(Seeing) organizing in popular culture

Discipline and method

Authored by: Martin Parker

The Routledge Companion to Visual Organization

Print publication date:  August  2013
Online publication date:  January  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415783675
eBook ISBN: 9780203725610
Adobe ISBN: 9781135005474


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Culture, in its widest anthropological sense, cannot be reduced to the visual. 1 This much seems obvious, since culture also comprises of smell, hearing, taste and touch. Even if we restrict the definition of culture to the consumption and production of goods within the service sector, I can’t think of many examples of culture which are one-dimensional in sensory terms. When we visit a white cube art gallery or a music festival, go to the cinema, play a video game or eat a Double Whopper with cheese, we are immersed in a bath of the senses. It might be possible to say that one of those senses is a dominant one – sound in the case of the music festival, for example – but we would find it hard to understand the music festival without also acknowledging what it looked like, smelled like and so on. The mud and the toilets are just as much constitutive of experience as what happens on stage.

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