A. VAN DER ZEIJDEN
Volkscultuur in een nieuwe jas
Summary: Popular culture gets a face-lift
The collection “Alledaags is niet gewoon. Reflecties over volkscultuur en samenleven” (Plain things are uncommon. Reflections on popular culture and society) brought out in 2002 and edited by the “Koning Boudewijnstichting” (Foundation King Boudewijn) gives a good view on current trends of popular culture pursuing in Flanders.
Especially the new players get a chance: institutions or theatre companies which in an attractive and theatrical way bring popular culture into the open. Popular culture is more popular than ever.
This development is favourable but also not without a risk. One of the reasons is that popular culture is assigned a community forming task and so a political dimension is added. This oftener happened in the past, but not always with good results. The Dutch ethnologist J.J. Voskuil already wrote in the eighties on similar developments: “Het is fascinerend, maar op sommige momenten houdt men de adem in…” (It is fascinating, but at times one hold one’s breath…).
G. DE MEYER en R. SOENEN
Alledaags is gewoon
Summary: Plain things are common
This contribution is a commentary on “Alledaags is niet gewoon. Reflecties over volkscultuur en samenleven” (Plain things are uncommon. Reflections on popular culture and society), the report by Eric Corijn et al. about the “current popular culture campaign”, edited by the “Koning Boudewijnstichting” (Foundation King Boudewijn) in 2002, but it can be read at the same time as a commentary on “critical tradition”. One could expect that under the “everyday culture” the average popular culture would have a place. The issue of the existing real everyday life and of the commercial mass media culture is, however, not included in the discussion of current popular culture. The authors of “Plain things are uncommon” though, are aware of the fact that popular culture is no more equivalent to rural lore; even once again it is defined as “a broad everyday culture in which everyone, elite or ordinary people, foreigners or autochtons, participate”. It is noteworthy that in the whole text of “Plain things are uncommon” not a word is said about a simple, common community worker, i.e. the social styling potential of the mass media. If there is one body which nowadays intervenes in the current popular culture and society, it is the mass media which lead the way. Even if the mass media come up in this report, then it is only because they are considered the first and foremost means of social exclusion. The examples mentioned show how the everyday use of the media, and also of semi-public means of expression, offer opportunities for emancipation. All this is simply ignored by the authors of the “Plain things are uncommon” report.
Het mobieltje’: over de sociale betekenis van de draagbaar telefoon
Summary: The mobile phone and its influence on youngster
We live in the era of the mobile phone; everyone wants to give a call from any place and receive a call from any place. In this contribution five social functions of the mobile phone are dealt with so as to account for its popularity. We especially examine the social functions of this device for youngsters between 12 and 19.
Youngsters at this age are in great need of conforming to a group. The purchase and the possession of a “mobile” appear to be the most convenient way to reach this aim of conforming. Moreover the device serves as a clear-cut status symbol. Youngsters do not only reach this status by acquiring the latest model, but also by possessing the greatest number of entries in the phonebook. The latter after all is proof of a large circle of friends. The fifth and at the same time the last social function discussed is that of the “mobile” as a relationship manager. The mobile phone seems to play an important role in maintaining romances. At this testing plays an even greater role than phoning.
H. VAN DEN BULCK
Van het podium tot het scherm: de herarticulatie van ontspanning tot televisiegenres voor de publieke omroep van de moderniteit
Summary: From the stage to the screen: Rearticulating of entertainment into television genres of modernity’s Public Service Broadcasting
In contemporary discussions on the future of public service broadcasting (PSB), there sometimes seem to be some misconceptions about the types and position of popular television genres during the hay days of PSB.
Usually their functioning in PSB is described as a necessary evil, something PSB could not do without but merely tolerated. Although, as a typical project of modernity, old-style European PSB indeed showed some disdain for popular genres, entertainment was a distinct aspect of PSB’s mission and goals and was given a specific character and place in the schedule.
The policy of PSB can be seen to have shaped ALL types of programmes, including different forms of entertainment, as well as their relative position within the programming schedule. So, to talk about the possible public values of popular programming in contemporary PSB may prove not such a contradiction in terminis since, in the past, PSB can be demonstrated to have had clear ideas and goals concerning its popular programmes. So, it appears that looking more specifically at the way in which popular television programmes were perceived and scheduled can indicate ways of thinking about contemporary PSB entertainment. Thus it seems that normative theories on popular television genres for PSB today, can benefit from a little hindsight. This paper will, first, look at the typical PSB entertainment genres and the goals and objectives that are reflected in their format and content.
Second, it will look at the scheduling tactics and strategies that were typically used to obtain the goals and objectives, and at the specific position of entertainment programmes in this. This first and second part will be based both on general observations in this regard and, at the same time, on the analysis of the programming of Flemish PSB in the period 1953-1973 as a case in point.
Een antifeministische engelse volksprent (1620)
Summary: An antifeminist English popular print (1620)
The cultural relations between the Low Countries and Great-Britain are many and very diversified. The purpose of the present articles is to illustrate this in an unusual way by means of an English popular print. This was no doubt inspired by two Dutch master engravings dated about 1620. Both are combined in one English large-sized woodcut of about the same time. Below the cut there is an explanatory note. A unique, slightly damaged copy of this broadside, printed on one side of a single leaf, is preserved in the library of the London Society of Antiquaries. It depicts Fill Gut, an imaginary animal fat with eating good men, and Pinch Belly, “lean with want of good women”, a well-known topic which at that time was part of a widespread, antifeminist movement on the Continent and in the British Isles.