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High Theory / Low Culture (2005) by Mikita Brottman
Related: Mikita Brottman - theory - "high" culture - "low" culture
High Theory / Low Culture (2005) - Mikita Brottman [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
IntroIn High Theory / Low Culture (2005), Mikita Brottman uses the theories of Mikhail M. Bakhtin, Roland Barthes and Jacques Lacan to analyze low culture/
Bakhtin and Popular CultureThis is an excerpt from Brottman's High Theory / Low Culture (2005).
Mikhail M. Bakhtin is gradually emerging as one of the leading theorists of the twentieth century, not only in literary circles, but wherever the fundamental nature of “literature” and “culture” is taken into question. Despite the checkered history of his own writing career and the impossible confusion of manuscripts and authorization, Bakhtin is perhaps the most important and certainly the most radical writer of recent years to wholly re-think the concepts of style and genre in the light of a post-Saussurean linguistics.
However, Bakhtin attacked those linguists, including Saussure, who treated language as a dead, neutral and static object of investigation. He viewed verbal signs as the arena of continuous class struggles. The ruling class, he believed, try to narrow the meaning of words, and to make social signs “uni-accentual,” but the vitality and basic “multi-accentuality” of linguistic signs always becomes apparent as various class interests clash and intersect. According to Bakhtin, discourse can never be simple and holistic, but instead must be split into a series of interacting metalanguages, sometimes conflicting, sometimes at play. This interaction between a series of fundamental discourses recurs, claims Bakhtin, at every level of conversation, within whatever context the utterance is made. He described this interaction as heteroglossia, referring to the basic condition governing the production of meaning in all discourses. Heteroglossia asserts the way in which context defines the meaning of utterances, which are heteroglot in so far as they put into play a multiplicity of social voices and their individual expressions. A single voice may give the impression of unity and closure, but the utterance is constantly (and to some extent unconsciously) producing a plenitude of meanings, which stem from social interaction [...]. --http://www.mikitabrottman.com/BakhtinPop.html [Oct 2005]
Compare the first sentence of Robert Stam's Subversive Pleasures : Bakhtin, Cultural Criticism, and Film (1992)
"In the last few years, the Russian author Mikhail Bakhtin has become one of the most influential and controversial thinkers on the contemporary scene..."
to the first sentence of Mikita Brottman's High Theory / Low Culture (2005)
Mikhail M. Bakhtin is gradually emerging as one of the leading theorists of the twentieth century, not only in literary circles, but wherever the fundamental nature of “literature” and “culture” is taken into question.
See also: Robert Stam - Mikhail M. Bakhtin
High Theory / Low Culture (2005) - Mikita Brottman
Mikhail M. Bakhtin is gradually emerging as one of the leading theorists of the twentieth century, not only in literary circles, but wherever the fundamental nature of "literature" and "culture" is taken into question.
In "High Theory/Low Culture, Mikita Brottman uses the tools of "high" cultural theory to examine many areas of today's popular culture, including style magazines, sports, shopping, tabloid newspapers, horror movies and pornography. In doing so, she not only demonstrates the practical use of "high" theory as it relates to our everyday world, but she also investigates the kinds of "low" culture that are regularly dismissed by academic scholars. Through a close examination of these cultural forms, Brottman reveals how the kinds of popular culture that we usually take for granted are, in fact, far more complex and sophisticated than is normally assumed.
- Introduction: Popular Culture and its Critics
- Bakhtin and Style Magazines
- "Joyful Mayhem": Bakhtin and Football
- Barthes and Tabloid Newspapers
- Roland Barthes Goes Shopping
- "Blue Prints and Bodies": Lacan and Pornography
- Dark Homecomings: Lacan and the Horror Film
About the author
Mikita Brottman is Professor of Language and Literature, Maryland Institute College of Art. She is the editor of Car Crash Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2001) and author of three books on the horror film.
See also: high - theory - low - culture
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