Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Digital Vs. Material

Posted by laurenivey22 on February 20, 2017

While reading Reappraising the Residual, I learned many new things such as the four cultural foundations brought about by Raymond Williams. It included Emergent, in which culture is learned, shared, patterned, evaluative, and persistent but changeable. Dominant, which includes a bit of all of the cultures and is the most broad and referred to. Archaic, which is the more ancient, older culture, but still works just as well. And finally, Residual which is mainly what the chapter focuses on.

I also liked how the chapter compared digital and material goods. It helped to show just how valuable each is. Digital is valuable because videos, media, articles, etc. spread faster and are more available than material goods. The example about the McDonald’s McNugget commercial was a good example of how spreadable media can travel through both market and social exchanges and in both directions.   Material goods, on the other hand, are more outdated and less popular but they are a more efficient way to know who possess what material. The example the book provides about the wine bottle and how once you give it away, you cant get it back and once the person accepts the wine bottle, it is gone. This is how material goods are distributed, while with digital goods, its a lot harder. They can be shared under a variety of contexts simultaneously and access to the item can be sold or offered as a gift without the content ever leaving one’s possession. While both have their advantages, they also have their disadvantages as well.


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