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Popular Culture

Debra Merskin

Subject Communication and Media Studies » Communication Studies
Culture » Popular Culture

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


“Culture” is “one of the two or three most complicated words in the English language” according to Williams (1976 , 87; →  Culture: Definitions and Concepts ). Originally used to describe the process of tending, culture evolved as metaphor, as noun, and as a reference to a physical object. Today, culture is regarded as a unifying system, a worldview, a civilization, and as a psychology encompassing behavior, attitudes, and values as well as the symbolic structure of these activities (→  Cultural Patterns and Communication ). Music is one of the most globally ubiquitous forms of culture. Four elements are typically included in definitions of culture: institutions, norms, values, and artifacts. “Popular” is a term used to express favorability, high regard, and appreciation by the general →  Public , as in the popular vote or to distinguish the popular from the academic press. Thus, “culture” used in this sense is political rather than aesthetic (→  Political Communication Culture ). Storey (1996) points out that culture is not a narrow sense of aesthetic nor only an intellectual product but rather a domain of contestation, reflection, resistance, and reconstruction. Popular culture is culture of the people by the people and for the people. Traditionally, popular culture was thought of as the product of something made by hand, but it can also mean widespread fame, popularity, and ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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