Learning involves critical reading, clear conceptualization of ideas, understanding and appreciation of others’ ideologies. The study of social and cultural disciplines provides a unified platform for the analysis of different cultural activities in the context of reconstruction or deconstruction of the world, as we know it.
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The major spheres of the world’s reconstruction and deconstruction include societal, cultural, economical and political aspects and remain a major area of focus in the cultural studies and therefore calls for critical understanding of the different cultural backgrounds and cultural activities of the world generally found in cultural and social books and films.
The study of cultures continues to propagate the deconstruction of the world as it is. Learning of the old cultures, clinking on to them, and believing on these olden cultural myths and history bars development and progress politically and socially among citizens across nations.
Misinterpretation of cultures plays a critical role in destroying the world through conflict of cultures in learning institutions, places of work or even in places of worship. In the cases of cultural misunderstanding and conflicting societies, there is little or no progress economically, politically, and socially.
Moreover, some cultures have no ‘respect’ for nature; here nature comes at the bottom of priorities but human life and sustenance comes first and this phenomenon confirms outright deconstruction of the world by cultural studies.
On the other hand, cultural studies disseminate information, ideologies, and interpretations of cultural activities and action important in the development and creation of health societies and communities across countries of the world. Understanding of cultural myths and exchange of ideas through sharing of experiences in a social class destroys autonomy of cultures and encourages communism of cultures.
Cultural studies in deconstruction of the world
The concept of culture industry and its social and political effects
The concept of culture industry involves the centralization of cultural masses to one marketplace where the best pieces of art or popular cultural activities succeed. This concept largely destroys the autonomy of one culture given that, the integration of masses of culture gives each piece of art whether high art, or low art, an equal opportunity of expression.
Politically, the concept of culture industry destroys the spirit of capitalism in cultural activities where each culture enjoys cultural expression and presentation individually and independently to the now collective and centralized cultural mass presentation (Adorno 482).
By the political disturbance of the initiation of the cultural industry, societies lack freedom of cultural expression and presentation and appreciation of their cultural creativity simply because perhaps their pieces of art did not succeed in the centralized marketplace and therefore, genuine happiness decreased in the society.
Controls in production and distribution exist with prices dependent on the utility of the piece of art to the customer. Affecting freedom of cultural expression affects societal and political aspects of ‘world construction’ and progress therefore propagating deconstruction of the world.
Effects of Myths and History in Deconstruction of the World
Myths and history play an important role in deconstruction of the world; in his book, ‘the great family of man’ Barthes portrays man everywhere across the continent to have similar sequence of events throughout one’s life and places nature at the bottom of history (Barthes 345).
The argument comes from analysis of several photographs of people taken from different parts of the world and shows men to be universally the same with similar characteristics and behavior.
The interpretation of the photographs attributes man to undergo similar conditions regardless of his or her geographical location. According to the myth and history here, men are born; they work, play, and die. History gives meaning to each human condition through which the entire family of men passes especially death.
The myth and history do not give recommendation on improvement of facilities of the world to prevent misfortunes like injuries and death but after death, myths and history will hold that, ‘once born ought to die’ even if the death resulted from high child mortality caused by lack of basic human necessities.
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Firm belief on such myths and history learned from cultural disciplines implicates continuous deconstruction of the world.
Racial Policies and Deconstruction of the World
Cultural studies propagate moral decay across the societies and communities of the world through the publication of literature materials, magazines, and branding of commercial merchandise and clothing with information advertising or spreading sexual immorality such as gay as is the case with Abercrombie and Fitch branding company (McBride 567).
As a marketing strategy, these brandings target the white youth from upper class families. The company practices employment discrimination based on race, color, and nationality. Employment policy favors the whites only at the expense of the other races.
Employment remains purely for the whites even requiring submission of current photographs by every employee to the management in order to maintain the ‘A & F look’ as referred after every quarter of the year.
Vices such as discrimination, racism and moral drainage cause decreased economic, political, and social development with the favored community, society or race progressing while on the other hand, the marginalized people languishing in poverty especially where discrimination in employment applies.
Cultural Studies in Reconstruction of the World
Meaning Of Cultural Text via Decoding and Appropriation
Decoding entails the right interpretation of a text, image, or figure for better understanding because every text, image, or figure has a hidden meaning encoded in it. The main meaning encoded in these texts comprises the dominant intended meaning. Every cultural image or artifacts carry with it some message that requires interpretation.
Negotiation as a type of cultural text interpretation involves allowing different people to interpret a cultural text, image, or figure in their own way and make their own judgments (Cartwright and Sturken 544). People look at the cultural artifacts; cultural performances such as dances and rituals then make their own interpretation.
The meaning here is not fixed but depends on people’s perception about the image or text. Cultures enjoy the freedom of expression and subsequent interpretation is not limited to the producers of the art but diversified to other people, each making his/her own meaning depending on his/her thinking.
In this case, the dominant ideology surrounding a particular piece of art and barring change erodes, giving way for new ideologies with high potential of progress. The act of allowing diversified interpretation of cultural activities allows the inclusion of significant meaning which affect other aspects of world reconstruction as economic growth, political and social development as people enjoy the freedom of cultural interpretation without discrimination.
On the other hand, cultural appropriation plays a central role in propagation of contradiction to the dominant ideology of a cultural text. It involves ‘borrowing’ of meaning and changing of the dominant meaning of a cultural artifact, image or product to mean something else different.
For instance, political art uses cultural appropriation to form political campaign slogans while the health sector uses appropriated cultural artifacts to warn against the spread of the deadly killer diseases like AIDS.
Through this method of cultural text interpretation, there is enhancement of reconstruction of the world as information dissemination involves some cultural slogans coined from popular cultural activities and actions.
How sub cultures resist dominant social norms
Mainstream cultures have a defined cultural norm, followed across the cultural communities; however, subcultures, normally within the cultures contradict the mainstream cultural norms. In the story ‘Real world of counter publicity’ cultural behavior exhibited is different from what the mainstream cultural values demand.
The speech of the women is incredible especially those trapped in sexual immorality (Zamora 482). The explanation of what women go through in sexual abuse is way beyond what the mainstream cultural values and norms require.
The culture of immorality oppresses those practicing it and through counter publicity, which has political intervention use, it has a communicative tool to air out the problems including violence that the people in these subcultures go through.
Here there is exchange of ideologies and decision making depending on personal thinking and interpretation. Political movements and alliances propagate campaigns against such cultural violence as experienced in the subcultures of sexual immorality, thus bringing into light the dehumanizing experiences and violence that women in the cultures of prostitution undergo.
This helps in reconstruction of the world in that the hidden secrets of what actually happens in the world of prostitution is brought open for the public domain to decide.
John Fiske’s concept of popular discrimination
Contrary to cultural industry concept, which stresses on the best form of cultural artifact to succeed in the central cultural marketplaces, the concept of popular discrimination stresses on functionality of the piece of art over the quality.
This concept affirms that, if a cultural text applies to many popular cultural activities, then it is relevant and therefore people may produce meaning even beyond the intended meaning by the producer.
The significant difference here is that, John Fiske stresses on flexibility of the product in its consumption and relevance of the cultural product to the people using the cultural artifacts (Fiske 345).
With the relevance of utilization of the cultural products, there is correct interpretation of the culture hence leading to right and proper application of the ideas and knowledge obtained helping in the reconstruction of the world.
Punk Rock Culture
The youth in the music band ‘punk rock’ defies the dominant cultural understanding of beauty by adopting a youth subculture whereby, fashions, hairstyles, body markings, and application of facial make-ups dictates is central to beauty and attractiveness.
This emergent trend contradicts the mainstream cultural understanding of beauty, which only focused on body piercing and tattooing as the only ways to express beauty. Changes in the model of commodity production are also inevitable in the punk rock performance whereby, things like current car models are in exhibition (Hebdige 99).
Current clothing fashions and shoes run in displays in different shopping mall. Success in business performance results from the integrated marketing style coupled with widespread production of youth products ranging from toys and magazines to house wares.
This defiance of the dominant understanding of the beauty, success, and commodity in cultures has led to development of new forms of measuring beauty, success, and commodity for better performance hence enhancing development and confirming reconstruction of the world.
Influence of the cultural class in understanding the world
Through the cultural class, it is clear that the world belongs to us, and through our cultural activities, we can either reconstruct it to enjoy the best out of it, or deconstruct it to experience the unpleasant effects thereof.
Defiance from dominant cultural beliefs and understanding sometimes propagates one’s development because some cultural beliefs allow little or no room for additional thoughts, which can bring about development.
Understanding of different cultural activities from the cultural class helps to understand the entire world hence improves the understanding of why things happen the way they happen in different parts of the world.
Cultural studies provide a rich ground and a unique opportunity for exchange of ideologies and sharing of experiences from different cultural groups. The ideas exchanged and experiences shared helped me to understand the world critically through the lenses of reconstructed world, as it ought to be.
Adorno, Theodor. The culture industry; selected essays on mass cultures. London: Routledge, 1991.
Barthes, Roland. Mythologies. New York: The noonday press, 1957.
Cartwright, Lisa, and Sturken, Marita. Practise of looking. New York: Oxford university press, 2009.
Fiske, John. Understanding popular cultures. London: Metheun and company limited, 2005.
Hebdige, Dick. Subculture: The meaning of style. London: Routledge, 1979.
Zamora, Pedro. Real world counter publicity: Performing an ethics of the self. Paris: Seuil, 1982.