Read full document

Popular Culture

Page 1 of 3
The term "popular culture" was coined in the 19th century or earlier. Traditionally, the term has denoted the education and general "culturedness" of the lower classes, as opposed to the "official culture" and higher or tre education emanated by the dominant classes. 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 period. From the end of World War II, following major cultural and social changes brought by mass media innovations, the meaning of popular culture began to overlap with those of mass culture, media culture, image culture, consumer culture, and culture for mass consumption. Social and cultural changes in the United States where a pioneer in this with respect to other western countries. The abbreviated form "pop" for popular, as in pop music, dates from the late 1950s. 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. According to John Storey, there are six definitions of popular culture. The quantitative definition of culture has the problem that much "high culture" (e.g., television dramatizations of Jane Austen) is also "popular". "Pop culture" is also defined as the culture that is "left over" when we have decided what high culture is. However, many works straddle the boundaries, e.g., Shakespeare and Charles Dickens. A third definition equates pop culture with "mass culture" and ideas. This is seen as a commercial culture, mass-produced for mass consumption by mass mediaFrom a Western European perspective, this may be compared to American culture. Alternatively, "pop culture" can be defined as an "authentic" culture of the people, but this can be problematic because there are many ways of defining the...