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The Bad Mood Keeps Rising

23 Feb 2017Psychology Essays

In the chapter “The New Anticorporate Activism” Naomi Klein discusses the emergence of new phenomenon – a network of human-rights activists that has exposed many organizations to damage. Moreover, Klein traces the key differences and similarities between anticorporate campaigning and apartheid actions. The central point of the chapter is that one has to fight corporations and organizations whose sole purpose is to benefit from repressive government policies and to increase profits disregarding social and corporate responsibilities. Thus, the role of anticorporate activists is to reveal violations committed by multicultural corporations and organizations. Klein argues the role of anticorporate activists is crucial to contemporary business world as multicultural corporations don’t consider, in many cases, their responsibilities and obligations to the public. (pp.325-326)

The negative moment is that anticorporate activism takes many forms ranging from socially and environmentally responsible to radically terrorist. Moreover, the tasks of the groups are different as well. For example, the Yellow Pages is an international hacker group whose goal is to hack computer networks of huge corporations. (p.326) Klein stresses that it is economic globalization that has caused emergence of anticorporate activists and many corporations are forced to fight as well. Anticorporate activism goes far beyond labor and trade unions. Their members are both young and old representatives whose education ranges from elementary school to colleges and university. They come with large investments claiming that multicultural corporations and organizations are behaving illegally and, thus, sinfully. As anticorporate activists claim, multicultural corporations should stake their lives on their violations and being not committed to environment they are operating in. Anticorporate activists are social marketers and political intelligentsia who are worrying about environment more than about increasing profits and sales. (p.327)

Further, Klein discusses the Year of Sweatshop tracing the emergence of the anticorporate activists to 1995-1996. Andrew Ross has called that year the year of Sweatshop because every time Americans switched on their TVs they heard shameful news about labor exploiting, human rights violating and environment polluting. It means that world brands didn’t consider human and environmental factor in pursuing increased sales and profits. Nike, Shell, McDonald’s, Disney and many other corporations were in that row. However, the Year of Sweatshop appeared to result in the Year of Brand Attack. (p.332) The Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire appeared to be the turning point in anti-sweatshop movement in the country. Thousand of workers were striking waiting for government response and declaring their rights: working week is to be 54 hours; working day is to be ended not later than 9 p.m.; fire and health care regulations are to be introduced, etc. (p.333)

Klein says that many of the anticorproate campaigns are of political origin whose attacks are targeted at global economic issues rather than at national ones. Global corporations are argued to re-organize the world they way they want it to look like. (p.340) Many citizens tried to fight conservative economic trends by voting for liberal and democratic governments, but soon they realized that economic policy remained unchanged. Even greater transparency in government has failed to be effective in restraining multicultural power. Today international stage is experiencing disillusionment with current political processes because attempts to regulate multicultural corporations through the United Nations have failed to be effective. (p.3410) Summing up, anticorporate activism is movement aimed at making multicultural corporations more socially and environmentally responsible. They develop political strategies to re-organize multinational brands and their efforts are more successful that that of the government’s.

Moral Panic, the Media and British Rave Culture

In the article “Moral Panic, the Media and British Rave Culture” Sarah Thornton discusses authentic culture as a means to struggle with mass-mediated corporate world. In particular, Thornton points the following themes: underground as subculture; the betrayals of broadcasting; importance of censors; marketing moral outrage; subterranean media; and development of subculture as result of mass-mediated corporate world. The author argues that authentic music is outside the media as it doesn’t match its norms and standards. However, for many people authentic culture is self-expression and ability to present original thinking. Researchers often claim that underground or authentic music stresses the anti-media discourse and, thus, young people loose the ability to identify what to consider right and what to consider wrong. Nevertheless, the author argues that, despite recent claims and arguments, no opposition between the media and subculture is revealed. (pp.176-177)

‘Underground’ is defined as the expression of subculture and underground style is authentic, it doesn’t tend to be labeled as fashionable or mass-produced. Underground music promotes the original world that is off the elitism and mass-consumerism. Underground style is against the mass media, but it doesn’t oppose it. Mainly, undergrounds are mixed as they disregard class, race and ethnicity. In particular, the discourse of undergrounds is anti-mass culture; undergrounds criticize media of being commercial, shallow and derivative. The long-standing form of underground subculture is happiness. For example, British youth acknowledges sub cultural hierarchy and they acknowledge their position within it. The underground culture is a relative system exposed to timing, position and context. (p.179)

The British homes mainly prefer four channels and ‘Top of the Pops’ is viewed as a gateway to mass culture and key point of ‘selling out’. Within underground context, selling is viewed the same as betraying. The undergrounds can’t understand why to sell original songs beyond initial market. In such a way, artist looses sense of possession, familiar belonging and exclusive ownership. Art shouldn’t be sold out. Many academics argue that the youth and the British media are in opposition, but in reality contemporary youth is not against television. They are simply against selling culture to someone else and they accuse national television of distributing illegally raw materials of youth subculture. (pp.180-181)

Thornton assumes that moral panic operates within the purviews of tabloids, and even underground subculture has its own tabloid front pages. Media is often outrageous with the youth scene that authenticates their culture and disapproves credible sources. Subcultural press predicted that moral panic about hippies, punks, and acid house is inevitable. Cultural studies of moral panic tend to defined youth subculture as innocent victims of negative stigmatization. However, they are not what they are thought to be. (p.183) The undergrounds claim that mass media misunderstands their initial goal of cultural pursuits. Thus, moral panic is generated by the culture industries targeting the market. Nevertheless, Thompson writes that moral panic is a metaphor that aims at depicting complex society experiencing groundless fear about the future of the media ad culture. Moral panic inflates the threat posted by culture differences. (p.184)

Rave and acid house styles are considered unique phenomena of the 20th century, but recent case studies reveal general points about the media and youth subculture. Media is involved in organization of underground subculture. Thornton concludes underground culture is not organic and autonomous. Mass media plays crucial role in formation of underground subculture; moreover, mass media actively participates in development of underground lifestyle. Development of subculture shows that contemporary youth is unambiguously active and creative instead of remaining passive and manipulated. Due to authentic culture the youth is allowed to represent their unique view on the world, it is an excellent way of self-expression and self-recognition. (pp.186-188)

Images, Ideology, and Women of Color

In the article “Images, Ideology, and Women of Color” Leith Mullings discusses the role and position of African-American women in contemporary American society. The author examines representations of African-American women and their emergence in the context of class and gender conflicts. The central conflict of the article is the duality of freedom and constrains that trace gender for Africa-American population. Despite democracy and equal rights movement, there is still a constraint on gender for women of color. Thus, their freedom is inadvertently measured. (p.237) There are many reasons that have led to negative perception of African-American women. The first reason is slavery and the second is representation of women as inappropriate women. Even in literature they were portrayed as mammies, castrators and sexually provocative. Therefore, women of color appeared to be at the centre of the strongly held ideologies concerning race and gender. (p.238)

The most enduring representation of African-American women is attributed to slavery times. Their images drawn from literature and historical accounts didn’t truly represent the reality. For example, in the Antebellum South women of color were represented as subordinate in their gender hierarchy as males were dominant in that region. Interestingly, an ideal woman was highly romanticized. The model woman was identified with her home being ideal wife and mother. She was assumed to be calm, passive, delicate, submissive, dependent and frail and pure. Historians have drawn two images that characterized African-American woman in America and Europe: ‘Jezebel’ is a sexually aggressive and provocative woman governed by its libido, whereas ‘Mammy’ is a religious and mother slave who devotes all her time to slave owner’s children. (p.239)

The author stresses that defeminization of women of color was related to race ideologies that promoted the brutal conditions of slavery in American society. Thus, African-American women were treated as non-human and definitely inferior species, and slavery for them was the most appropriate condition. Surprisingly, medical science stresses African-American women had smaller lungs and brain, whereas their genitals were larger. In such a way, enslaved were proved to belong to different species that white population. (p.239) The stereotypes of Jezebel and Mammy were applied to women of different ages and phenotypes. The idea that African-American women represented another species justified their excessive sexuality. Therefore, sexually aggressive African-American women faced sexual exploitation and rape, whereas Euro-American men stressed women were the initiators because of their libido. In such a way, the author shows that artificially created stereotype may be an excellent excuse for violence and discrimination. (pp.240-243)

Mullings writes that there are many similarities in the way dominant groups tend to represent their personhood. For example, the aspect of exploitation centers on the definition of being ‘other’. For all people of color, men are presented as dangerous and irresponsible being a threat to European women, whereas women are presented as not deserving social sexual protection in contrast to women of their race and class. Further, men are portrayed as sexually aggressive, whereas women are portrayed as sexually available. African-American women are always depicted as sexually excessive, erotic and exotic. Sexual domination, thus, reinforced labor exploitation and represents European domination. (p.246-247) Summing up, ideologies aimed at stigmatizing African-American women as inferior appeared to be central to maintaining race and gender discrimination. Oppression of African-American women was always justified by representing them as ‘natural’ instead of social and historical and by masking social relations. Gender subordination was supported and women were stigmatized in case they challenged patriarchal model. African-American women were blamed for overall poverty rates and economic decline. Mullings concludes that experience of African-American women has created the basis for deconstructing those ideologies. (p.248-249)

Popular Culture and ‘Major League’ Sport

In the article “The Real Integrated circus, Political Economy, Popular culture and ‘Major League’ Sport” Gruneau and Whitson discuss major changes, challenges and tensions in major league sport. Moreover, the authors discuss the shifts in cultural studies. Today industries that are centered on the provision of entertainment are wide-ranging and they embrace advertising, sports, radio, television and video products. The emphasis of the cultural studies has shifted from politics and economy to unexplored fields of popular culture. The interest on class politics has been replaced with the interest on sexual orientation, gender construction, ethnicity and race discrimination. As a result, recent works concentrates on examining the meaning, subjectivity and politics of signification instead of analyzing changes in social cultural forms. (pp.360-361)

However, the central argument of the article is that development of professional leagues has altered relations and attitudes of sports players to their home communities. The public started to relate their performances to the community pride. As far as teams consisted of local players, they were obliged to say something about their community and qualities of people. It means that field competitiveness resulted in community competitiveness. (p.364) The changes and tension in professional sports are often attributed to expansion into new markets, player’s salary, and labor struggles. Changes are inevitable as they are presented as extension of older commercial dynamics. (p.365)

Tensions are argued to be a result of changes in political-economic environment since the middle of 1970s – the years when the industries started to promote and produce cultural popular cultural goods. Moreover, industries became interested in promoting consumption styles that became a real integrated circus’ in European and American countries. The authors admit that it is still rather difficult t identify what to consider new and what to consider old in promotional discourses and industrial restructuring. (p.372) They underline the necessity to examine how ideology is sustained by forms and practices of symbolic production. The problem of professional sports is seen in efforts of media commentators and sports promoters to construct the idea of ‘us’ around professional sports instead of distinguished sports from community as benefits that teams bring should not be treated as the benefits of the whole community. One more problem is that with the increase of players’ salaries the ticket prices have raised and games of major leagues is out of reach for middle-class and working class fans. (pp.373-374)
The author argue that public money has played their crucial role in promoting major league sports as private investors have got an opportunity to pay franchise fees and to present major leagues to small markets or markets they are willing major leagues to play in. In the late 1960 major leagues have often played in publicly financed facilities (p.378). Of course, franchising offers significant benefits, although the long-term objectives of major league sports was to ensure contracts with national television and special attention was paid to contracts with major US networks. Television increased public interest in major league sports as it allowed the audience to see the most interesting moment missed in arena and stadium. Moreover, television technologies made public know major league players and, in some cases, athletes were turning into local or national celebrities. (p.369)
The purpose of television was to attract new audiences beyond male fans and to make major league games more watched and talked about. The key challenge for major league teams was to increase its continental profile; otherwise, the team risked to loose its regional fan base in favor of more active rivals. The authors conclude that further research is needed to examine whether major league franchises are beneficial economic and social investments. Several researchers have already begun to study the issue, but more attention should be paid to costs and benefits of major league sports. (pp.380-381)

References

  • Gruneau, R., & Whitson, D. (1997). The Real Integrated circus, Political Economy, Popular Culture and ‘Major League’ Sports. In ‘Understanding Canada: Building on the New Canadian Political Economy’, ed. by Clement, W. USA: McGill-Queen's University Press.
  • Klein, Naomi. (2000). Bad Mood Rising: The New Anticorporate Activism. In ‘No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies’. Toronto: Vintage Canada.
  • Mullings, Leith. (2004). Images, Ideology, and Women of Colour. In ‘Feminist Communication Theory’ ed. by Rakow, L., & Wackwitz, L. London: Sage.
  • Thornton, Sarah. (1994). Moral Panic, the Media and British Rave Culture. In ‘Microphone Fiends: Youth Music and Youth Culture’, ed. by Rose, T., & Ross, A. New York, Routledge.

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