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Popular culture (also called mass culture or pop culture) is generally recognized by members of a
society A society is a group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and nominal number, label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth. Numbers can be ...

society
as a set of the practices,
beliefs A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use the term "belief" to refer to attitudes about the world which can be either tru ...
, and objects that are dominant or prevalent in a society at a given point in time. Popular culture also encompasses the activities and feelings produced as a result of interaction with these dominant objects. The primary driving force behind popular culture is mass appeal, and it is produced by what cultural analyst
Theodor Adorno Theodor is a masculine given name. It is a German form of TheodoreTheodore may refer to: Places * Theodore, Alabama, United States * Theodore, Australian Capital Territory * Theodore, Queensland, a town in the Shire of Banana, Australia * Th ...
refers to as the " culture industry". Heavily influenced in
modern timesModern Times may refer to modern history. Modern Times may also refer to: Music * Modern Times (band), a band from Luxembourg * Modern Times (Al Stewart album), ''Modern Times'' (Al Stewart album), a 1975 album by Al Stewart * Modern Times (Bob Dy ...
by
mass media Mass media refers to a diverse array of media Media may refer to: Physical means Communication * Media (communication), tools used to deliver information or data ** Advertising media, various media, content, buying and placement fo ...
, this collection of ideas permeates the
everyday lives
everyday lives
of people in a given society. Therefore, popular culture has a way of influencing an individual's attitudes towards certain topics. However, there are various ways to define pop culture. Because of this, popular culture is something that can be defined in a variety of conflicting ways by different people across different contexts. It is generally viewed in contrast to other forms of
culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals i ...

culture
such as folk cults,
working-class culture Working-class culture is a range of culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, c ...
, or
high culture High culture encompasses the culture, cultural objects of aesthetic value, which a society collectively esteem as exemplary art, and the Intellectualism, intellectual works of philosophy, history, art and literature that a society consider represen ...
, and also through different high praised perspectives such as
psychoanalysis Psychoanalysis (from Greek language, Greek: + ) is a set of Theory, theories and Therapy, therapeutic techniques"What is psychoanalysis? Of course, one is supposed to answer that it is many things — a theory, a research method, a therapy, a bo ...

psychoanalysis
,
structuralism In sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social science that uses various methods of Empirical method, emp ...
,
postmodernism Postmodernism is an intellectual stance or mode of discourse defined by an attitude of skepticism Skepticism ( American and Canadian English Canadian English (CanE, CE, en-CA) is the set of varieties of the English language Eng ...
, and more. The common pop-culture categories are:
entertainment Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the attention and interest In finance Finance is the study of financial institutions, financial markets and how they operate within the financial system. It is concerned with the creatio ...

entertainment
(such as
film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of applying paint Paint is any pigmented liquid, liquefiable, ...

film
,
music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associated concepts , , and ...

music
,
television Television, sometimes shortened to TV or telly, is a telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A wire is a single usually cylindrical A cylinder (from Gre ...

television
and
video games#REDIRECT Video game#REDIRECT Video game A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device such as a joystick, game controller, controller, computer keyboard, keyboard, or motion sensing device ...

video games
),
sport Sport pertains to any form of competitive Competition is a rivalry A rivalry is the state of two people or groups engaging in a lasting competitive relationship. Rivalry is the "against each other" spirit between two competing sides. ...

sport
s,
news News is information about current events. This may be provided through many different Media (communication), media: word of mouth, printing, postal systems, broadcasting, electronic communication, or through the testimony of observers and w ...

news
(as in
people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field wh ...
/
places Place may refer to: Geography * Place (United States Census Bureau) The United States Census Bureau defines a place as a concentration of population which has a name, is locally recognized, and is not part of any other place. A place typically h ...
in the news),
politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of res ...

politics
,
fashion Fashion is a form of self-expression and autonomy at a particular period and place and in a specific context, of clothing, footwear, Lifestyle (sociology), lifestyle, Fashion accessory, accessories, makeup, hairstyle, and body posture. The term i ...

fashion
,
technology Technology ("science of craft", from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. I ...

technology
, and
slang Slang is vocabulary (words, phrases, and usage (language), linguistic usages) of an informal register, common in spoken conversation but avoided in formal writing. It also sometimes refers to the language generally exclusive to the members of p ...
. The countries commonly thought to have the most pop culture influence are Italy, France and the United States. Other countries with high pop culture influence include the United Kingdom, Japan, Spain and South Korea. Popular culture in the West has been critiqued for its being a system of commercialism that privileges products selected and mass-marketed by the upper-class capitalist elite; such criticisms are most notable in many Marxist theorists such as
Herbert Marcuse Herbert Marcuse (; ; July 19, 1898 – July 29, 1979) was a German-American philosophy, philosopher, sociology, sociologist, and political philosophy, political theorist, associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory. Born in Berlin, Ma ...
,
Theodor Adorno Theodor is a masculine given name. It is a German form of TheodoreTheodore may refer to: Places * Theodore, Alabama, United States * Theodore, Australian Capital Territory * Theodore, Queensland, a town in the Shire of Banana, Australia * Th ...
,
Max Horkheimer Max Horkheimer (; ; 14 February 1895 – 7 July 1973) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit=philosophos, meaning 'lover of wisdo ...

Max Horkheimer
,
Antonio Gramsci Antonio Francesco Gramsci (, ; ; 22 January 1891 – 27 April 1937) was an Italian Marxist Marxism is a method of socioeconomic Socioeconomics (also known as social economics) is the social science that studies how economic activity affe ...
,
Guy Debord Guy Louis Debord (; ; 28 December 1931 – 30 November 1994) was a French Marxist Marxism is a method of socioeconomic Socioeconomics (also known as social economics) is the social science that studies how economic activity affects and ...
,
Fredric Jameson Fredric Jameson (born April 14, 1934) is an American literary critic Literary criticism (or literary studies) is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often influenced by literary theory, whi ...
,
Terry Eagleton Terence Francis Eagleton (born 1943) is a British literary theorist, critic A critic is a professional who communicates an assessment and an opinion of various forms of creative works such as Art criticism, art, Literary criticism, litera ...
, as well as certain postmodern philosophers such as
Jean-François Lyotard Jean-François Lyotard (; ; ; 10 August 1924 – 21 April 1998) was a French people, French Philosophy, philosopher, Sociology, sociologist, and Literary theory, literary theorist. His interdisciplinary discourse spans such topics as epistemolog ...
, who has written about the commercialisation of information under capitalism, and
Jean Baudrillard Jean Baudrillard ( , , ; 27 July 1929 – 6 March 2007) was a French sociology, sociologist, philosopher and sociology of culture, cultural theorist. He is best known for his analyses of Media (communication), media, contemporary culture, and tec ...

Jean Baudrillard
, as well as others.


History

Once upon a time "Once upon a time" is a stock phrase Stock (also capital stock) is all of the shares into which ownership of a corporation A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company—authorized by the state to act ...

Once upon a time
,
folk culture Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition ab ...
functioned analogously to the popular culture of the masses and of the nations. The phrase "popular culture" was coined in the 19th century or earlier. Traditionally, popular culture was associated with poor
education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, habits, and personal development. Educational methods include teaching, training, storytelling, discussion ...

education
and with the lower classes, as opposed to the "official culture" and higher education of the upper classes. With the rise of the
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...
in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Britain experienced social changes that resulted in increased
literacy Literacy is popularly understood as an ability to read and write Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (p ...
rates, and with the rise of capitalism and
industrialization Factories, refineries, mines, and agribusiness are all elements of industrialisation Industrialisation ( alternatively spelled industrialization) is the period of social and economic change that transforms a human group from an agrarian societ ...
, people began to spend more money on entertainment, such as (commercialised) pubs and sports. Reading also gained traction. Labelling
penny dreadful Penny dreadfuls were cheap popular serial literature produced during the nineteenth century in the United Kingdom. The pejorative term is roughly interchangeable with penny horrible, penny awful, and penny blood. The term typically referred to ...
s the Victorian equivalent of video games, ''
The Guardian ''The Guardian'' is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as ''The Manchester Guardian'', and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers ''The Observer ''The Observer'' is a British newspaper published on Sun ...

The Guardian
'' in 2016 described penny fiction as "Britain's first taste of mass-produced popular culture for the young". A growing consumer culture and an increased capacity for travel via the newly invented
railway Rail transport (also known as train transport) is a means of transferring passengers and goods on wheeled vehicle A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine that transports people or cargo. Vehicles include wagons, bicycles, motor veh ...

railway
(the first public railway,
Stockton and Darlington Railway The Stockton and Darlington Railway (S&DR) was a railway company that operated in north-east England from 1825 to 1863. The world's first public railway to use steam locomotive A steam locomotive is a rail vehicle A railroad car, ...
, opened in north-east England in 1825) created both a market for cheap popular literature, and the ability for its distribution on a large scale. The first penny serials were published in the 1830s to meet the growing demand. The stress in the distinction from "official culture" became more pronounced towards the end of the 19th century, a usage that became established by the
interbellum In the history of the 20th century, the Interwar period lasted from 11 November 1918 to 1 September 1939 (20 years, 9 months and 21 days), the end of the First World War World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the ...
period. From the end of
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, following major cultural and social changes brought by
mass media Mass media refers to a diverse array of media Media may refer to: Physical means Communication * Media (communication), tools used to deliver information or data ** Advertising media, various media, content, buying and placement fo ...
innovations, the meaning of "popular culture" began to overlap with the connotations of "mass culture", "
media cultureIn cultural studies, media culture refers to the current Western capitalist society that emerged and developed from the 20th century, under the influence of mass media. The term alludes to the overall impact and intellectual guidance exerted by t ...
", " image culture", "
consumer culture In cultural studies, media culture refers to the current Western world, Western capitalist society that emerged and developed from the 20th century, under the influence of mass media. The term alludes to the overall impact and intellectual guidance ...
", and "culture for
mass consumption Consumerism is a and economic order that encourages the acquisition of in ever-increasing amounts. With the , but particularly in the 20th century, led to —the of goods would grow beyond consumer , and so manufacturers turned to and to ...
". The abbreviated form "pop" for "popular", as in "
pop music Pop is a genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed by people with little or no musical tra ...
", dates from the late 1950s.''
The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians ''The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians'' is an encyclopedic dictionary Title page from the 1894 four volume version of Robert Hunter's ''The Encyclopædic Dictionary''. An encyclopedic dictionary typically includes many short lis ...
'', volume 15, p. 85 entry ''Pop music''
Although terms "pop" and "popular" are in some cases used interchangeably, and their meaning partially overlap, the term "pop" is narrower. Pop is specific of something containing qualities of mass appeal, while "popular" refers to what has gained popularity, regardless of its style. Steinem, Gloria
''Outs of pop culture''
in ''LIFE'' magazine, 20 August 1965, p. 73 quotations:
Bill Lamb

''
About.com Dotdash (formerly About.com) is an American digital media Digital media means any media (communication), communication media that operate with the use of any of various encoded machine-readable data formats. Digital media can be created, vi ...
'', retrieved 8 March 2012 quotation:


Definition

According to author John Storey, there are various definitions of popular culture. The quantitative definition of culture has the problem that much "
high culture High culture encompasses the culture, cultural objects of aesthetic value, which a society collectively esteem as exemplary art, and the Intellectualism, intellectual works of philosophy, history, art and literature that a society consider represen ...
" (e.g.,
television Television, sometimes shortened to TV or telly, is a telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A wire is a single usually cylindrical A cylinder (from Gre ...

television
dramatizations of
Jane Austen Jane Austen (; 16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist known primarily for her six major novels, which interpret, critique and comment upon the British landed gentry The landed gentry, or the ''gentry'', is a l ...

Jane Austen
) is also "popular." "Pop culture" is also defined as the culture that is "leftover" when we have decided what high culture is. However, many works straddle the boundaries, e.g.,
William Shakespeare William Shakespeare (bapt. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is often called England's national p ...

William Shakespeare
and
Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian e ...

Charles Dickens
,
Leo Tolstoy Count Lev Nikolayevich TolstoyTolstoy pronounced his first name as , which corresponds to the romanization ''Lyov''. () (; russian: link=no, Лев Николаевич Толстой,In Tolstoy's day, his name was written as in pre-reform ...

Leo Tolstoy
, and
George Orwell Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950) known by his pen name A pen name, also called a ''nom de plume'' () or a literary double, is a pseudonym (or, in some cases, a variant form of a real name) adopted by an author and printed ...

George Orwell
. A third definition equates pop culture with "mass culture" and ideas. This is seen as a commercial culture,
mass-produced Mass production, also known as flow production or continuous production, is the production of substantial amounts of standardized Standardization or standardisation is the process of implementing and developing technical standard A technic ...
for mass consumption by
mass media Mass media refers to a diverse array of media Media may refer to: Physical means Communication * Media (communication), tools used to deliver information or data ** Advertising media, various media, content, buying and placement fo ...
. From a Western European perspective, this may be compared to
American culture The culture of the United States of America is primarily of Western culture, Western origin, but its influences include White Americans, European American, Asian Americans, Asian American, African Americans, African American, Latin Americans, ...
. Alternatively, "pop culture" can be defined as an "authentic" culture of the people, but this can be problematic as there are many ways of defining the "people." Storey argued that there is a political dimension to popular culture; neo-Gramscian hegemony theory "... sees popular culture as a site of struggle between the 'resistance' of subordinate groups in society and the forces of 'incorporation' operating in the interests of dominant groups in society." A
postmodern Postmodernism is an intellectual stance or mode of discourse defined by an attitude of toward what it describes as the and of , as well as opposition to certainty and the stability of . It questions or criticizes viewpoints associated with ...
ist approach to popular culture would "no longer recognize the distinction between high and popular culture."
Jean Baudrillard Jean Baudrillard ( , , ; 27 July 1929 – 6 March 2007) was a French sociology, sociologist, philosopher and sociology of culture, cultural theorist. He is best known for his analyses of Media (communication), media, contemporary culture, and tec ...

Jean Baudrillard
argued that the vague conception “Public Opinion” is a subjective and inaccurate illusion which is more complicit in populism rather than in factuality, for it attributes a sovereignty to consumers that they do not really possess. Storey claims that popular culture emerged from the
urbanization Urbanization (or urbanisation) refers to the population shift from rural File:Rural landscape in Finland.jpg, A rural landscape in Lappeenranta, South Karelia, Finland. 15 July 2000. In general, a rural area or a countryside is a geographi ...
of the
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...
. Studies of
Shakespeare William Shakespeare (bapt. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is often called England's national p ...

Shakespeare
(by Weimann, Barber, or Bristol, for example) locate much of the characteristic vitality of his drama in its participation in
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
popular culture, while contemporary practitioners like
Dario Fo Dario Luigi Angelo Fo (; 24 March 1926 – 13 October 2016) was an Italian actor, playwright, comedian, singer, theatre director, stage designer Scenic design (also known as scenography, stage design, or set design) is the creation of Theat ...

Dario Fo
and John McGrath use popular culture in its
Gramscian Antonio Francesco Gramsci (, ; ; 22 January 1891 – 27 April 1937) was an Italian Marxism, Marxist philosopher, journalist, linguist, writer and politician. He wrote on philosophy, political theory, sociology, history and linguistics. He was a ...
sense that includes ancient folk traditions (the ''
commedia dell'arte (; ; ) was an early form of professional theatre, originating in Italy, that was popular throughout Europe between the 16th and 18th centuries. It was formerly called Italian comedy in English and is also known as ''commedia alla maschera'', ' ...
'' for example). Popular culture is constantly evolving and occurs uniquely in
place Place may refer to: Geography * Place (United States Census Bureau), defined as any concentration of population ** Census-designated place, a populated area lacking its own municipal government * "Place", a type of street or road name ** Often ...
and
time Time is the continued sequence of existence and event (philosophy), events that occurs in an apparently irreversible process, irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into the future. It is a component quantity of various me ...
. It forms currents and eddies, and represents a complex of mutually interdependent perspectives and values that influence society and its institutions in various ways. For example, certain currents of pop culture may originate from, (or diverge into) a
subculture A subculture is a group of people within a culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, ...
, representing perspectives with which the
mainstreamThe mainstream is the prevalent current thought In their most common sense, the terms thought and thinking refer to conscious cognitive processes that can happen independently of sensory stimulation. Their most paradigmatic forms are judging, rea ...
popular culture has only limited familiarity. Items of popular culture most typically appeal to a broad spectrum of the public. Important contemporary contributions for understanding what popular culture means have been given by the
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
researcher
Ronald Daus Ronald Daus (12 May 1943, Hannover Hanover (; german: Hannover ; nds, Hannober) is the capital and largest city of the German state of Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German st ...

Ronald Daus
, who studies the impact of extra-European cultures in
North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continen ...

North America
,
Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the cont ...

Asia
, and especially in
Latin America * ht, Amerik Latin, link=no * pt, América Latina, link=no , image = Latin America (orthographic projection).svg , area = , population = ( est.) , density = , ethnic_groups = , ethnic_groups_year = 2018 , ethnic ...

Latin America
.


Levels

Within the realm of popular culture, there exists an organizational culture. From its beginning, popular culture has revolved around classes in society and the push-back between them. Within popular culture, there are three levels that have emerged, high and low. ''High'' culture can be described as art and works considered of superior value, historically, aesthetically and socially. ''Low'' culture is regarded by some as that of the lower classes, historically.


Folklore

Adaptations based on traditional folklore provide a source of popular culture. This early layer of cultural mainstream still persists today, in a form separate from mass-produced popular culture, propagating by word of mouth rather than via mass media, e.g. in the form of
joke A joke is a display of humour Humour (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English) or humor (American English) is the tendency of experiences to provoke laughter and provide amusement. The term derives from the humoris ...
s or
urban legend An urban legend or contemporary legend is a genre of folklore Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an attitude Attitud ...
s. With the widespread use of the
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''internetworking, network of networks'' that consist ...

Internet
from the 1990s, the distinction between mass media and
word-of-mouth Word of mouth or ''viva voce'', is the passing of information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the question of "What an entity is" and thus defines both its essence and the nature of its characteris ...
has become blurred. Although the folkloric element of popular culture engages heavily with the
commercial Commercial may refer to: * a dose of advertising conveyed through media (such as - for example - radio or television) ** Radio advertisement ** Television advertisement * (adjective for:) commerce, a system of voluntary exchange of products and se ...

commercial
element, communities amongst the public have their own tastes and they may not always embrace every cultural or subcultural item sold. Moreover, certain beliefs and opinions about the products of commercial culture may spread by word-of-mouth, and become modified in the process and in the same manner that folklore evolves.


Criticism


The Culture Industry

The most influential critiques of popular culture came from Marxist theorists of the
Frankfurt School The Frankfurt School (german: Frankfurter Schule) was a school of social theory and critical philosophy associated with the Institute for Social Research The Institute for Social Research ''Social Research: An International Quarterly'' is a ...
during the twentieth century.
Theodor Adorno Theodor is a masculine given name. It is a German form of TheodoreTheodore may refer to: Places * Theodore, Alabama, United States * Theodore, Australian Capital Territory * Theodore, Queensland, a town in the Shire of Banana, Australia * Th ...
and
Max Horkheimer Max Horkheimer (; ; 14 February 1895 – 7 July 1973) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit=philosophos, meaning 'lover of wisdo ...

Max Horkheimer
analysed the dangers of the culture industry in their influential work the '' Dialectic of Enlightenment'' by drawing upon the works of
Kant Immanuel Kant (, , ; 22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about r ...

Kant
,
Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, M ...

Marx
,
Nietzsche Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (; or ; 15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philosopher, cultural critic, composer, poet, writer, and philologist Philology is the study of language in oral and written historical sources; it is the ...

Nietzsche
and others. Capitalist popular culture, as Adorno argued, was not an authentic culture of the people but a system of homogenous and standardised artworks produced in the service of capitalist domination by the elite. The consumer demand for
Hollywood films The cinema of the United States has had a large effect on the film industry in general since the early 20th century. The dominant style of American cinema is the classical Hollywood cinema, which developed from 1913 to 1969 and is still typi ...
, pop tunes and consumable books is encouraged by the hegemony of the corporate elite who control the media and the corporations. Adorno wrote, "The industry bows to the vote it has itself rigged." It is the elite who commodify products in accordance with their narrow ideological values and criteria, and Adorno argues that the audience becomes accustomed to these formulaic conventions, making intellectual contemplation impossible. Adorno's work has had a considerable influence on culture studies, philosophy and the
New Left The New Left was a broad political movement mainly in the 1960s and 1970s consisting of activists in the Western world The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various s, s and , depending on the context, most often consisti ...
. Writing in the ''
New Yorker
New Yorker
'' in 2014,
music critic ''The Oxford Companion to Music'' defines music criticism as "the intellectual activity of formulating judgments on the value and degree of excellence of individual works of music, or whole groups or genres". In this sense, it is a branch of music ...
Alex Ross Nelson Alexander Ross (born January 22, 1970) is an American comic book writer/artist developed specialized terminology. Some several attempts have been made to formalize and define the terminology of comics by authors such as Will Eisner, Sc ...
, argued that Adorno's work has a renewed importance in the digital age: "The pop hegemony is all but complete, its superstars dominating the media and wielding the economic might of tycoons...Culture appears more monolithic than ever, with a few gigantic corporations—Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon—presiding over unprecedented monopolies."
Jack Zipes Jack David Zipes (born 1937) is a professor emeritus of German, comparative literature, and cultural studies, who has published and lectured on German literature, critical theory, German Jewish culture, children's literature, and folklore. In the ...
, a professor of German and literature, critiqued the mass commercialisation and corporate hegemony behind the Harry Potter franchise. He argued that the commodities of the culture industry are "popular" because they are homogenous and obey standard conventions; the media then influences the tastes of children. In his analysis of Harry Potter's global brand, Zipes wrote, "It must conform to the standards of exception set by the mass media and promoted by the culture industry in general. To be a phenomenon means that a person or commodity must conform to the hegemonic groups that determine what makes up a phenomenon".


Imperialism

According to John M. MacKenzie, many products of popular culture have been designed to promote imperialist ideologies and to glorify the British upper classes rather than present a democratic view of the world. Although there are many films which do not contain such propaganda, there have been many films that promote racism and militarist imperialism.


Feminist critique

bell hooks, an influential feminist, argues that commercial commodities and celebrities cannot be symbols of progressiveness when they collaborate with imperialist capitalism and promote ideals of beauty; hooks uses Beyoncé as an example of a commodity reinforced by capitalist corporations complicit in imperialism and patriarchy.


Propaganda

Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky critiqued the mass media in their 1988 work ''Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media''. They argue that mass media is controlled by a powerful hegemonic elite who are motivated by their own interests that determine and manipulate what information is present in the mainstream. The mass media is therefore a system of propaganda.


Consumerism

According to the postmodern sociologist
Jean Baudrillard Jean Baudrillard ( , , ; 27 July 1929 – 6 March 2007) was a French sociology, sociologist, philosopher and sociology of culture, cultural theorist. He is best known for his analyses of Media (communication), media, contemporary culture, and tec ...

Jean Baudrillard
, the individual is trained into the duty of seeking the relentless maximisation of pleasure lest he or she become asocial. Therefore, "enjoyment" and "fun" become indistinguishable from the need to consume. Whereas the Frankfurt School believed consumers were passive, Baudrillard argued that consumers were trained to consume products in a form of active labour in order to achieve upward social mobility. Thus, consumers under capitalism are trained to purchase products such as pop albums and consumable fiction in order to signal their devotion to social trends, fashions and subcultures. Although the consumption may arise from an active choice, the choice is still the consequence of a social conditioning which the individual is unconscious of. Baudrillard says, "One is permanently governed by a code whose rules and meaning-constraints — like those of language — are, for the most part, beyond the grasp of individuals." In Baudrillard's understanding, the products of capitalist popular culture can only give the illusion of rebellion, since they are still complicit in a system controlled by the powerful. Baudrillard stated in an interview, critiquing the content and production of ''The Matrix'':


Sources

Sources of popular culture include: * Films * Television programs * Television advertisements * Animation * Popular music * Sports * Corporations * Fashion * Books * Comics * Radio * Video games * The Internet


Print culture

With the invention of the printing press in the sixteenth century, mass-produced, cheap books became widely available to the public. With this, the transmission of common knowledge and ideas was possible.


Radio culture

In the 1890s, Nikola Tesla and Guglielmo Marconi created the radiotelegraph, allowing for the modern radio to be born. This led to the radio being able to influence a more "listened-to" culture, with individuals being able to feel like they have a more direct impact. This radio culture is vital, because it was imperative to advertising, and it introduced the Radio advertisement, commercial.


Films

Films and cinema are highly influential to popular culture, as films as an art form are what people seem to respond to the most. With moving pictures being first captured by Eadweard Muybridge in 1877, films have evolved into elements that can be cast into different digital formats, spreading to different cultures. The impact of films and cinema are most evident when analyzing in the search of what the films aim to portray. Films are used to seek acceptance and understanding of many subjects because of the influence the films carry – an example of an early representation of this can be seen in Casablanca (film), ''Casablanca'' (1942): the film introduced war subjects to the public after the United States entered World War ll, and it meant to increase pro-war sentiment for the allies. Films are a known massive influencer to popular culture yet not all films create a movement that contributes enough to be part of the popular culture that starts movements. The content must resonate to most of the public so the knowledge in the material connects with the majority. Popular culture is a set of beliefs in trends and entail to change a person’s set of ideologies and create social transformation. The beliefs are still a trend that change more rapidly in the modern age that carries a continuation of outpouring media and more specifically films. The trend does not last but it also carries a different effect based on individuals that can be grouped to generalized groups based on age and education. The creation of culture by films is seen in fandoms, religions, ideologies, and movements. The culture of film is more evident in the modern, social media is an instant source of feedback and it creates large movements at a faster pace. Netflix is a massive trend setter in the modern era of popular culture. A repeating event that has been set in modern culture within the trend setting phase is the creation of movements in social media platforms to defend a featured subject on a film. Popular culture or mass culture, is reached easily with films which are easily shared and reached worldwide.


Television programs

A television program is a segment of audiovisual content intended for broadcast (other than a commercial, trailer, or other content not serving as attraction for viewership). Television programs may be fictional (as in television comedy, comedies and dramatic programming, dramas), or non-fictional (as in documentary television, documentary, television news, news and reality television). They may be topical (as in the case of a local programming, local newscast and some made-for-television movies), or historical (as in the case of many documentaries and fictional series). They can be primarily instructional television, instructional or educational television, educational, or entertaining as is the case in situation comedy and game shows.


Music

Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed by people with little or no musical training.Popular Music. (2015). ''Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia'' It stands in contrast to both art music and folk music, traditional or "folk" music. Art music was historically disseminated through the performances of written music, although since the beginning of the recording industry, it is also disseminated through sound recording, recordings. Traditional music forms such as early blues songs or hymns were passed along orally, or to smaller, local audiences.


Sports

Sports include all forms of Competition, competitive physical activity or games which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants, and in some cases,
entertainment Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the attention and interest In finance Finance is the study of financial institutions, financial markets and how they operate within the financial system. It is concerned with the creatio ...

entertainment
for spectators.


Corporate branding

Corporate branding refers to the practice of promoting the brand name of a corporate entity, as opposed to specific products or services.


Personal branding

Personal branding includes the use of social media to promotion to brands and topics to further good repute among professionals in a given field, produce an iconic relationship between a professional, a brand and its audience that extends networks past the conventional lines established by the
mainstreamThe mainstream is the prevalent current thought In their most common sense, the terms thought and thinking refer to conscious cognitive processes that can happen independently of sensory stimulation. Their most paradigmatic forms are judging, rea ...
and to enhance personal visibility. Popular culture: is generally recognized by members of a society as a set of the Cultural practice, practices, Opinion, beliefs, and Cultural objects, objects that are dominant or prevalent in a
society A society is a group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and nominal number, label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth. Numbers can be ...

society
at a given point in time. As celebrities online identities are extremely important in order to create a brand to line-up sponsorships, jobs, and opportunities. As influencers, micro-celebrities, and users constantly need to find new ways to be unique or stay updated with trends, in order to maintain followers, views, and likes. For example, Ellen DeGeneres has created her own personal branding through her talk show ''The Ellen DeGeneres Show''. As she developed her brand we can see the branches she created to extend her fan base such as Ellen clothing, socks, pet beds, and more.


Social media

Social media is interactive computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation or sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks. Social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok and Snapchat are the most popular applications used on a daily basis for younger generations. Social media tends to be implemented into the daily routine of individuals in our current society. Social media is a vital part of our culture as it continues to impact the forms of communication used to connect with those in our communities, families, or friend groups. We often see that terms or slang is used online that is not used in face to face conversations, thus, adding to a persona users create through the screens of technology. For example, some individuals respond to situations with a hashtag or emojis. In face to face conversations we do not respond with "smiley face" or "#bless" in response to a peer.


See also

* Bread and circuses * Culture industry * Fads * Folklore * ''Journal of Popular Culture'' * Lowbrow (art movement), Lowbrow * Low culture * MTV Generation * Pop art * Pop icon * Pop culture fiction * Popular culture studies


Notes


References

* Ashby, LeRoy. "The Rising of Popular Culture: A Historiographical Sketch," ''OAH Magazine of History,'' 24 (April 2010), 11–14. * Ashby, LeRoy. ''With Amusement for All: A History of American Popular Culture since 1830'' (2006). * : ''Der deutsche Pop-Roman. Die neuen Archivisten'' (''The German Pop-Novel. The new archivists''), C.H. Beck, München 2002, . * Bakhtin, Bakhtin, M. M. and Michael Holquist, Vadim Liapunov, Kenneth Brostrom (1981). ''The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays'' (University of Texas Press Slavic Series). Ed. Michael Holquist. Trans. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist. Austin and London: University of Texas Press. * Browne, Ray B. and Pat Browne, eds. ''The Guide to U.S. Popular Culture'' (2001), 1010 pages; essays by experts on many topics. * Burke, Peter. "Popular Culture Reconsidered," ''Storia della Storiografia'' 1990, Issue 17, pp. 40–49''. * Freitag, Sandria B. "Popular Culture in the Rewriting of History: An Essay in Comparative History and Historiography," ''Journal of Peasant Studies,'' 1989, Vol. 16 Issue 3, pp. 169–198. * Gans, Herbert J. ''Popular Culture and High Culture: an Analysis and Evaluation of Taste''. New York: Basic Books, 1974. xii, 179 p. * Gerson, Stéphane. "' A World of Their Own': Searching for Popular Culture in the French Countryside," ''French Politics, Culture and Society,'' Summer 2009, Vol. 27 Issue 2, pp. 94–110 * Golby, J. M. and A.W. Purdue, ''The civilisation of the crowd: popular culture in England, 1750–1900'' (1985
online
* Griffin, Emma. "Popular Culture in Industrializing England," ''Historical Journal,'' (2002) 45#3 pp. 619–635
online
Historiography * Hassabian, Anahid (1999). "Popular", ''Key Terms in Popular Music and Culture'', eds.: Horner, Bruce and Swiss, Thomas. Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers. . *Kamaludeen Mohamed Nasir, 2016: ''Globalized Muslim Youth in the Asia Pacific: Popular Culture in Singapore and Sydney'', New York: Palgrave. . * Knight, Robert H. ''The Age of Consent: the Rise of Relativism and the Corruption of Popular Culture''. Dallas, Tex.: Spence Publishing Co., 1998. xxiv, 253, [1] p. * Ross, Andrew. ''No Respect: Intellectuals & Popular Culture''. New York: Routledge, 1989. ix, 269 p. (pbk.) * John Seabrook, Seabrook, John. ''NoBrow : the culture of marketing the marketing of culture'', New York: A.A. Knopf, 2000. . * Storey, John (2006). ''Cultural theory and popular culture''. Pearson Education. . * * Peter Swirski, Swirski, Peter (2010). ''Ars Americana Ars Politica: Partisan Expression in Contemporary American Literature and Culture''. Montreal, London: McGill-Queen's University Press. . * Peter Swirski, Swirski, Peter (2005). ''From Lowbrow to Nobrow''. Montreal, London: McGill-Queen's University Press. .
On Religion and Popular Culture


Further reading

* Duncan, Barry (1988). ''Mass Media and Popular Culture''. Toronto, Ont.: Harcourt, Brace & Co. Canada. . * Rosenberg, Bernard, and David Manning White, joint. eds. ''Mass Culture: the Popular Arts in America''. [New York]: Free Press of Glencoe, 1957. * Cowen, Tyler, "For Some Developing Countries, America's Popular Culture Is Resistible". ''The New York Times'', 22 February 2007, sec. C, p. 3. * Furio, Joanne, "The Significance of MTV and Rap Music in Popular Culture". ''The New York Times'', 29 December 1991, sec. VI, p. 2.


External links

* * * {{authority control Popular culture, Media studies Youth