Culture and its presentation are greatly varied depending on several factors. As such, several different products arise as a result of cultural beliefs and practices, with their adaptation being a matter of widespread belief in the community. Culture impacts the community in the most profound manner, which drives the growth of different ways of life. These impacts touch on the social, political and economic spheres, which the people of the community have to go through on a day to day basis during their everyday activities. It is the manner of presentation of these cultural products and practices that give meaning to the daily life within the community, and the way the outside world would perceive it. In the study, the researcher looked at the influence of popular culture in Asian societies and its impact on the established power structures, analyzing the production aspect to identify elements of soft power within its construct.
In the 'Dress, Status, and Identity in the Philippines' Roces addresses the impacts of popular clothing culture in the Philippines. Of particular interest is the pina clothing that was a significant part of the fashion culture in the country in the nineteenth century. The pineapple fiber cloth was popular among the communities of the Philippine society at a time when the Western influences were limited in those parts of the Asian continent as deduced from the reading. This culture also seemed to have had major political, social and economic influences on the lives of the natives at the time (Mina, 2013). Of particular interest, however, the author gives us excellent insights into how the production of these clothing shaped the political landscape of the dwellers.
In the text, the author also delves into an extensive analysis of the connections between clothing, community status, the class and national identity starting from the period of Spanish colonialism to the resent time. As such, exciting aspects of the political changes brought about by the impact of the pina weaving and fashion culture are deduced from the reading. For instance, the transformation of the political class clothing fashion from the pina being considered to be high fashion to the emergence of other more westernized forms of dressing that were adopted by the elite members is an example of the shift in popular culture as illustrated in the article. Before that, the clothing was a high-value material, which acted as the ultimate symbol of wealth and power in the community (Mina, 2013). A downside in the text, however, is that it explores more of the events and fashion of the past century, with little being said about the modern trends as is in the Philippines of today, and how the production of the current fashion popular culture influences the political climate. The aspects discussed in the text, however, would be useful in deducing the soft power of fashion as popular culture and its influence on the regional political power structures.
Aside from fashion, popular culture also extends to sports and other competitive activities. In 'Anthropological perspectives on sport and culture, (2013)', Kummel explores the sporting culture in the European and Asian continents and its dynamics in meaning to the participating communities. The object of primary focus in the study was football and the process of globalization and diffusion of this sport that has been hailed as being the fan favorite all around the world from the European continent to the rest of the globe. The author laments on how the political decisions regarding the holding of international tournaments are made in modern sport, citing as an example the case of Qatar winning the bid to host the 2020 world cup championships. The move came with several unprecedented modifications in terms of rules and regulations, which the author points out to have been politically instigated by the wealthy in the society, especially those from the West. The author then delves into research on the history of modern sports, their development and eventual globalization on a cultural aspect.
From the context, it is easy to see the impacts of sports on culture, and the socio-political aspects of its spread and diffusion around the world. Additionally, it addresses the socio-historical changeability of competition and how the west wields soft power over the modern sport, which it exploits to gain the political mileage in events such as the Qatar world championship as cited by the author. The soft power demonstrated by the West in claiming the modern footballing sport as their invention, allows them to control the venues as well as dictate the rules by which the tournament would be conducted (Kummels, 2013). This influence demonstrates not only the political control associated with the soft power but also that soft power is real and that it could as well be used to subvert the existing structures. By altering the rules used conventionally in footballing as in Qatar's case, the Western powers demonstrate the potential capability of using soft power to change the status quo among the establishment of the Asian society through popular culture.
Another area where popular culture plays a significant role in the cultivation of national and individual identity. Fashion and dressing code, for instance, played a substantial role in the development of the Japanese identity, with the establishment of gender symbolism and nationalism representation. As the wave of modernity swept across Asia and the rest of the worlds in the 19th and 20th centuries, a lot of cultural changes were observed, with different communities trying to cultivate an identity for themselves among the general world population. In Japan, this process was marred by conflicting ideas on the representation of masculinity in the national idiom regarding modernity (Karlin, 2002). While others some saw the European fashion as being superior and more advanced, others deduced this as being a feminization of their existing culture, and vehemently rejected any adoption of the western culture among the Japanese populace.
The aversion of the attempts by the Japanese ruling class to ape the western bourgeoisie's dressing culture was yet another demonstration of the influence that softy power could have on the society in general. In this case, the soft power of the popular Japanese dressing culture served in a big way to subvert the existing power structure, rendering their adoption of western dressing fashion in favor of the Japanese established ones as being feminized. The rejection by popular masses served to establish the Japanese dressing cultures as being equally superior to that of the Europeans. Thus the refusal to ditch the traditional gear for the feminine European wear gave the Japanese an identity among the other communities of the world, where it has stood the test of time to date (Karlin, 2002). Thus the incident served as a perfect example of the power of popular culture over the establishment. As a result of this soft power, the Japanese traditions were upheld and preserved for the future generations that are seen even today.
Contemporary art is another sphere of influence that demonstrates the impact of soft power in Central Asia. This form of art caught on in the late 1980s, becoming a popular culture following the decline of the Soviet influence on the region's heritage. Before this development, the artists of the time mainly used the soviet variation of their culture and artistic approach, which led many to decry the loss of identity among the people of the Central Asia region. The most affected spheres of art during the period included video art, performance and photography, which had over time taken the shape of the socialist manner of design and execution (Kudaibergenova, 2017). The situation had thus prompted artists to decry the loss of identity among the people of East Asia in their works, having been atoned to the more dominant soviet cultures.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union; however, the popular culture shifted towards the contemporary art sphere. From Iran to Kazakhstan, the new age artists took upon themselves to change the direction of the widespread perception among the people of Central Asia through their works on contemporary art, always lamenting the Slavic ways of life that had dominated before. Today, the modern art scene is highly localized among the communities, sprouting from the efforts of the few artists. This example is also another instance where popular culture has destabilized the existing power dynamics in the community, resulting in the creation of a more localized version of the art (Kudaibergenova, 2017). Artists such as Kasmalieva and Djumaliev were instrumental in this aspect, using poetic and haunting imagery with limited narratives to question, ridicule, dispute and even propose their new interpretations of the states' frameworks, eventually leading to a shift in the power base.
Another area that could be profoundly affected by the public culture in Asia is journalism. The reporting or non-reporting thereof of certain events and activities in the society is bound to be affected by the prevailing social and cultural environment as evident in the case of India's Northeast states. This area lies in the marginalized corners of the Indian sub-continent, and has perennially been ignored in the reporting of events even by the countries' top reporting houses. The source for this marginalization according to Sonwalkar (2004) is the prevailing attitude of generalization among the media houses and the people of the region in general.
In addition to natural disasters, famine and hunger, it is stipulated that several violent conflicts have occurred in the Northeast region of India since its independence. These events, however, rarely feature in the mainstream reporting, triggering the feeling of marginalization among the involved communities. The situation is notably worse in the English reporting stations based in the capital, primarily due to the popular culture centered on tribal lines. This condition has created a 'we' and 'they' mentality that extends right into the newsrooms producing bias in the production of journalistic reports. This production bias yields detrimental consequences to the society in that the affected populations are left out in critical activities including aid and medical consideration. Yet again, this presents an example of the adverse impact of soft power, limiting political considerations in a region that deserves it in every bit as equally as the rest of the country. As a result of the perceived marginalization created by biased reporting by the English-language press on the Northeast states of India, the government policy touching on essential services in the area are bound to be stifled due to a lack of or inadequate information on the actual situation in those areas (Sonwalkar, 2004).
Media reporting also poses challenges in propagating the narratives about the women and development issues in Pakistan. One of the areas that are most impacted in this capacity is the roles of women in society. Given the Islamic leanings of Pakistani culture and administration, the media is bound to play a significant role in the propagation of women in society. This relationship has been progressively changing over time, with elements of the traditional beliefs and perceptions about women being slowly changed in the modern Pakistani society. Historically, the Pakistani women have always been viewed and treated as second class citizens, under the firm grip of masculine traditional laws that would allow for little freedom of expression by the female gender (Shirin, 2016). As such, the women of Pakistani society have often been subjected to rigid and sometimes barbaric treatments, including the curt...
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