Sociocultural Analysis of Film

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1. An accurate analysis of the film Wall Street as it relates to a post modernity society requires at a minimum the exploration of the earlier stages of capitalism. There were three stages of capitalism, which includes the current and final stage of post modernity, with a belief in objectivity. The first stage was early capitalism. Early capitalism, was actually the beginning of modernity where thee bulk of the labor force consisted of farm workers, and the focus was on selling, making a profit and reinvesting. The transition from this type of capitalism into middle capitalism occurred in 1790. This transition consisted of a change in the labor force which was now factory workers, who were responsible for making material things. The third and final transition in its current form is post modernity. Although there is continuity between middle capitalism and post modernity, this transition was the most rapid and drastic that occurred among the three. Not only does Denzin provide us with a simplified definition of post modernity as it related to society, he also identifies the focus of post modernity on race, class and gender. More specifically, Denzin examines how these three relatively shape our perceptions and interactions within a post modernity society. Both the definition and focus on race, class and gender play a vital role and contribute to one’s ability to identify and analyze a post modernity film. Denzin’s definition of post modernity is “That which follows the modern; after World War II; a phase of capitalism; a moment in the arts; a form of social theory; that which can not be avoided; undefinable.” Based on the above definition along with the premise that post modernity films represents anomie(which is a direct result of race, class and gender bias), cultural double binds, confusion and legitimation crisis; I will identify and explain the symbolic relevance of the post modernity characteristics found in the film Wall Street. Prior to an analysis of the film, I would like to point out, unlike other post modernity films; there is no race representation in Wall Street. With no representation of race, the analysis will focus on class, gender, cultural double binds and a comparison between modernity and post modernity present in the film. Class as a socially constructed term whose only purpose is to create a hierarchy of superiority and inferiority within the ranks o a society also causes division and unequal distribution of wealth and power. This concept is perpetually presented in the film Wall Street. There are two primary scenes in the film that strongly support this perspective. The first scene as it relates to class differential is when Bud meets his father in a bar in order to borrow money. During the conversation with his father, Bud expresses his frustration with his job and his current financial situation. Carl, his father suggests that he moves back home where he can live rent free. Bud declines the offer and even appears to be insulted by the offer. His father goes on to share with him the financial possibilities and success he could have had if he remained at Blue Star, where he would have earned what his father considers to be decent wage. Bud is insulted, by both the amount his father states he could be earning as well as the type of work he would be doing, which is associated with the working class. Bud tells his father “there is no nobility in poverty”. This is Bud’s first suttle verbalization of his disdain with his fathers’ profession and the working class as a whole. The second scene occurs during a ride through the city in Gekko’s limousine; while at a stop light, Gekko points out to Bud two men standing on the corner. One, a well dressed businessman, the other a scraggly vagrant. Gekko compares the two and basically tells Bud the difference between the two is not “just luck”. Gekko implies that success is acquired at a cost that everyone is not willing or able to pay. He...
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