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Popular Culture

  Popular culture used to mean the culture ordinary people actually made for themselves: activities and habits of mind arising, usually without identified authors, from specific societies and reflecting specific circumstances and world-views. But from the early 19th century onwards, the term has been hijacked by intellectual snobs, to mean what the mass of people enjoy (as opposed to ‘high’ culture, which is what people of refined taste enjoy). Inverted snobbery now makes some intellectuals affect what they perceive as the styles and manners of popular culture, and makes some critics go into contortions to demonstrate that popular artistic artefacts can be judged (usually with a patter of patronizing applause) by the criteria of ‘high’ culture. Certainly, comparisons are obligatory between one perceived kind of culture and another, there are points of similarity and influence. It might, however, be argued either that ‘culture’ (whatever that is) is a single, indivisible phenomenon, or that chalk is chalk and cheese is cheese, and those who simply live and enjoy ‘culture’, as opposed to analysing it, have the right idea. KMcL

See also pop.



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Other Terms : Musique Concrète | Whorfian Hypothesis | Neo-Lamarckism
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