How Has Popular Culture Evolved? Essay

3058 words - 13 pages

Introduction
My argument: is popular culture is more democratic now. To support this argument I will firstly, examine the evolution of popular culture. Secondly, explore how popular culture opens access and allow for creativity. Third I will analyse how popular culture influenced conflict between the social classes. Fourth, consumerism in popular culture and popular culture in the media will be evaluated. Finally I will see how popular culture open access and allows for creativity. All of this will then be evaluated and a conclusion arrived at as to whether or not popular culture is now more democratic.

How has popular culture evolved?
The city environment provides a thriving hub for ...view middle of the document...

The lack of this in cities leads to higher crime rates and anti-social behaviour. In large cities the newspaper took the place of local gossip; despite this newspapers did not affect the average person on the street as they mainly dealt with serious crime or politics and not the trivial matters of day to day life. Marx in his work ‘Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right’ approved of the fact that that the churches power had receded in the cities which coincided with his thoughts on religion being “the opium of the masses” (OULearn. 2012).
I believe that today’s opium of the masses, especially in youth culture, is becoming less associated with religion and more so with the likes of the internet and hedonistic pursuits such as rock gigs, festivals and travelling for extended periods of time for pleasure.
In Parks time and in today’s society sub-cultures flourish. In cities the smorgasbord of people facilitates like-minded individuals coming together. This is not the case in small towns due to the limited population. In New York in the 1800s this was particularly evident where people of a similar nationality congregated in neighboring ghettos.
Since the advent of the internet individuals in isolated communities now have the ability to communicate with each other via internet forums and blogs giving them an outlet for their thoughts and expressions. This enables people to communicate with others who identify themselves as being part of a similar subculture. At the same time the emergence of sub cultures is nowhere near as prevalent in small towns as it is in cities. The city is an organic organism where people shape their surroundings and in turn are themselves shaped by their surroundings. Park affirms this notion when he says “The city is not merely a physical mechanism and an artificial construction. It is involved in the vital processes of the people who compose it; it is a product of human nature and particularly of human nature” (Park, R.E. 2005)
How has popular culture influenced conflict between classes?
Matthew Arnold in his essay ‘Culture and Anarchy’ argues that for a society to strive towards perfection it needs to adopt the cultural ideals of the ruling class. He believed that “culture is the endeavor to know… and to make this knowledge prevail for the good of all humankind”. This idea is clearly conveyed when he affirms that society should strive towards knowing ‘the best that has been thought and said in the world’ (Arnold, M. 2006).

Arnold believed that mass culture was vulgar and not to be shared among the masses. To put this into a modern context activities such as enjoying classical or operatic music would fit with his philosophy, only high culture should be appreciated, on the other hand going to a nightclub, rock concert or listening to pop music would be the equivalent of popular culture low culture of that of the proletariat. The boundaries in terms of high...

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