This article is about popular culture and it depicts Beyonce Knowles and her intended performance at Glastonbury. Besides Beyonce and her husband Jay Z, the article talks about other popular bands such as U2 and its lead singer Bono and Coldplay, the major artists expected to perform at the summer music festival in Glastonbury (Topping, 2011: 15). …
Besides Beyonce and her husband Jay Z, the article talks about other popular bands such as U2 and its lead singer Bono and Coldplay, the major artists expected to perform at the summer music festival in Glastonbury (Topping, 2011: 15). From this article, the emergence of the popular culture in form of music can be evaluated by considering theories of industrialization and of cultural studies. Popular culture is a broad term that incorporates common aesthetic or life practices in qualitative and statistical dimensions (Arnold, 1964:31). However, modern day theorists regard popular culture as a common tradition that has arisen in the modern times and it differs from folk tradition because it is mass-produced and different from high life because it is consumed in mass (Arnold, 1964:32). From this article on Beyonce, it is apparent that popular culture has undergone a lot of transformation from the last century. The current popular culture is characterized by extensive use of the mass media to publicize the events and elaborate organization by the artist and event organizers. Gans (1974:61-62) defines popular culture as an epitome of the society, reflecting the transformations occurring in the society. According to Giddens (1979:29), European and American societies underwent profound transformation in the 18th and 19th centuries. These changes resulted to massive social reorganization especially in the western European spheres where many people moved to work in urban areas in the emerging industries. Transformation from the rural peasantry to mass production in industries not only influenced the economic aspect of the workers, but their culture took a different turn (Giddens, 1979:49). Arnold (1964:85) noted that industrialization also brought with it capitalism in addition to increased interactions and mixing of diverse cultures. A combination of these factors in addition to the strenuous activities in the industries resulted to creation of a homogeneous society, with shared experiences across the regions. In addition, the increasing social density in the community and division of labor due to capitalism accelerated creation of distinct social classes, especially at the middle class level. Archer (1995:116-125) argues that a combination of capitalism ideology and its austere administrative structure resulted to increasing literacy levels especially to the middle class creating a formidable social, economic and cultural hegemony that changed the popular culture immensely. In this regard, capitalism resulted to sudden change in power that eventually caused social differentiation in the society. Archer (1995: 19) argues that the raise of the popular culture does not only involve a large group of individuals, but people who have high level of organization pertaining to their tastes and preferences. This class plays a very critical role in the cultural industry that has developed to meet the artistic aspirations of the middle class. Another influential factor in the middle class towards the popular culture is the high literate levels. According to Archer (1995: 49), the increasing levels of literacy in the middle class resulted to more economic empowerment that lead to accelerated social differentiation that enabled the people to realize new possibilities and discover new and limitless dimensions of their lives for exploration. Therefore, the middle class did not wish to be just machines working in the emerging industries for survival, but as beings with another dimension for fun and recreation. The high culture was not initially intended for entertainment, but it provided the middle class with opportunities for expressing their frustrations, achievements, joys and aspirations in their working places. Burke, (1978 b: 113) noted that the emergence of the ...
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