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Social Identity And Society Essay

2991 words - 12 pages

By Leah Caldwell

The study if culture is of the active relationship between social identity and society, the formation of what is identical about a group of humans and the unique and distinguishing differences shared in everyday life. One way to grasp this notion is to analyse various meanings throughout thought patterns and practices, also known as ‘cultural artefacts’ to gain a perception of the behaviour and dynamics of power structures in various cultures.
This essay will be discussing cultural politics, history and measurements of such structures of society and the journey of Australia’s national identity. Kate Grenville expressed such cultural diversity and change in her ...view middle of the document...

Robert Darnton shared Geertz’s anthropological ‘world view’ approach where his focus was based on the study of cultural artefacts and materials embedded and adapted into a society, he believed that in order to analyse culture, it was necessary to understand the background from where it derived. Darnton adopted Geertz’s method by dissecting pre-Revolution France and the nature in which the peasants displayed and communicated through the avenue of grisly and dark folktales. It was seen as more of a teaching of ‘how it really was’, which gives much insight into the way of life the French people endured during that era in that class structure. Many versions of these fairytales were modified for other ethnic groups and classes. Darnton speaks of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ as an example, where the French version had been written with a macabre and violent context, other cultures adapted this to fit into their lifestyles and traditions.

Another form of everyday ethnographical and an ephemeral culture which occurs worldwide is the consumption of the newspaper. This represents a good example of both elements of Darnton and Geertz’s methodology. A media which displays both a sense of political influence and national unity, as was the case with its mass introduction and acceptance during the French Revolution and the true birth of the real “freedom of the press”. As Jeremy Popkin discussed in his article ‘Journals: The new face of news’, newspapers became a fundamental source of interchanging ideas and communicating social climate issues which arose during that period. As JP Brissot, a journalist from that time prophesised, newspapers were to encompass a level of “teaching the same truth at the same moment to millions of men (and women)” .
In modern day society, the stories found in newspapers are generally somewhat politically driven, although they also contribute to national identity as a collective, through reporting on various forms of stories to keep people in touch with what else is happening in their own realm and around the globe in relation to people, places and history.
Colin Mercer illustrates this point in ‘Regular imaginings: the newspaper and the nation’ where he discusses the trend in print communications which assisted in the moulding and creation of Australian culture and society, conjuring images raised through this form of media, bringing contemporary Australia a sense of continuity and alignment with the rest of the nation and the world in daily life.

Many conflicts have been portrayed through the media in various arguments and positions, some which have lead to a level of censorship or appearance of a ‘hidden agenda’ by some media sources. An example of this was the national and international controversy surrounding Bill Henson’s photography art works of children, which received much media coverage, influencing and enforcing many art galleries, collectors and art enthusiasts to feel...

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