Cultural and Ethnic Studies
There are three categorical definitions of culture as noted by Raymond Williams (1983) (this extract is from chapter1; Storey 5). According to one prominent definition of this author, culture can be defined as texts and practices whose primary functions are to produce, signify, or cause production. Going by this definition, the author’s perception of culture is similar to what post-structuralists and structuralists call practices. According to this definition, culture can easily be related to opera, fine art, novel, poetry and ballet.
Mathew Arnold on the other hand argues that culture has a social function which is to police the disruptive presence; the law as well as the uncultivated masses (19) (an extract from chapter 2; Story 5). However, it is apparent that mass culture is feared as seen in fiction and the Game of Thrones Series. On the same note, the focus of this paper is to evaluate the way the popular contemporary television shows suit the three functions and descriptions. This paper will evaluate the Game of Thrones show.
First, Game of Thrones series refers to a film that is based on fantasy. It is one of the films in its category that have many fans both internationally and locally. Two fictional continents are depicted in the series when the summer that lasts for ten years ends. These are the Westeros and Essos. The first series depicts a struggle that is seen as the cold war that different noble houses fight over the Iron Throne that comprises of seven kingdoms. The second series depicts a nearing winter which is an ever-growing threat that has been illuminated. Final chronicles illustrate the way the displaced dynasty’s exiled scion tries to recapture power. This film highlights different aspects including social hierarchy, civil war, crime, religion, sexuality, punishment and loyalty.
Game of Thrones Series illustrates the way contemporary television shows match the functions and descriptions of culture. Just like Mathew Arnold notes, culture serves as an act that police the destructive presence, more so the uncultivated masses as well as the law. In the Game of Throne Series, aspects of crime, punishment and social hierarchy are depicted. Rival parties are struggling to gain the leadership of the kingdom. A crime is committed in this process. Culture serves a vital role in the struggle for power. It is only the noble families that can contest for this throne. Punishment is meted on uncultivated masses for trying to fight this culture.
Additionally, theory and fiction of containing the mass culture shows that mass culture is feared. As indicated, mass culture can be referred to as a culture that has been produced commercially. It is a subject of sociological inspection considering its insufficiency. An aspect of containing mass culture is also brought out in Games of Thrones Series. Characters that are morally ambiguous have been used to highlight the sexuality aspect. This mass culture aspect is produced commercially and it can be seen from the large fan base that the series have.
Additionally, this illustrates a drug-like addiction that people have to fiction just like Leavis and other scholars have observed. Consequently, this show perpetuates a behavior that is morally destructive. This show fits in the containment ideology of the cold war. Punishment is meted on uncultivated masses that try to oppose this culture. Moral degradation is evident in the show and this has been caused by mass culture. Characters that are morally ambiguous can make documenting this possible.
This paper has shown that mass culture or popular culture is produced commercially and TV shows serve as its transmission vessels. Game of Thrones Series TV show serves an example of television shows that do not serve the transmission vessel’s role of the mass culture.
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Storey, John. Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction. New York: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006. Print.