Advertising and popular culture — страница 11

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of business as a whole, of industry, of finance. It is never silent, it drowns out all other voices, and it suffers no rebuke, for it is not the voice of America? That is its claim and to some extent it is a just claim...”26 It has taught us how to live, what to be afraid of, what to be proud of, how to be beautiful, how to be loved, how to be envied, how to be successful.. Is it any wonder that the American population tends increasingly to speak, think, feel in terms of this jabberwocky? That the stimuli of art, science, religion are progressively expelled to the periphery of American life to become marginal values, cultivated by marginal people on marginal time?"27 Popular culture Popular culture (commonly known as pop culture) is the totality of artistic products,

ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes,28 images and other phenomena that the average person of any nation or group is likely to have encountered or been influenced by. In developed countries, cultural products are often disseminated by market-driven mass media (at least from the early 20th century onward). For this reason, it sometimes comes under heavy criticism from various scientific and non-mainstream sources (most notably religious groups and countercultural groups) which deem it superficial, consumerist, sensationalist, and corrupted.29 It is manifest in preferences and acceptance or rejection of features in such various subjects as cooking, clothing, consumption, and the many facets of entertainment such as sports, music, film, and literature. Popular culture often

contrasts with the more exclusive, even elitist "high culture", that is, the culture of ruling social groups, and the low or folk culture of the lower classes. The earliest use of "popular" in English was during the fifteenth century in law and politics, meaning "low", "base", "vulgar", and "of the common people"; from the late eighteenth century it began to mean "widespread" and gain in positive connotation. (Williams 1985). "Culture" has been used since the 1950s to refer to various subgroups of society, with emphasis on cultural differences. Definitions Defining 'popular' and 'culture', which are essentially contested concepts, is complicated with multiple competing definitions of popular culture.

John Storey, in Cultural Theory and Popular Culture, discusses six definitions. The quantitative definition, of culture has the problem that much "high culture" (e.g. television dramatizations of Jane Austen) is widely favoured. "Pop culture" is also defined as the culture that is "left over" when we have decided what high culture is. However, many works straddle or cross the boundaries, e.g. Shakespeare and Charles Dickens. Storey draws attention to the forces and relations which sustain this difference such as the educational system. A third definition equates pop culture with Mass Culture. This is seen as a commercial culture, mass produced for mass consumption. From a Western European perspective, this may be compared to American culture.

Alternatively, "pop culture" can be defined as an "authentic" culture of the people, but this can be problematic because there are many ways of defining the "people." Storey argues that there is a political dimension to popular culture; neo-Gramscian hegemony theory "... sees popular culture as a site of struggle between the 'resistance' of subordinate groups in society and the forces of 'incorporation' operating in the interests of dominant groups in society." A postmodernism approach to popular culture would "no longer recognize the distinction between high and popular culture' Storey emphasizes that popular culture emerges from the urbanization of the industrial revolution, which identifies the term with the usual definitions of

'mass culture'. Studies of Shakespeare (by Weimann, Barber or Bristol, for example) locate much of the characteristic vitality of his drama in its participation in Renaissance popular culture, while contemporary practitioners like Dario Fo and John McGrath use popular culture in its Gramscian sense that includes ancient folk traditions (the commedia dell'arte for example). Popular culture changes constantly and occurs uniquely in place and time. It forms currents and eddies, and represents a complex of mutually-interdependent perspectives and values that influence society and its institutions in various ways. For example, certain currents of pop culture may originate from, (or diverge into) a subculture, representing perspectives with which the mainstream popular culture has only