“I must begin my post by stating it took me a whole day to realize popular culture is the extended version of pop culture. You can stop laughing now. When I think popular culture I immediately think about the decades. What was popular culture in the 80s is a bit different than what is popular culture now. There may be some similarities however for the most part we have given up velour jumpsuits, tucked away our Cabbage Patch kids, let our mullets grow out, and learned the true dangers of smoking. However, this is not to say that we do not still love the movies. In my opinion movies of the 80s were the best.
Popular culture has not always been. For example, in the era of people living miles apart or being spread out we did not see a large rise in popular culture. This all changed with urbanization. “Thus, many scholars trace the beginning of the popular culture phenomenon to the rise of the middle class brought on by the Industrial Revolution” (Delaney 2007). Popular culture encompasses film, music, art, styles of dress, slang, and all things that make up our social life and are adopted by the mass population. In 1957 is when social scientists first began work into popular culture. Rosenburg and White referred to it as Mass Culture. This was used to explain the phenomena of the masses and what was adopted by them to identify their culture. I am sure the popular culture of 1957 varies differently from our popular culture today. Imagine if Bill’s wife in 1957 were to see him watching a Cardi B video or if she was to want to look like a Kardashian. It makes me think of this film I once saw Pleasantville. If you have time this semester check it out. It puts a perspective on how our culture of today would been viewed in the culture of the 50s and 60s.
However, some parts of culture are reserved for the elite. This type of culture is called high culture. It is not for everyone and cannot be obtained by everyone. High culture is for example couture lines of clothing and exotic cuisine. Things that the average person would not be introduced to or have a lifestyle where they could experience this. In many situations instead of it being referred to as high culture and popular culture it is referred to as high culture and low culture. This does bring a question of does high culture influence popular culture? I think it does. I think the elite influence what we as the “low culture” want in life. I think about women who live-in middle-class homes or even poverty level homes and they buy $400 handbags because of the designer associated with the bag. I think about how we as society are influenced by celebrities or even moms who have blogs who push products on us or ideas on us and we are more willing to accept because of who they are. Think about the last time you were on a blog and a link popped up for a product this parent or person uses. You are more apt to click on the link or at least review the item because they introduced it to you. This is also true for athletes who come out with their own clothing line. Our young children are influenced to want the $200 pair of shoes because someone who is a hero or idol to them stands behind this brand. Do you think society is influenced by high culture?”
Delaney, Tim. 2007. “Pop Culture: An Overview.” Philosophy Now: a Magazine of Ideas. Retrieved June 6, 2019 (https://philosophynow.org/issues/64/Pop_Culture_An_Overview).
Grindstaff, Laura. 2008. “Culture and Popular Culture: A Case for Sociology.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science619(1):206–22.
Lewis, George. 1978. “Trend Report: The Sociology of Popular Culture ” Current Sociology26(3):3–64.
Peer, W. Van. 1997. “‘High’/‘Low’ Cultural Products and Their Social Functions.” Empirical Studies of the Arts15(1):29–39.
The Sociology of Popular Culture
Popular culture can be defined as a set of beliefs, objects and practices that exemplify the communal meanings of any social system. It can also be considered as the collection of cultural-related products like art, music, dance, films, fashion, radio, literature, television and cyber culture in which many of the population in the general public consume. Generally, it is comprised of linguistic conventions, media objects, trends, and fashions, entertainment and leisure as well as paperback novels. The term popular culture, coined in the 19th century emanates from the fact that the culture has mass appeal and accessibility. There exists a very close connection between cultural sociology and popular culture given that popular culture is both a subcategory of cultural sociology as well as a contrasting arena of examination done by other disciplines (Grindstaff 2009: p 206-222). This paper studies the differences, point of connections, and differences between high culture and popular culture.
Popular culture is considered as the society’s culture and as such it is accessible. For example, pop culture is going to a parade. On the other hand, high culture is not really meant for the masses and as such it is not available to them readily (Ross 2016). High culture is specifically for the elites in the society. It includes opera, fine arts, and intellectual pursuits which are all related with the upper socioeconomic echelons and requires training, reflection or highbrow approach in order to be appreciated. As such elements from high culture infrequently cross over into pop culture. However, pop culture more frequently crosses over in high culture. For example, Shakespeare plays were at one time considered pop culture, but now they are for the elite of high culture. High culture is seen as sophisticated while popular culture is often seen as superficial (Storey 2018).
The concept of popular culture has a close association with both folk culture and mass culture. It is also considered to be distinct from several institutional cultures such as educational, political and legal culture. The relation of pop culture with mass culture relates to the position of popular culture in economic production specifically within the capitalist mode. From this perspective, popular culture is viewed as a set of products produced via capitalist processes focused on profit taking and purchases made by consumers (Kidd 2017).
However, the relationship between popular culture and fork culture brings attention to subcultures like ethnic cultures and youth cultures. From this perspective, popular culture is viewed as a set of actions by culture makers and artists that leads to performance as well as materials that are received and construed by audiences both in the subculture group and beyond.
Comprehensively, the exploration is on how popular culture starts as a collective formation of a subculture and later taken over by market systems. There are key concerns in the sociological examination of popular culture like the point to which spectators exercise power in determining what the culture that they consume means, representing specific themes and groups in cultural practices and objects’ content and the role played by cultural production in social reproduction.
In conclusion, there is a clear distinction that exist between pop culture and high culture. While popular culture is specifically made for the general population, high culture is for the cream of the crop of today. Further, the different subcultures in pop culture’s influence different aspects with society including economic, politics, etc.
Grindstaff, Laura.”Culture and Popular Culture: A case for Sociology.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 619 (2009): 206-222.
Kidd, Dustin. “Popular Culture.” Oxford Bibliography. (2017). https://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199756384/obo- 9780199756384-0193.xml
Ross, Andrew. No respect: Intellectuals and popular culture. Routledge, 2016.
Storey, John. Cultural theory and popular culture: An introduction. Routledge, 2018
Read and respond to each discussion post separately with at least 1 new citation (ASA format). No minimum word count, responses just have to be interesting.