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Cultural Studies



Cultural Studies is a relatively new, yet influential focus within sociology.  It designates the intersection between cultural theory and social and material practices as they relate to the major institutions in sociology, mass media studies, consumer culture, networks or production, literary text, music scenes and subcultures, as well as other areas that represent culture for the contemporary humanities. Our program addresses debates concerning the theory of texts (broadly defined) and their production; the relationship between culture and politics; the formation of disciplines and institutions; and the nature of cultural practices in relation to structures of power. Cultural Studies emphasizes a reflexive relationship with the questions it asks and develops flexible tools that adapt to our rapidly changing world.  The Cultural Studies emphasis compliments degrees in the entertainment industry, or stands alone as an increasingly important field of study within the information age.


What Our Students Have to Say

'Sociology was a wake-up call for me, both professionally and personally, as it helped me to look at society with a fresh perspective. This perspective, along with the thinking, writing, and research skills that I developed in Belmont's Sociology department carried over into the way I approach my job as Director, Radio Marketing and Promotion with Spalding Entertainment.' 
~ Denise Nichols, Director of Radio Marketing and Promotion, Spalding Entertainment.  Clients: Brooks & Dunn, Terri Clark, Pat Green.

"Originally, I took sociology only to fulfill a requirement.  I was completely surprised by my passion for the study, as well as the skills that it provided me as a music business major. The music business program teaches business—how it functions, operates, and changes.  But the evolution of the music industry is dependent upon people. What I learned in my introductory sociology class and subsequent sociology courses, directly applied to the industry in marketing, demographic research, and subculture formation and development. Sociology has given me a much broader, and fuller, perspective of the music industry and supplied me with critical tools necessary to succeed in the business world."
~ Cash Forshee, Music Business / Sociology double major


How is Sociology Useful in the Entertainment Field?

Researching Music. Any time art merges with commerce and the need to attract a consumer comes into play, research soon follows. This is particularly true of the music that makes its way onto the commercial radio airways. Because of the amount of money at stake, radio station ownership groups hope to attract and keep as many listeners as possible. Thus they continually research the music they play to determine their listening audience's likes and dislikes. As a result, the music industry has access to extensive statistical data on the country radio listening audience. This in turn provides a means of extracting data that is useful to a particular artist and making it available to others in an attempt to propel that artist's career forward.

Researching the Consumer. The idea of particular consumers comes with certain cultural and demographic stereotypes. In the case of country music audiences, the stereotype is that they are rural, lower middle class, white, limited post-secondary education, 35-54, etc. To fully accept this stereotype as truth comes with the risk of excluding other potential audiences. Therefore, consumer research projects are frequently commissioned by industry trade organizations, individual companies, and artists. As with music research (see above), gathering data allows us to identify the consumer and trend their patterns over time and in various markets.

Marketing Music. Once the music industry is armed with the data, they enhance the ability to target market their product and maximize sales.


Cultural Studies Degree Requirements

Major Requirements     (30 hours total)    

SOC 2200, Sociological Theory (3 hours; offered every Fall; recommended w/in first year)
SOC 2250, Research Methods (3 hours; offered every Spring; recommended w/in first year)

Any Institutions class from the following

        SOC 2300, Crime and Deviance                   SOC 3000, Schools and Society
        SOC 3220, Sociology of Religion                  SOC 3230, Sociology of Health and Illness
        SOC 3440, Sociology of Science                   SOC 3700, Criminal Justice
        SOC 3800, Criminology                                  SOC 3260, Family Problems and Social Change 

Any Inequality class from the following
        SOC 3200, Sociology of Gender                    SOC 3240, Political Sociology
        SOC 3400, Inequality                                       SOC 3450, Race and Ethnic Relations      

Soc 2010, Cultural Theory (required)

Plus 15 hours of Social Change and Culture courses from the following:
        SOC 3100, Politics of Knowledge
        SOC 3120, Sociology of Music
        SOC 3140, Sociology of Film
        SOC 3160, Sociology of Photography and Social Change
        SOC 3210, Men, Masculinity, and Media
        SOC 3350, Social Movements
        SOC 3550, The Urban Community
        SOC 3600, Environmental Sociology
        SOC 3650, Popular Culture      

        Internships or independent studies that focus on Cultural Studies. 

Minor requirements (18 hours total)    

SOC 2200, Sociological Theory (3 hours; offered every Fall; recommended w/in first year)
SOC 2250, Research Methods (3 hours; offered every Spring; recommended w/in first year)
Soc 2010, Cultural Theory (required)

Plus nine (9) hours of Social Change and Culture courses from the following:
        SOC 3100, Politics of Knowledge
        SOC 3120, Sociology of Music
        SOC 3140, Sociology of Film
        SOC 3160, Sociology of Photography and Social Change
        SOC 3210, Men, Masculinity, and Media
        SOC 3350, Social Movements
        SOC 3550, The Urban Community
        SOC 3600, Environmental Sociology
        SOC 3650, Popular Culture  

Plus any three-hour sociology elective of your choice including internships or independent studies



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