Notes for Paul du Gay, Stuart Hall, Linda Janes, Hugh Mackay and Keith Negus Doing Cultural Studies: The Story of the Sony Walkman

INTRODUCTION
(1) There are many reasons for this explosion of 'culture', but two in particular stand out. The first we might call
substantive (i.e., concerned with matters of empirical substance), in that it refers directly to the increased importance of cultural practices and institutions in every area of our social lives. . . . The second we might term epistemological, in that it is primarily concerned with matters of knowledge.
(2) Rather than being seen as merely reflective of other processes – economic or political – culture is now regarded as being as constitutive of the social world as economic or political processes.
(2) The aim of this book is to introduce you to both these strands of the contemporary turn to culture – the substantive and the epistemological – and to do so through the medium of a particular case study: that of the Sony Walkman.
(2) To explore how culture works in the present day therefore requires us to focus our attention on the structure, strategy and culture of these increasingly global commercial enterprises.

Apply the Johnson circuit analysis to philosophy in popular digital culture or computing devices; see Frieberger and Swaine, Levy, and other popular books on personal computers.

(3) The mode of production of a cultural artefact was assumed to be the prime determinant of the meaning which that product would or could come to possess. This book breaks with this logic in that it analyses the biography of a cultural artefact in terms of a theoretical model based on the articulation of a number of distinct processes whose interaction can and does lead to variable and contingent outcomes.
(3) The five major cultural processes which the book identifies are:
Representation, Identity, Production, Consumption and Regulation. . . . Taken together, they complete a sort of circuit – what we term the circuit of culturethrough which any analysis of a cultural text or artefact must pass if it is to be adequately studied (a similar approach has been developed by the cultural theorist Richard Johnson, 1986).

1.1 Introduction
(10) It belongs to our culture because we have constructed for it a little world of meaning; and this bringing of the object
into meaning is what constitutes it as a cultural artefact.
1.2 What is 'culture'?

(13) We cannot just 'read off' culture from society. We need to analyze the role of 'the symbolic' sphere in social life in its own terms – an emphasis which is not all that different from what Durkheim and the classical sociologists and anthropologists were arguing. This critique gives the production of meaning through language – what is sometimes called
significationa privileged place in the analysis of culture.
1.3 Meanings and practices
1.4 Meaning by association: semantic networks

No mention of Derrida.

(17) It is difference which signifies. (This is a basic point about how meaning is constructed in language and its implications are much more fully explored in Woodward, ed., 1997.)

1.5 Signifying practices
1.6 Contemporary soundscapes

(19) The concept of the
soundscape is taken from Murray Schafer's book, The Tuning of the World, and the idea is elaborated by Iain Chambers, in his essay on the Walkman which is discussed at length below, in section 5 of this book.
1.7 Culture in the age of electronic reproduction
Programmed soundscape by concurrent, spatially arranges (not necessarily distinct) text to speech processes adds to the tuning of the world.

(21) Their infinite repeatability, Benjamin argued, is one of the essential characteristics of the modern means of cultural production, like the movie camera, and (by analogy, though Benjamin did not talk about them) the tape-recorder, the vinyl record and the audio-cassette.

Reaching media technologies musing about configuration versus reprogramming forcing recompiling of otherwise static machine programs, thoughts, parts of consciousness.

Media technologies have practices associated with them, producing little cultures around them.

(23) Today, the production and consumption on a global scale of 'cultural goods' represents one of the most important economic activities. In addition, each of these new media technologies has a particular set of practices associated with it – a way of using them, a set of knowledges, or 'know-how', what is sometimes called a social technology. Each new technology, in other words, both sustains culture and produces or reproduces cultures. Each spawns, in turn, a little 'culture' of its own.


Du, G. P. (1997). Doing cultural studies: The story of the Sony Walkman. London: Sage, in association with The Open University.


Du Gay, Paul, Stuart Hall, Linda Janes, Hugh Mackay, and Keith Negus. Doing Cultural Studies: The Story of the Sony Walkman. London: Sage, in association with The Open University, 1997. Print.