Mass Media, Globalisation and Popular Culture

Popular and High Culture and the Changing Distinction
Popular Culture: Mass/low culture | Mass produced, trivial with no artistic value. | ‘Everyday culture’ | Linked to passive, uncritical entertainment | Candyfloss Culture – speaks to everyone in general but no one in particular.

Mass Media, Globalisation and Popular Culture

High Culture: Exempt from ordinary life | Fine art/Ballet | Found in galleries, aimed at upper/middle class | E.g. ‘Serious’ political news, Shakespeare and Monet.

Changing Distinction Post-Modernists argue distinction is weakening – global reach of contemporary media/mass production and international trade – high culture no longer reserved for the elites, no need to visit special institutions e.g. gallery/theatre.
Examples of Merging
Video Games: GiddingsBring together elements of high culture – art/architecture/Classical music.
Technology: Culture more accessible – e.g. can view Mona Lisa on google.
Synergy: Van Gough merch. | Classical music in adverts | Pride and Prejudice on TV.
Evaluation of Popular Culture
Marxist and Critical Theorists:
Imposed on masses for profit | Social control – illusion of choice | dumbed down trivial uncritical media infotainment and escapist fantasy | Maintains ideological hegemony and power of dominant class.
Marcuse: Suggests media generated adverts create a form of ‘social repression’ – passive acceptance and undermining revolutionary action.

Pluralist View:
Strinati: Points to a wider diversity of content critically selected and responded to.
Livingstone: Found TV soaps – watched by millions | address and inform public on controversial issues e.g. Hollyoaks and Eastenders – domestic abuse/homophobia. – However such programmes are a load of shit and watched by plebs. (Pellen, 2016).
A Global Popular Culture

Flew suggests evo. of media tech. helped developed pop. culture | Kellener – Media produces global images of lifestyles which evolve into everyday life – people form identities upon. This global culture is primarily of American origin.
Cultural Homogenization
Global promotion of same products undermines local culture | Digital world breaks culture barriers e.g. digitalisation of music and art. Products encouraged into foreign culture – spreads popular culture, makes cultures similar.
Culture Ideology of Consumerism (Sklair)
Media blur the difference between info. – entertainment – promotion | Sell values and lifestyles with products – mainly western consumerist lifestyles | Encourages dominant ideology worldwide | e.g. companies such as Apple/Coca-Cola.
Media Generated Culture Industry
Worldwide consumers have shared popular culture | view the same globalized content | share same foods/tech/and aspects of life.

Ritzler: Shows companies and brands operate on a global scale e.g. Apple/Google promote globally and logos internationally recognised – have a lot of power.
Global Formats: Products available across cultures – e.g.  GTA fasting selling entertainment product.
Culture and Media Imperialism
Fenton: ‘Global’ – not universal – disguises the domination of western culture.
Cocacolonialization: Western and American media, products and cultural values are being imposed on non-western cultures – undermining of local culture.
Illustrated by the fact the 500 top grossing films outside USA are still primarily American.
Sociological Views on Global Popular Culture

Pluralist View:

  • New media – created and distributed by public – no longer victims /passive.
  • for one culture/ideology to dominate due to dispersion/vast choice.
  • Hybrid culture enabled by new media access e.g. Weeaboos.
  • Promotion of democracy and diversity.

Critical View:

  • Media owners promote lifestyle encouraging consumption – profit.
  • Diverts serious issues – war and global inequality.
  • Less choice – content standardised in large quantities.
  • Americanized celeb culture replaces serious news + local media unable to compete.