In the second chapter of “We gotta get out of this place”, Lawrence Grossberg talks about articulation (articulation of popular culture and rock, more specifically) which is the process that brings elements from different backgrounds together, so they can create a new one, with its own context and characteristics.
“A cultural formation is articulated into and functions within different contexts of daily life. Such articulations create a series of alliances, each representing a particular selective appropriation of the formation itself.” (p. 71)
So the way culture is articulated is always connected with the effects such culture has on its members and components. For example, the domestic relationships are closely related to the mode of production they were created in. A capitalist society derived in consumerist practices, perfect housewives and a happy family kind of thing. The more specialized work is, the more specialized domestic architecture is. Domestic life is an articulation of the work place, so these two elements affect each other inevitably and constantly.
Now, what makes popular culture popular? To answer to this question, the author uses the concept of intelligentsia, that is described as the dominated fraction of the dominant class. Popular culture is not restricted to one class, it exists within a complex series of terms and oppositions which are linked together in different ways. It is clear that popular culture is out there, but it’s not the same for everybody, and that depends on the background of each individual.
Grossberg talks about texts (as cultural practices or symbolical forms) and how they can move in and out of popular culture, and even more important, how they can exist simultaneously in different categories: high and popular culture. For example, the Monalisa is one of the most famous paintings on this planet, and has been used as an image for t-shirts, cheese brands, coffee shops and so on. So Monalisa is both part of the high culture and at the same time I can wear it everyday to school. This situation has outraged a lot of people, like intellectuals, art critics, upper class and so on, causing the acceptable and non acceptable popular culture. According to these guys, only a complex piece of work can be considered good, and hence, high culture. On the other hand, a member of the lower class would question why should he or she considered ______________ (Name your classic artist here) as art, when he or she can’t understand what the artist was trying to express. We celebrate texts with our own cultural taste.
According to the author, popular culture is closely related to emotions. It becomes a big deal because it means something to someone, and that evaluation comes straight from the “heart”.
“But the affective investment in certain sites demands a very specific ideological response, for affect can never define, by itself, why things should matter.” (p. 86)
This is the reason why none of us are free from ideology, and the more powerful the affect is, the more powerfully must be ideological legitimated.