The Civic Culture
According to Livingstone, publics and audiences should be regarded in opposition to let one observe their significance and distinctiveness. Although the main remarkable feature of publics in contrast to audiences is their orientation on something shared and collective, the scholars and particularly Livingstone define at least seven more binary differences. This paper will focus on three, including public versus private, visible versus hidden, rational versus emotional in order to follow the abilities of the civic culture to break these binary.
To begin with, it is important to emphasize that regardless all the differences and oppositions between publics and audiences, they still belong to the same reality and intertwine from time to time. As a result, a modern society observes more examples of how such binaries are broken. In order to explain the collapse of the publics into audiences and visa versa, Livingstone offers the concept of “civic culture” as something generally referred to as a non-political, but is becoming actualized when particular political issues occur (32). It is based on the democratic views, and relates a wider public and audiences through more rational public views. It also deprives the possible problems of being regarded on a global level linking them to the local territories and making more personal. Moreover, it can relate formal theoretical issues to cultural experiences adding the biased and emotional attitudes instead of the disinterested and rational ones. Consequently, civic culture becomes a mediator between the two spheres that become urgent when the matters that are of public concern are discussed.
With regard to the media actions, one can agree that it can sometimes support the public rules and understanding, but also often undermines it. In the book On the Relation between Audiences and Publics, Livingstone pointed out how media could remodel the thoughtful and influential public into the crowd or mass consumers (18). Among the examples are politics that are transformed into political marketing, the news into talk shows or journalism into personal opinions with blogs. All these transformations are predetermined by the civic culture.
In order to follow how private becomes public, visible becomes hidden, rational becomes emotional under such impacts, one should pay attention to the following examples. If to pay attention to the modern teenagers, social interaction has become crucial for their behavior on the individual and general level (Boyd). The distribution of information online, the confidentiality settings and possibilities of its violation have broken the notions of private and public considerably. The same changes have also blurred the other lines that made the older generation get confused and not always be able to transit smoothly to the new norms dictated by the global technological development (Boyd). In such a way, while the rational view emphasized the necessity of the technological improvements, the majority of the older population tried to avoid new devices due to the emotional inability to accept serious changes. The emotional rationalization characterizes such case and leads to the idea that the mediators are necessary in order to educate older generations and let people fight their anxiety, get integrated with new global norms and stick to the shared demands instead of the individual fears. For example, governments’ concealment of some facts that should be widely visible demonstrates the break of the hidden-visible binary. Moreover, the Internet spread and social networks have become a good way to keep secretly the information about the population. Additionally, the electronic data recording has become a good way to search the information that should have been hidden or private, but can easily be hacked. Hence, secret disclosure of the data as well as secret work of the FBI is a good evidence of how the binary is broken due to the civic culture influence. Primarily, the preceding behaviors of the wider public common interests have a crucial impact on publics’ and audiences’ characteristics interconnection.
In such a way, media and its development by means of the informational technologies ruins the binaries that shall exist between publics and audiences. Primarily, the change of forms of communications becomes the means that predetermines the shift of private and shared. Additionally, fears and changes can control publics to accept emotional instead of rational. Finally, the policies of the government and work of such services as FBI can make the hidden and the visible become mixed. All of the examples emphasize the great role of the civic culture in such transitions.
Copyright is the expression of the uniqueness and creativity. Music is and has always been a cultural creation. However, the laws on intellectual property and particularly music appeared to be quite blurred and based not solely on the uniqueness of themes, styles or lyrics, but also on the color of the author’s skin. This essay focuses on the example of “Mixtape. Inc” and will analyze the creative value and infinite number of possibilities that make the creations completely different from one another.
The notion of copyright is quite complicated due to the existence of the ideas, their derivatives, improvements or repetitions. Moreover, it cannot actually deal with someone’s ideas, but can only let one judge upon the expression. Referring to the same culture, one can definitely follow that the musical styles of the generations can change, but they often borrow some techniques from the previous ones. As a result, sometimes the entire musical heritage of the nation can be defined as the “traditional collective creative work” (Boyle 129). However, such unification of the musical tradition is not corresponding to the copyright law that rejects common usage of the same motives or ideas. Even though inspiration can be tightly interconnected with the creation of someone else, it is illegal to use a sufficient or considerable part of the similar motives or words in a new work. Ultimately, the freedom of artists is considerably restricted and very likely suppresses a great number of the new musical creations that can become hits.
The copyright law actually protects intellectual property. However, it has a number of drawbacks. As for African American musicians, the laws restricting such borrowing of the ideas throughout generations will completely ruin the traditional views on musical performances that have never been associated with individuals as separated creative works. Boyle pointed out that the imitations that exist nowadays would hardly let such genres of the African American music as jazz, R&B, blues, gospels or other exist (130). Subsequently, the deep and strong connection between the musical styles throughout centuries could have become a real problem for the African American music. Boyle represented a number of examples to see the close interconnection between the works of different musicians. Mainly, the example of Nat King Cole influence on Ray Charles, soul music and blues have become crucial evidence of the musical generations’ interconnection. Ray Charles also may have taken the motives from Will Thompson or Clara Ward. At the same time, the repeating ideas and expressions were found in Kanye West’s “Gold Diggers” and Charles’ “I Got a Woman” and Jamie Fox’s chorus. Similarly, Legendary K. O. represented the borrowings from Kanye West (Boyle 153). In such a way, one can even follow some specific creative chain passing the ideas and their expressions from one song to another.
An interesting example of how the intellectual property issues have become disputable in the modern world can be found in the documentary “Mixtape, Inc.” This example can be even considered as the continuation of the long above-mentioned chain of the African American historical musical interconnections. Some people state the “Mixtape, Inc.” offers illegal music to people. The underlying reason for that is that the documentary shows the mixture of rap and hip-hop music that have come out. However, the usage of the musical compositions created by Xzibit, G-Unit, Kanye West, Walter Bell was illegal and of considerable sizes. At the same time, some other artists, including movie creators, state that people have a full right to use and refer to the music of their idols. Moreover, the music of the above-mentioned artists has already become a national heritage. Furthermore, the overall context in which this music is placed can be defined as a completely new creation incorporating only some elements from other authors. Finally, the names of the artists were clearly stated, thus, no attempts to steal or arrogate someone else’s ideas were made, and to prove that musical ideas as well as genres originated from one another.
According to Boyle’s reflections, the problems of the copyright rules mostly lay in the aggressiveness of the copyright holders and ambiguous definition of what exactly is a considerable part of someone’s oeuvre to borrow. At the same time, he proves that intergenerational connection between cultural achievements exists and it cannot exclude the musical achievements as well as the cultural ones. Music genres develop out of other genres, therefore, copyright law demands needs improvements that will be aware that creation is nothing else than re-creation and imitation (Boyle 156). Consequently, with the existing technologies, the main solution is to make those, who use the music of others to gain profit and those, who borrow it for personal usage, be able to use it for free. In general, such decision is likely to be the most justified.
To sum it up, the creative value of the oeuvres is a disputable issue as it is almost impossible to prove that the same ideas can never repeat. The chain offered by Boyle is a great example of how the genres are interrelated and originate from one another. Mainly such samples prove the inappropriateness of the copyright law that obviously demands revision.
Andrew Ross pointed out different approaches to activism and emphasized their importance for both labor and consumer groups. Primarily, based on the anti-consumer and anti-sweatshop movements, the author emphasizes on the abuse of laborers and advocacies of rights. This analysis is quite effective to show the failures of the 21st century’s society and its system. With regard to anti-consumer and anti-sweatshop movements, it is necessary to pay attention to the moral and ethical aspects that cause the dissatisfaction of the masses and further growth of the opposition against the rules of the social system. This paper aims to analyze how the differences between two movements predetermine their unconscious cooperation that left a deep imprint on the public consciousness.
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The priorities of anti-consumer activists were set up against the consumer society due to a number of reasons. Among such, the representatives of the movements supported the ideas that ethics and morality are essential, but represent the society as dysfunctional. The statistics show that on the global level, the amount of goods consumed is too high and continues to grow. However, the activists proved that not solely the material reward should matter in this world. As the anti-sweatshop movements are focused on the demonstration of the suppliers’ working conditions, one can conclude that the system of their work let them search deeper for the causes of injustice instead of looking on the surface. Such approach should be the first lesson for the anti-consumer movement leaders and for all citizens. The second one is the courage to rise against the most powerful corporations with no doubts prove that the standards do not differ with the power growth (Ross 110). Instead, authority and power provides higher level of responsibility, not permissiveness. Moreover, the anti-sweatshop movements provide the key lessons regarding global organization under the presence of insurmountable obstacles. The choice of the key locations has a stronger influence on the employers.
The idea of the fair labor for everyone was a basis for the sweatshop movement. In 1990s, the anti-sweetshop movements were focused on the opposition to the world brands’ policies (Ross 109). “Looking behind the label” became not only the tactic of the anti-sweatshop activists, but one of the norms that was accepted by societies (Ross 109). In Teamsters, Turtles and Tainted Toys, Ross (111) defined the goal of this campaign to lay the groundwork for the further global sweatshop eradication. Therefore, the level of the planned actions was considerable and not limited solely by the ideas to implement changes on the local level. While the movements obviously have some features that unify them, one should consider a useful lesson provided by the anti-consumer movement. Its idea, which is applicable in all spheres, is the key importance of the common sense and proportion in everything. Moreover, the anti-consumer movements also supported the anti-sweatshop. According to their views, the problems of high consumption levels and long working hours are closely interconnected and mutually exclusive.
The documentary “No Logo, Brands, Globalization, Resistance” can prove the appropriateness of the above-mentioned aspects and define main common backgrounds for the movements. The fast world globalization makes economies interdependent and demands governments and business leaders to pay particular attention to the possible negative results not only for the native country, but also for all other that are concerned. The environmental, cultural and political issues often go beyond the boundaries of some definite group and reflect on the living conditions of the entire world. The corporate globalization is the notion used to support this idea. In “No Logos”, the idea of the search from the underlying key reasons is also revealed as the journalist searches for the growing profits of the great corporations looking behind the labels on the life and working conditions in the developing countries. The same idea is supported in the documentary “Stop the TPP and Corporate Globalization”. However, this documentary is focused primarily on NAFTA to emphasize one of the sources of the world globalization. Concentrating mainly on the negative consequences of the issue, the speakers pointed out the human rights’ violations and public debates’ necessity. At the same time, it proves that the anti-globalization movements are still common and widely spread due to the imperfections of the system.
As a conclusion, one can see how the anti-sweatshop and anti-consumer movements have attracted people’s attention to the urgent problem of globalization and responsibility it carries. The imperfect consumer social system became the basic reason of the activists’ dissatisfaction and made the labor movements cooperate unconsciously and have a number of encountering points.