Popular Culture

Topics: Culture, High culture, Cultural studies Pages: 3 (697 words) Published: August 22, 2013

W h a t is Popular Culture?



aus: STOREY, John: Cultural Theory and Popular Culture. London e al. (PearsonlPrenUce Hall) 2001 t


Before we consider in detail the different ways in which popular culture has been defined and analyzed, I want to outline some of the general features of the debate which the study of popular culture has generated. It is not my intention to pre-empt the specific findings and arguments which will be presented in the following chapters. Here I simply wish to map out the general conceptual landscape of popular culture. This is, in many ways, a daunting task. As Tony Bennett points out, 'as it stands, the concept of popular culture is virtually useless, a melting pot of confused and contradictory meanings capable of misdirecting inquiry up any number of theorrtical blind alleys'.' Part of the difficulty stems from the implied otherness which is always absendpresent when we use the term 'popular culture'. As we shall see in the chapters which follow, popular culture is always defined, implicitly or explicitly, in conuast to other conceptual categories: folk culture, mass culme, dominant culture, working-class culture, etc. A full definition must always take this into account. Moreover, as we shall also see, whichever conceptual category is deployed as popular culture's absentlpresent other, it will always powerfully affect the connotations brought into play when we use the term 'popular culture'. Therefore, to study popular culture we must first confront the difficulty posed by the term itself. That is, 'depending on how it is used, quite different areas of inquiry and forms of theoretical definition and analytical focus are suggested'." The main argument which 1 suspect readers will take from this hook is that popular culture is in effect an empty conceptual category, one which can be filled in a wide variety of often conflicting ways, depending on the context of use. Culture

In order to define popular culture...
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