Chapter 5- Theory of Cultural Production and Digital Age

Capitalism treats meanings as private property. After the creation of the Gutenberg press there was a notion of the author’s rights. On the web there is a resistance to culture privatization. However when corporations try to to control meaning over the internet or the role of their product online, the general result is increased consumer activism and expanding resistance. People in general don’t like to be told what to do, so they are likely to rebel.

The social order corresponds to dominant pattern of symbols. If one controls the pattern of symbols then they have the ability to exercise control over the social order.

An example is the Barbie Doll, probably created by Mattel. It is catered to little girls, but has sexualized proportions and says consumerist things. However there is a lot of backlash and a lot of anger and violence expressed towards the barbie doll. This is shown through mutilation of Barbie in various videos and pictures found online. It is also pretty ridiculous how many women have had plastic surgery to look like the original Barbie doll.

There is a preferred meaning of the symbols, for example the Barbie Doll is suppose to be beautiful and consumerist and have the perfect life. People will either aspire to these preferred meanings and symbols or contradict them.

Another topic discussed in class was that capitalism suppresses human experiences and selects characteristics which create a disciplined worker. For example, going to school helps to discipline children and adults, thus preparing them for the workforce.

The social order tries to establish limits on expression. However the internet is an anomaly because it is uncontrolled.