The meaning of the term “pop culture” can vary depending on the context and who is using it. It can be defined as the language or people’s culture, which is what predominates in a particular society at a given time. In Rhetorical dimensions of Popular culture Brummett explains that pop culture is the social aspects of life that the majority of the public are most involved in. Pop culture, also known as the “culture of the people”, is the result of interactions between people. Examples of pop culture include the styles and foods people choose to eat, their use of slang and greetings rituals, as well as the way they dress. The mass media also influences pop culture.
Pop culture can be described as a collection of common elements. Popular culture includes the most current and immediate aspects of our lives. These aspects can change rapidly, especially in an omnipresent technological world where people are connected in new ways. Pop culture reflects certain standards and common beliefs. Pop culture is a commonality that influences everyday life. Petracca and Sorapure Common Culture. Brands can also achieve pop icon status (e.g. The Nike swoosh and McDonald’s golden arches are two examples of brands that have achieved pop icon status. But, iconic brands can rise and fall just like other aspects of pop culture.
These fundamental elements are what make popular culture. It is the expressions and identities that are most commonly encountered, widely accepted, liked, or approved of by a society at a particular time. Ray Browne, in his essay “Folklore to Popular”, offers a similar definition. “Pop culture” refers to the characteristics of people’s attitudes, behaviors and beliefs. In the historical usage of the term, pop culture is the culture that the people.
Popular culture allows heterogeneous groups of people to identify together. Pop culture serves an inclusive role in society by uniting people around acceptable behavior. Pop culture can help individuals build a sense of identity that binds them to society. It also helps boost their prestige within their peer group. As we will see, pop culture is a way for individuals to challenge the norms and attitudes of society. Pop culture is attractive to people because it offers opportunities for individual happiness as well as communal bonding.
Popular culture has many definitions
John Storey, a British media specialist, offers six definitions of popular culture in his highly successful textbook “Cultural Theory and Pop culture”, now in its eighth edition.
- Pop culture simply refers to culture that is popularly favored or liked by many people. It has no negative connotations.
- Pop culture is what is left after you have identified what “high cultural” is. According to this definition, pop cultures are considered inferior and serve as a marker for class and status.
- Pop culture is a collection of commercial products that are made for mass consumption by non-discriminating customers. This definition of pop culture means that the elites use it to suppress or exploit the masses.
- Pop culture is folk culture. It is something that is created by people and not imposed on them.
- Pop culture is negotiated. It is partly imposed by the dominant classes and partly resisted by or modified by the subordinate class. While dominant classes can create culture, subordinates have the final say on what they keep and discard.
- Storey’s last definition of pop-culture is that, in today’s postmodern world, there is no distinction between authentic and commercial. Pop culture today allows users to accept some manufactured content, modify it for their own purposes, or reject it completely and create their own.
Examples from Popular culture
Pop culture can be found in a variety of media, such as print, digital, and cyber culture. Television and sports are two of the most popular examples of popular cultural, as well as being examples of enduring pop culture.
All social classes can watch and play sports, but the mass population is responsible for their huge popularity. A global community consumes some sporting events like the Olympics and World Cup. Sports are a part of most people’s daily lives and are omnipresent in most societies. It is common to show loyalty to a team in order to self-identify. As Tim Madigan and I explain in our new book The Sociology of Sport, cheering on a team or an athlete is a common way for anyone to become part of pop culture.
People watch many hours of television each day. It’s so common in our culture that it’s hard to imagine life without it. Some people believe that TV has led to a dumbing of society. They think that too many children are watching too much TV. The couch potato syndrome is believed to have contributed to childhood obesity. The internationally popular TV series The Simpsons offers a unique perspective on television. Sideshow Bob, while in prison, becomes a critic for television’s exploitation.
Bob is now obsessed with television’s negative effects on society, despite being a regular on the Krusty the Clown Show. Bob believes that TV would make everyone’s life easier. He devises a plan to explode a nuclear bomb in Springfield if all TV is removed. Springfield’s officials are unable to locate Bob and meet to discuss Bob’s demands to abolish TV. Krusty, in panic, asks, “Would living without TV really be worth it?” Sideshow Bob would be proud of the dead, but I believe the survivors would envy them.” Krusty would likely agree with Krusty that living without television isn’t living. It’s even harder to imagine a world without popular cultural icons.
Folk and High Culture
Pop culture is often distinguished from folk culture and high culture. Folk culture can be compared to popular culture in that it involves a lot of people. Folk culture is a traditional way of doing things. Folk culture is therefore less adaptable and more stable than pop culture.
Folk culture is a simple lifestyle that is largely conservative and self-sufficient. It often reflects rural life. Radical innovation is discouraged. The community expects group members to follow the same traditional behavior. Folk culture is non-commercial and local. Folk culture offers stability while popular culture seeks something new and fresh. Pop culture can be seen as an intrusion into folk culture and a challenge.
Folk culture is rarely an intruder on pop culture. Sometimes elements of folk culture, such as Irish fairy tales and Mexican blankets, may be incorporated into pop culture. Some elements of folk culture (e.g., Turkish rugs or Mexican blankets or Irish fairy tales), find their way into pop culture. Folk culture is generally lost when it is appropriated and marketed by pop culture.
Accessibility to the masses is a key feature of pop culture. It is the culture of the people. High culture, however, is not mass-produced nor intended for mass consumption. It is a part of the social elite. Fine arts, theatre, and intellectualism are all associated with the higher socioeconomic classes. High-level items of culture require a lot of experience, training or reflection in order to appreciate them. These items rarely cross over into the realm of pop culture. Pop culture is often viewed as superficial compared to high-level culture. This does not mean that only the social elites are not involved in pop culture, nor that all members of society do not enjoy high culture.
The Formation of Pop culture
The majority of human history was influenced by traditional folk culture and dogmatic forms or rule. People were scattered in small towns and rural areas, which made it difficult to cultivate a pop culture. The Industrial era, which began in the late eighteenth century, saw the rural masses move to cities. This led to Western societies becoming urbanized.
Popular culture is formed through urbanization. People who lived in small, homogeneous villages or farms once found themselves in large cities that are rich in cultural diversity. As a result of the common or popular expressions, these diverse people began to view themselves as a “collectivity”. Many scholars attribute the birth of pop culture to the Industrial Revolution’s rise in the middle class.
Industrialization brought along mass production, developments in transportation (such as the steam locomotive or the steamship), advancements in building technology, increased literacy, improvements in education, public health, and efficient forms of commercial printing. This was the first step towards the creation of mass media (eg, the penny press, magazines and pamphlets). These factors all contributed to the rise of pop culture.
The print industry had mass produced illustrated periodicals and newspapers by the turn of the 20th century. It also serialized detective stories and novels. For a growing public interested in economic and social affairs, newspapers were the best source for information. Popular discourse was sparked by ideas in print. The rise of mass media in the 20th century was a major driver for pop culture. Culture was influenced by television, radio broadcasting and films.
Popular culture has been shaped by many factors, including urbanization, industrialization and continuous technological growth since the late 1800s. These are still important factors in shaping pop culture today.
Sources for Pop culture
Popular culture comes from many sources. The mass media is the primary source of pop culture, including music, films, television, radio and video games. A number of communication advances have made it possible to transmit ideas more effectively by word-of-mouth, particularly via cell phones. Many TV programs such as American Idol or the Last Comic Standing give viewers a number that allows them to vote for contestants. Combining popular culture sources is a unique way to increase public interest and fuel the mass production of commodities.
Professional entities provide information to the public, and influence pop culture. These sources include news media, scientific and academic publications, as well as expert opinion from experts in their fields. A news station that reports on a topic such as the effects of violent video games will often seek out a psychologist or sociologist who is an expert in this field. This is a great way to influence the public and shape their collective opinions about a subject. It provides a starting point to public discussion and allows for differing opinions. Many news stations allow viewers to email or call their opinions and they may be shared with others.
Individualism is a seemingly contradictory component of pop culture. Urban culture has provided a common ground for people, and it has also inspired individualistic ideals. The United States is a society built on the principle of individual rights. There are no limits to what an individual can accomplish. One individual can choose to take part in the popular activities for the sake of popularity, or they might choose to go off-the-beaten path. These ‘pathfinders” can sometimes have an impact on pop culture through their uniqueness. It is true that a unique style can be adopted by others and ceases to be unique. It is popular.
Critiques of pop culture
Popular culture is often criticized because of its availability. Some critics claim that pop culture encourages a shallow understanding of life and focuses on the common, unthinkable, the superficial, and the unpredictable. Critics might also argue that popular culture is more influenced by narcissistic desire-fulfillment fantasies and sensationalism than it is from a mature, realistic view of reality and personal and spiritual growth. Rarely are cultural items popularized if they require extensive knowledge, experience, training, taste or insight to fully appreciate them.
Advertisers and corporations have a reputation for pushing popular memes to increase the consumption of their products. Marxists claim that pop culture and its implicit insistence on a causal relationship between consumption, self-actualization, perpetuates pernicious and deep-seated economic and social divisions. This results in the alienation of the working class from the ruling profession and leisure classes. It also leads to general discontentment and diminished enjoyment of life (compare the situations).
John M. McKenzie says that many popular culture products were created to promote imperialist ideologies, glorify British upper classes, and present a democratic vision of the world. There are films that don’t contain such propaganda but there are also films that encourage racism and militarist imperialism.
Bell Hooks, an influential feminist, believes that celebrities and commercial commodities cannot be used as symbols of progressivism when they work with imperialist capitalism. Hooks uses Beyoncé to illustrate a commodity that has been reinforced by capitalist corporations who are complicit in patriarchy and imperialism.
In 1988, Edward S. Herman & Noam Chomsky criticized the mass media in Manufacturing Consent. The Political Economy and the Mass Media. They claim that the mass media is controlled and manipulated by a powerful elite that is motivated by their own agendas. Mass media is therefore a system for propagandizing.
A propaganda approach to media coverage implies a highly political and systematic dichotomization of news coverage that is based on the serviceability to domestic power interests. This should be evident in the dichotomized choice of story as well as in the quality and quantity of coverage… Such dichotomization is large and systematic in mass media: Not only are the choices for publicity and suppression clear in terms of system benefit, but also the ways in which favored and inconvenient material (placement and tone, context, fullness and treatment) differ in ways that serve the political ends.
Jean Baudrillard is a postmodern sociologist who believes that the individual must seek the constant maximization of pleasure to avoid becoming asocial. The need to consume is what makes “enjoyment and fun” indistinguishable. Baudrillard, contrary to the Frankfurt School’s belief that consumers are passive, argued that consumers were taught to consume products as active labor to increase their social mobility.
Capitalism teaches consumers to buy pop albums and consumable fiction to show their love for social trends, fashions, and subcultures. While the consumer may make an active decision to consume, it is still a result of social conditioning that the individual is unaware 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.”