Daily Archives: January 31, 2010

Culture Notes (AMS179)

Popular Culture

pop is usually defined in opposition to some other sort of culture (ex. “high” culture)

related to this opposition is a view of pop as a symptom of decline; as the culture of those without culture. an ersatz culture. there are left- and right-wing variants of this argument: on the left, pop as a kind of mass culture used to keep people opiated. on the right, pop undermines tradition.

Raymond Williams. defines culture in several ways:

“a general process of intellectual, spiritual and aesthetic development”– i.e. as training for the individual but also on a larger scale, ex. the cultural development of Europe, Africa, the American South, etc.

“a particular way of life, whether of a people, a period, or a group”– a broader, more anthropological definition which would extend beyond a canon of great works. In this usage, all groups have their own culture. taken to an extreme we can think of not only the culture of a particular religious or ethnic group but the culture of computer programmers, the culture of cookie jar collectors, etc.

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