What is culture?
Capital C culture: High-end creative productions (opera,
ballet and Shakespeare). Artistic pursuits enjoyed by elite
minor. These over time (they are often associated with the
past) assumed an especially privileged place in the collection
of ideas and artifacts that comprise a cultural tradition.
Whole way of life of a society or a distinct subsection of
society: along with art, it encompasses everyday rituals such
as meals, work, religious observances, sports, sex, family,
and friendship. When we go on vacation to experience other
cultures, it is this sense of culture that we are making
reference to: a glimpse into a different way of life organized
according to its own principles and around its own unique
Mass media falls outside the definitions of culture centered
around elite artistic production or the practices of ordinary
everyday life; they also are frequently cited as the thing that
threatens to destroy culture in both these senses.
Other study objects:
Key Concepts in Communication and Cultural Studies,
describes culture as “the social production and reproduction of
sense, meaning and consciousness. The sphere of meaning, which unifies the spheres of production (economics) and social
What/Who is Popular?
it becomes obvious that it has to do with more than
numbers—that the words “popular” and “the people” don’t
refer to absolutely everyone, but to a particular group to
whom a certain quality or value is attached.
What is Popular Culture?
Folk culture refers to those cultural products and practices
that have developed over time within a particular community
or socially identifiable group and that are communicated
from generation to generation and among people who tend to
be known to one another.
Mass culture, on the other hand, is produced for an unknown,
different audience. While the transmission of folk culture is
generally technologically simple (e.g., face-to-face, oral
communication), mass culture depends on electronic (or
mechanical) media to convey its message to the largest
possible audience in order to secure maximum profit, which
is its ultimate goal.
The attempt to maintain a strict division is not just tricky in a
practical sense but also, arguably, somewhat suspect
ideologically. The culture of everyday: “the communicative practices of
everyday life” (where “communicative practices” comprises all
those activities concerned with the production of meaning:
talking, writing, social rituals such as eating, shopping, dancing,
music, visual culture, sports, fashion, etc.) that are shared
among many members of a society, including and especially
those who aren’t particularly socially, economically, or
Power Relationships: Stuart Hall puts it, not as “a mere descriptive
inventory—which may have the negative effect of freezing popular
culture into some timeless descriptive mould—but [as] the
relations of power which are constantly punctuating and dividing
the domain of culture into its preferred and its residual categories”.
John Fiske, has claimed, “Popular culture is the culture of the
subordinated and disempowered”
Cultural studies: “a term of convenience for a fairly dispersed array
of theoretical and political positions which, however widely
divergent they might be in other respects, share a commitment to
examining cultural practices from the point of view of their
intrication with, and within, relations of power”.
The study of popular culture might be described in one sense as the
study of the interrelationships among what were once seen as
discrete fields of existence.