According to the production perspective, we tend to see a very notable difference between the normal culture and the high culture. This means that while we use media to depict ideas and traditions, we tend to limit our ideas as well as the cultures within set definitions. This can be seen in the example of how news is portrayed in our media, for our efforts tend to create a thing called the ‘news net’ which captures a vision of the world as we see it ourselves, and this is a very limited view of the vision of the world as it actually is.
A lot like it is in the industry of the news, our prime time television also becomes subject to similar programming, and the content of this prime-time television is as a result confined within the constraints that we ourselves tend to impose on production.
There are a number of sociologists who observe this pop culture very closely in attempts to investigate the reasons behind the substance and the content of this pop culture. In many opinions, there are unseen powers which work to create through this media, ideas, and images which stick very closely to the status quo. Television talk shows in addition to the news and prime time television are analyzed for the same characteristics, and they seem to fit into the patterns which stick very closely to the American vision of the public image.
What, however, is the culture that these different forms of media portray within the confines of their ideas of the status quo? This content creates, furthers as well as reinforces the image that the public holds with regards to sexuality, status, class, and ethnicity. This means that a very major chunk of the audiences of this pop culture which are the teenagers make the choice of either confining to these ideas or rebelling against them. Either way, however, all of these ideas are at the center of their lives, or many of their life’s decisions are based upon these principles that the media has created.
As the stronger proponents of the society struggle to define culture through the various social actors that it worships, and the social classes that exist within this very narrow culture, the social structures face criticism for the ‘weak’ program as compared to the ‘strong’ program of the same culture. The strong program is the hope which we expect is going extend the much-needed respect to the complexities which relate to the culture.
The strong culture however deals and continues to deal with two shortcomings; for one, the culture is not afforded the freedom, and the value that it much deserves, and two, there is serious lack of description relating to this culture. The supporters of the strong culture stand for the replacement of the current approach by attaching greater value to values associated with cultures rather than to social structures.
Many of the studies in sociology which focus on the production perspective look into the vast work that the media and our industries carry out in symbol production. These studies however also see complexity in the social and cultural contexts which have been created by the production perspective. Crane’s study into fashion looked into the United States, the United Kingdom as well as the France of the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries and the study infers the idea of fashion as a territory where identities are created and identified.
In her opinion, in between modernism and post-modernism, the very simple and basic item of clothing went from being a form of social control to a medium which enables the formation of an identity.
Mark Gottdiener presents important ideas relating to the aesthetic that has been created by the pop culture and how the people tend to worship this aesthetic that they have created for their benefit. In many restaurants and places of recreation like McDonald’s, Hard rock cafes, theme parks, and Vegas, he believes that people have indulged in theming and through this virtue; they make the ideas and core values that they have infused in their lives as the centers of their universe. These themes are then worshipped like the gods, and many of the decisions are modified to fit within the expectations and the themes that appeal to the aesthetic that has been created by the production culture.
Through this piece of writing, there are a number of realizations that have become conscious admissions. For one, we all confine ourselves to the images that the media creates for us relating to race, sexuality, social class, and theme, and we tend to follow in these images without even realizing it.
The writing also makes us recognize that this culture that is put on for us by the media is not really the true culture; rather it is a very limited image of the culture in its real form. This leads us to one very critical and very necessary conclusion; that we are being deceived by the status quo, and this deception is not going to go away unless we realize the manipulation that we are under and make the conscious choice of freeing ourselves from it.
Another thought which comes with finding out about the production culture as well as the strong culture is that whether we support it or oppress it, this culture that is shown to us has inadvertently become the center of each and every decision of our lives, and this culture is little to nothing to do with the actual culture that is in existence. By focusing so much on what is being shown to us by way of social class, we tend to ignore the other aspects of our culture that make us interesting and worthwhile.
Let’s take clothing as an example, and the way the media portrays it as an item which separates the society’s elite from its remaining counterparts. There was a time when class in connection to clothing was limited to heavy items of clothing and jewelry. Over the years, the fashion industry took that perspective away from us, and there ultimately can a time when simplicity and minimalistic styles became the thing of the social elite.
In summary, even though the status quo exists, it remains constant only with the preferences of the social, financially, racially and sexually sophisticated of the society, and the luxuries and the benefits that they have access to tend to become the dream of the remaining counterparts of the society that the same sophisticated live in.
So the production theory and the strong culture both point towards deception that all of us are under, many of us without even realizing the fact. The status quo has held steady for quite some time now, and it can only change in one scenario, it can only change once we have realized the manipulation that we are being subjected to, and when we accept the real culture as our own and we stop following the rules that the media dare to confine us within.