In class on Thursday, we will watch some video links that further apply the sociological perspective to social issues as well as start to delve into the topics of pop culture.

The Lottery of Birth (2013) overviews some of the sociological concepts that we have been examining:

This movie is from a website called Films for Action, which provides documentaries about social justice issues. The Media Education Foundation creates movies that critique popular culture from a sociological perspective. Browsing their movies will give you some ideas on how to look critically at pop culture, We will watch two clips from the MEF movies: Consuming Kids and Mickey Mouse Monopoly.

Consumer culture is an example of our actions being political and not neutral. Check out some statistics on the use of resources by “developed” nations.

Worldwatch Institute: State of Consumption Today
CNN: World’s Wealthiest 16% Use 80% of Natural Resources  

Walt Disney: Corporate Rap Sheet overviews lawsuits based on Disney subsidiaries use of sweatshop labor

Considering our overview of Obedience to Authority and the Lucifer Effect, how do understand our relationship to the inhumane treatment in factories around the world that produce the everyday items that we purchase?

How about our relationship to media images that stereotype based on gender, sexuality, race, (dis)ability, such as the charge that Disney movies produce stereotypical characters written by white man? Images are not neutral, but always comes from a particular social location (the writer, producer) and an engagement with power. One power is the power of producing such images that represent people other than one’s own race and gender; images that will be shown widely, while other non-traditional images are not produced on the same scale. In Mickey Mouse Monopoly, Chyng Feng Sun asks, “The question for me is not whether Disney should or should not appropriate other cultures’ stories, or whether ancient China was less or more oppressive than Disney’s portrayal? The question is, what type of stories get invented, circulated, perpetuated in the public imagination, and why?”

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