What is popular culture and why is it such a big part of life in the UK?

Essay by Fiona9999University, Bachelor'sA-, November 2007

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Popular culture, as an indispensable part of people's life, is becoming an increasingly concerned topic. However, the situation is quite different long time ago. For a long period of time, popular culture was regarded as relatively low one, which was for the poor to enjoy themselves. Since popular culture grew rapidly especially in the 1900s, more and more people began to accept and spread it. Popular culture includes almost every aspect in social life and has a close relationship with mass media. Meanwhile, it is motivated by profit-seeking business, usually liked by young people, and ever-changing. According to Christopher (1999), 1950s is a changing era in every dimensions of UK society, especially for culture. This essay will give the definition of popular culture by examining each of key factors above and explain the reason why it plays a key role in the UK by exploring historical and realistic reasons.

Popular culture could be defined as sets of values, beliefs, trends or modes of symbolic expression readily available to and acknowledged by 'the masses' (McCluskey, 2006).

Popular culture is opposite from high culture which is widely accepted by high class and usually considered of great value and does not attempt to appeal the crowd's attention. On the contrary, popular culture is wildly liked and propagated by the public, with the aim of attracting public's attention and making profits. As Williams (1976) expounded, 'popular means being seen from the point of view of the people rather than from those seeking favour or power over them'. In addition, popular culture is different from folk culture which is more ethnic and traditional while popular culture usually has nothing to do with 'outmoded' and it only deals with what is 'in fashion'.

Popular culture was spread by commercial need. The products from popular culture such...