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English 2017
Thy Phu

English 2017Chapter 1 Introducing Popular CultureDefining Popular Culture popular culture consists of those things products texts practices and so on that are enjoyed by lots of people it is commercial culture consisting of the traditional practices and beliefs or way of life ofa specific group pop culture is simply the practices of everyday life although these definitions summarize general meanings of pop culture the differences between them is fundamental to understanding the varying interpretations of the term popular culture What is Culture culture has multiple meanings commonly understood as focusing on highend creative productions artistic pursuits enjoyed by an elite minority privileged collection of artifacts that comprises a cultural traditiona second definition of culture encompasses a way of life of a society or distinct subsection of society including art everyday rituals such as meals work religious observances sports sex family and friendshipThe Mass Media mass media tends to fall outside the definitions of culture centred around elite artistic production or the practices of ordinary everyday life also cited as the thing that threatens to destroy culture in both these sense people feel that the mass media erodes the traditional aspects of culture feel something has been lostdesire to study our world before it was contaminated by commerce motives the relatively new discipline of cultural studies Objects of Study one definition describes culture asthe social production and reproduction of sense meaning and consciousnessThe sphere of meaning which unifies the spheres of production economics and social relations politics useful definition because it incorporates traditional definitions of culture fine art and everyday practices as well as mass media the different conceptions of culture named in this definition are not only historically different but contradictoryseeks to understand the connections between culture and the spheres of politics and economics along with how that realm of activity concerned with meanings pleasures and identities shapes and is shaped by relations of powerWhat Who Defines the Popular popular is often used in a contemporary context to describe something that is liked by a lot of people blurring between high culture and popular culture as popular no longer refers to themost people but to a particular group to whom a certain quality or value is attached ie some argue that as a public space museums should respond to the preference of people in general rather than to the tastes of the extremely educated elite concept of people is easily skewed and misinterpreted who represents the people when those that are elected to be representatives of the people forget the minorities or special interest groups who then represents them the word popular tends to carry connotations of value that are implicitly contrasted with the value of what it is not though those values are seen differently depending on who is talking and in what context second the question of who or what constitutes the popular is tangled up with questions of power who has the power to determine the popular what kind of agency that is possibility for selfmotivated activity or action is involved on the part of the people in determining or defining something to be popular What is Popular Culture most familiar use of the term popular culture identifies it with the entertainment produced through and by commercial media television film the music industry etc that have the economic and technological capacity to reach large demographically diverse and geographically dispersed audiences popularity in this case is measured by patterns of consumption it refers to the things we buy or watch listen to somewhat different use of the term popular culture defines it in terms not of consumption but production popular culture is what the people make or do for themselves this definition fits fairly closely with the anthropological definition of culture as the practices of everyday life culture that is produced by large corporate entities is driven by their need to create things to sell to the public this kind of culture is often seen as threatening the culture of everyday life by creating habits of passive consumption rather than productive activity people rely on others to supply them with culture that would be fulfilling for somebody to personally createFolk Culture and Mass 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 amongst people who tend to be known to one anothertransmission of folk culture is generally technologically simple eg facetoface oral communication mass culture on the other hand is produced for an unknown disparate audience more likely to depend on electronic or mechanical media to convey its message to the largest possible audience in oder to secure maximum profit which is its ultimate goal folk culture can cross over to mass culture through expansion of production for capitalist gains ie traditional Inuit sculptures being mass produced in factories to get distributed and sold rap music becoming a multibillion dollar industry after emerging fairly recently from the street culture of the South Bronx therefore attempt to maintain strict division is difficultnostalgia attached to the idea of preserving a folk culture devoid of the corruption associated with commerce returning to a mythical time in history in which culture and social identities were secure and cultural boundaries were clear when the desire to preserve a folk culture is extended to a socially and economically disadvantaged group the situation becomes even more complicated as exchanging their folk culture for mass cultural would mean extensive monetary gains and the disapproval of those who fall under the popular culture category may only be attributed to their upset at this newfound competition for business aless crudely materialistic motivation for consumer nostalgia in this case might be a wellintentioned if racist aesthetic investment in the image of the noble savage this imaginary figure conjures up a purer more natural world outside Western commercial culture while occupying a comfortable place within it folk culture as a term has a lot of ideological baggage and many troublesome derivations however it still retains some value as a descriptive term to designative particular kinds of cultural production especially when referring to a time before our present capitalist movement which now constantly skews the boundaries between authenticity and commercial valueCapitalism economic system based on private ownership of the means of production and distribution geared towards the generation of profit dominant economic system in the world todaysystem of private enterprise whose primary aim is the production of profit has been developing since at least the fifteenth century underwrites many economic and cultural institutions that we take for granted today such as private property individual freedom and the imperative of economic growth our tendency to view these aspects of capitalism as natural to humanity makes us dismiss its negative aspects such as social fragmentation unequal distribution of wealth and the conversion of everything including life itself into something that can be bought or sold in capitalist economies means of creating distributing and exchanging wealth lie mainly in the hands of individuals and corporations rather than in public or state handsmain goal of individuals in capitalism is to maximize the profit or wages they receive
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