Texts and Tips on Essays, Literary Studies, and Critical Analysis
Glossary of Terms for Cultural Criticism
an approach to texts that seeks to assess and evaluate the ways in which cultural products (like films, magazines, advertisements, speeches, etc.) work to promote, resist or subvert ideologies and value systems. This approach to discourse also sometimes addresses institutions (like education, religion, legal systems) and social practices (like marriage) and evaluates the ways in which they might embody or perpetuate ideologies and/or social values.
Discourse (or public discourse)
used in cultural criticism to mean the collective conversations that a culture has on any topic; the way a culture discusses an issue or idea
this term is used to describe the ways in which a text might shape discourse or impact culturally-shared perceptions
a cultural outlook and value system that informs notions of social good, political virtue and material desirability
this term describes demographically-oriented identity types like “boy” or “girl” and “heterosexual” or “homosexual” and “young” and “old.” It also includes categories of ethnicity and class. These categorical identities can be contrasted to individual markers of identity like personality traits.
the depiction of a demographic group or “type” such as an ethnic group, a social class or a gender within a cultural product or across a range of cultural products
this term refers to the idea that audience members “identify” or see themselves represented, described and/or reflected by certain figures in cultural products.
the study of signs and how signs communicate
the action of taking something for one’s own use, typically without the owner’s permission
In sociology and cultural studies, reappropriation or reclamation is the cultural process by which a group reclaims terms or artifacts that were previously used in a way disparaging of that group.
Social Scripts (or Behavioral Scripts)
In the behaviorism approach to psychology, behavioral scripts are a sequence of expected behaviors for a given situation. – Wikipedia
Scripts include default standards for the actors, props, setting, and sequence of events that are expected to occur in a particular situation. – Wikipedia
to indicate or to be an indication of, a meaningful act of communication that takes place through sign, symbol, gesture or language
the strategic use of language and/or the study of the strategic use of language
a social norm is a set of familiar expectations and associations built up around a particular identity category. There are gender norms that relate to how boys and men are expected to act and there are racial norms that relate to how Asian Americans are expected to perform in a social setting. These norms are a lot like stereotypes, but they are not always negative. They do, however, have the power to shape a person’s expectations, behavior, and social attitude. And they can thus function as a sort of ingrained psycho-emotional authority telling a person how to act in a given situation.