culture…

theories of mixture; hybridity

Posted by: | March 22, 2009 | Comments Off on theories of mixture; hybridity

Theories of Mixture III: hybridityI have a history class this semester and in the tutorial we were talking about U.S. cultural Imperialism, and one of my classmates said that she did not think that the U.S. had anything to do with that because the Amer…


Posted by: | March 20, 2009 | Comments Off on Transculturation

I seem to have gotten behind on my blog in the midst of due dates, essays, exams, etc. But better late than never. In Oritz’s article, he brings to light the concept of transculturation, even suggesting that he is the one to coin the term. He poses thi…

Futbol y telenovelas

Posted by: | March 20, 2009 | Comments Off on Futbol y telenovelas

I found both of the articles for this week interesting and well written. I will admit, while I appreciate soccer to a degree, I am not a huge sports fan in general, and have never really understood the craze and obsession that goes along with it. Howev…

Popular Culture=Mass Culture

Posted by: | March 19, 2009 | Comments Off on Popular Culture=Mass Culture

So we’ve finally reached that point in the semester when we are given concrete examples of this elusive popular culture that we’ve all been searching for.  Futebol and telenovelas are certainly (in my humble opinion) excellent examples of contemporary popular culture in Latin America, and I feel that these two articles do an excellent job of defining the aspects of these pasttimes which make them so accessible and important to the general public.  National identity and national unity seem to be the common themes expressed in both articles.  Futebol and telenovelas serve the purpose of unifying a nation’s people under a common identity (in the case of futebol) and in common experiences and moral values (telenovelas) such that  both give a public form to conceptions of what it means to be Brazilian or Venezuelan.  In the case of both activities, the common citizen is merely a spectator to the action, yet they feel as though they are a part of a larger whole which is represented in the drama played out–within the telenovela or on the futebol field. 
While initially Brazilians’ obsession with their 1950 World Cup defeat baffled my sport-resistant sensibilities, as I read further, I began to understand the role that futebol plays in the lives of many and the stakes each individual has in the national game.  The game and its players represent much more than a simple game, but rather the opportunity to create and maintain an international image of prestige and power; something which is often achieved only in such practical interactions such as as international warfare or economic trade. 
Telenovelas too, have the ability to define and create national identity and unity in their portrayal of a ‘heightened reality" of the average citizen’s everyday reality.  As Venezuela’s example demonstrates, a forum such as the telenovela provides the opportunity for group unity in suffering and strife–in this case exemplified by economic and political turmoil–and for the experience of catharsis in being able to identify with so many others in a communal struggle. 
Ultimately this week’s readings led me to ask myself what aspects of American popular culture have led me to feel a part of a unified national group; a question I could not honestly answer.  The telenovela has no true equivalent in (for me) in American culture, while my absolute aversion to sport isolates me from the feeling of group unity found in cheering for a sports team.  Both futebol and telenovelas, while seemingly simple examples of popular pasttimes in Latin America, provide us with examples of the exceptionally important role popular culture plays in forming our everyday realities and group identities. 

Popular culture as mass culture

Posted by: | March 19, 2009 | Comments Off on Popular culture as mass culture

I didn’t have time to read the whole texts, especially the one about football which was very long so I will expand on what we discuss in class last Tuesday: the relation between sport and politics. Sport is a kind of peaceful way to make war. It is a field where countries could confront themselves on equal terms. Sport is based on physical strength and no political or economic power so it is a way for the developing countries or the one which are not very powerful on the diplomatic sphere to prove that they are as powerful as the others and could also defeat them. It is an opportunity for them to show they have talent. Sport is a field where any country be brilliant at. Football is definitely part of the Brazilian popular culture because it is a democratic sport accessible to everybody. It is a sport played by the people, the nation so it is very symbolic: the nation has to fight for the homeland, to defend it abroad. As Bellos says, the defeat of 1950 against Uruguay was a real tragedy « because it happened at the beginning of a decade in which Brazil was looking to assert itself as a nation with a great future ». Sport mobilizes masses, it is an element of social cohesion. Football is symbolic because people transfer all their expectations of a better future on it.

Finally, I think telenovelas are also part of the popular culture. As Hippolyte Ortega says in his text, telenovelas and soap operas reflect the aspirations, in a certain way, the values of a society: soap opera stage American middle-class only interested in sex and money while telenovelas get into themes like love, family, contrast between rich and poor. The themes reflect the worries of one particular society because people must identified themselves to the characters.

Both football and telenovelas are elements of mass culture which I think could enable us to understand how they think. 

Futbol and telenovelas

Posted by: | March 19, 2009 | Comments Off on Futbol and telenovelas

The readings for this week talked about two very important areas of Latin American popular culture: futbol and telenovelas. The first reading, by Alex Bellos, is entitled Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life, and it underlines the prominent position of f…

Futbol y novelas

Posted by: | March 18, 2009 | Comments Off on Futbol y novelas

I was waiting for weeks to get to this reading about futbol and culture and it did not let me down, it was really enjoyable and fascinating along the whole step of the way.Futbol, like many other sports, is not just something that you simply see, but y…

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