High-Pop and Cultural Values

Essay by honeyGGUniversity, Bachelor'sA, March 2009

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The purpose of this essay is to examine the issue of high-pop and the cultural values that have promoted its popularisation. The essay argues that the popularisation of high-pop was due to three inter-related factors, each one of which was necessary to ensuring that high-pop was widely consumed and demanded by the broader ‘mass market.’‘High-Pop’ as Theoretical and Social ConstructThe concept of ‘high-pop’ refers to the popularisation of ‘cultured taste’, which in a broad sense may be interpreted as consumer demand for entertainment content that is perceived by consumers to be of higher quality and intellectual appeal (Collins 2002). According to this conception, high-pop necessarily implies dichotomy between mass-produced and consumed content that is generic in form and structure, with content that is perceived to be refined and containing more nuanced appeal by virtue of its idiosyncrasy. High-pop thus represents both an alternative to, and backlash against the popularised mass-produced entertainment content.

While high-pop represents distinction from mass produced media content, it is also a vital component (and in some ways product) of the same driving forces of mass production. Mass production is driven by demand, which in turn is derived from the perceived value of a given thing. The growing significance of high-pop indicates that the concept has relied on mass-marketing and underlying consumer sentiments that represent a ‘back-lash’ against mainstream popularised media content (McQuail 1987). In this sense, high-pop is a function of a historical relationship between perceived ‘elite’ media content and mass produced (and presumedly more accepted) entertainment content (Gurevitch, Bennett, Curran and Woollacott 1982). While the former may have been derided for its sophistication and intellectual barriers, these same characterised became desirable over time through marketing forces. High-pop has thus always been a component of mass culture, though it only recently has it...