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Popular culture - Essay Example

Pop culture has been known for moulding ideas and the roles of various ethnicities in the society. (Storey, 2003, p. 130) Pop culture has been heavily inspired by various domains of society, be it politics, literature, arts or music. It is characterized by various trends and fads that gain exponential momentum but dissipate with almost the same speed. The phenomenon is ever-changing, which is why the term itself has no set definition. It gained primary impetus in the 19th century, in order to sum up the cultural values of the ‘lower classes’ in England. In truth, Pop culture initially rose as a valid phenomenon through urbanization. This was in fact triggered by the industrial revolution as a result of the financial upheaval in a capitalist market economy. Moreover, the latter triggered an ostensible distinction between classes, which as a result rightly labels Britain as the main breeding ground of the popular culture. (Storey, 2008, p. 13) II. Neo-Gramscian perspective, High culture and Folk Culture Italian Marxist, Antonio Gramsci (2009) views ‘Pop culture’ in an entirely different light; by calling it the hegemonic goals of the elite groups to establish their own power through intellectual supremacy to dominate all the inferior classes in the society. Unlike conventional Marxist view, Gramsci shifts his attention from the economic activity to intellectual domination as a means of maintaining its iron-clad control. The concept is described in terms of ‘bourgeois capitalism’ that is meant to pacify the subordinate groups by enforcing some of their demands to keep them from rebelling, yet simultaneously reaffirming the social hierarchy. (Strinati, 1995, p.p 25-27) He vastly sees popular culture as a tool for the elites to restrict the creativity of the masses. Gramsci’s ideology is summed by Bennett (2009), who in light of Gramscian philosophy describes popular culture in the following statement: “The field of popular culture is structured by the attempt of the ruling class to win hegemony and by forms of opposition to this endeavour. As such, it consists not simply of an imposed mass culture that is coincident with dominant ideology, nor simply of spontaneously oppositional cultures, but is rather an area of negotiation between the two within which – in different particular types of pop culture – dominant, subordinate and oppositional, and ideological valued and elements are ‘mixed’ in different permutations.” (Storey, 2008, p. 26) His perspective can also be used to further understand the media representation of ethnic minorities that will be discussed in detail as the prose develops. It has been further speculated that Pop culture overlaps high culture and folk culture; the latter being communal or traditionalist ideology whereas, high culture are practices and customs of the elite that are much more sophisticated and enhanced in its quality. Pop culture incorporates elements of both high and folk culture. Elvis Presley is one such example, who has been classified as being a major part of Pop culture but in reality he was a country musician; a folk genre that was combined with Blues music. Thus, Elvis brought high cultural aspects into his performance through innovations and has now been dubbed as an eminent ‘ ...Show more
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Popular Culture [Author’s s name] Popular Culture I. What is ‘Popular Culture’? The term ‘Popular or Pop culture’ has become an intrinsic part of modern society that consists of a set of phenomenon and ideology reinforced by media representations…
Author : pschamberger
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