Mass culture refers to how culture gets produced, whereas popular culture refers to how culture gets consumed. Mass
culture is culture which is mass produced, distributed, and marketed.
"Mass Culture" is a set of cultural values and
ideas that arise from common exposure of a population to the same cultural activities,
communications media, music and art, etc. Mass culture becomes possible only with
modern communications and electronic media.
A mass culture is transmitted to individuals, rather than
arising from people's daily interactions, and therefore lacks the distinctive content of
cultures rooted in community and region.
Mass culture tends to reproduce the liberal value of
individualism and to foster a view of the citizen as consumer.
Adorno was among the radical critics of mass culture.
Adorno developed a critical methodology to analyze the production, texts, and reception of
the artifacts of what became known as "popular culture," thus anticipating the
approach of later forms of "cultural
studies." Adornos extended conception of culture industry renders the usual criticism of
his views as elitist meaningless.
Along with Max Horkheimer, Adorno developed in Dialectic of
Enlightenment (1947) the first critical theory which discerned the crucial roles of mass
culture and communication in contemporary capitalist societies.
In modern Russia, mass culture is diffused through and by
mass-media, especially television foreign models and patterns predominate. The values and
models of behavior disseminated by the mass media in Russia are those of success, family,
human emotions, solidarity in the struggle against obstacles, romance.
The Bohemianization of Mass Culture -
Elizabeth Wilson, University of North London, UK
International Journal of Cultural Studies, Vol. 2, No. 1, 11-32 (1999)
This article charts the development of the idea of 'bohemia' and the 'bohemian' from its
emergence in the 1830s to the present day. I suggest that whereas the discourse
surrounding bohemianism was one of authenticity versus the falseness and commercialization
of mass culture, the figure of the bohemian was always discursively produced in popular
culture from Henry Murger onwards, bohemians becoming the subject matter of numerous salon
paintings, popular fiction, films and journalism. It is further argued that far from being
extinct, bohemian values of expressiveness, sexual experimentation, radicalism and an
aesthetic approach to life have become the mainstay of mass culture. This raises the
question of whether the contested divide between 'High Art' and 'Mass Culture', much
debated within cultural studies since the 1970s, is still as salient as we assume.
Meaning and Mass Culture: The Search for a New Literacy - Tim
Journal of Communication Inquiry, Vol. 23, No. 2, 152-162 (1999) © 1999 SAGE Publications
The present mass culture can be characterized by its resistance to meaning or, perhaps
more accurately, its resistance to a clear separation between information and meaning. A
central goal of literacy education will be to develop minds that can create meaning, not
merely become more proficient at processing received information. Faced with the trend
toward corporate takeover of culturebegun in earnest in the 1930s and reaching
global proportions todaywhere can educators turn for help in the search for a new
literacy that can begin to address the struggle for control of culture that will be a
central issue for democratic societies in the years ahead?
Adorno and Mass Culture: Autonomous Art Against the Culture Industry
György Markus, University of Sydney - Thesis Eleven, Vol. 86, No. 1, 67-89 (2006)
Adornos extended conception of culture industry renders the usual
criticism of his views as elitist meaningless. The same expansion creates,
however, logical strains and contradictions in his analysis of the character and function
of the culture industry: a strain in its psychosocial and status
compulsion interpretation. In his late work Adorno attempts to solve this
contradiction, but at a heavy price, by creating a conceptual barrier between pleasure and
Soviet Sport and Transnational Mass Culture in the 1930s
Barbara Keys, Woodrow Wilson International Center's Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian
Studies in Washington DC.
Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 38, No. 3, 413-434 (2003) © 2003 SAGE Publications
As an international system of competitive, achievement-oriented sport developed into one
of the interwar period's most potent carriers of transnational mass culture, the Soviet
Union initially chose not to participate. Ideologically hostile toward capitalist
internationalism and suspicious of international cultural influences, the Soviet regime
instead attempted to create an alternative international system of `proletarian sport'
that eschewed record-seeking and individualism. In the 1930s, however, the political
benefits of participation in `capitalist' sport (including the opportunity to influence
foreign public opinion and to project images of national power) drew the Soviet Union into
Terminators, Monkeys and Mass Culture: The carnival of time in science fiction
Angela Dimitrakaki, University of Southampton, UK
Miltos Tsiantis, University of Oxford, UK
Time & Society, Vol. 11, No. 2-3, 209-231 (2002)
Our contention is that the current fascination with the time travel motif can be
understood in terms of an oppositional cultural narrative running counter to dominant
forms of temporality within capitalism. Such a reading allows us to negotiate the wide
(mass) appeal of films based on the time travel motif without resorting to the primal
scene fantasy. Our argument challenges the views which dismiss mass culture as merely
escapist. Specifically, we argue that the potentially subversive element of time travel
films lies precisely in a particular conceptualization and experience of time and history
as cyclical and in flux. This understanding of time is antithetical to the temporalities
generated within late capitalist societies where time emerges as both linear and
fragmented. Through the reading of films such as 12 Monkeys, Terminator and others we
attempt to show that time in this context entails a possibility of intervention in history
(both personal and social) and is presented as non-linear and non-teleological.
Effective Democracy, Mass Culture, and the Quality of Elites: The Human
Development Perspective - Christian Welzel
International University Bremen (IUB), School of Humanities and Social Sciences, P.O. Box
750 561, D - 22725 Bremen, Germany - International Journal of Comparative Sociology,
Vol. 43, No. 3-5, (2002)
This article demonstrates that low corruption and high female representation are two
characteristics of elite quality that go closely together and help make "formal"
democracy increasingly "effective." However, the quality of elites is not an
inherently independent phenomenon but is shaped by a pervasive mass factor: rising
self-expression values that shift cultural norms toward greater emphasis on responsive and
inclusive elites. Self-expression values, in turn, tend to be strengthened by growing
human resources among the masses. Considered in a comprehensive perspective, these various
components are linked through the emancipative logic of Human Development: (1) human
resources, (2) self-expression values, (3) elite quality, and (4) effective democracy all
contribute to widen the scope of human autonomy and choice in several aspects of
peoples lives, including their means and skills, their norms and values, as well as
their institutions and rights.
Cultural Preservation Reconsidered: The case of Canadian aboriginal art
B.R. Sharma, Singapore Polytechnic College, Singapore
Critique of Anthropology, Vol. 19, No. 1, 53-61 (1999)
Hybrid art forms are emerging more than ever now that advances in global communication
link the world's societies. James Clifford, Trinh T. Minh-Ha, Valerie Dominguez and other
eminent scholars champion such hybrid culture. They argue that it leads to greater
acceptance of others and otherness, and destroys notions of 'others' as aesthetically
unsophisticated. While there is merit in such claims, this article sheds a different light
on the nature of hybrid culture. It argues that in some instances, such culture is the
by-product of cultural imperialism - first-world socio-economic and cultural policies
imposed on 'Second' and 'Third World' communities. The article concentrates on the
dichotomy between native Canadian and Anglo-American Canadian mass culture and adopts
Minh-Ha's claim that a First World and a Third World can exist in the same country.
INTELLIGENZIA BETWEEN CLASSIC AND MASS CULTURE
Boris Dubin, Russian Centre for Public Opinion and Market Research
During the latest years the so-called thick literary magazines and newspapers with a
similar profile have actively criticized mass culture . At the same time, one can hear
calls about the necessity of keeping intact the legacy of high culture, as represented by
the Bolshoi Theater and the Russian Museum. These tendencies represent the result of
long-term social and cultural processes.
In modern Russia, mass culture is diffused through and by mass-media, especially
television foreign models and patterns predominate. The values and models of behavior
disseminated by the mass media in Russia are those of success, family, human emotions,
solidarity in the struggle against obstacles, romance. These ideas are conditioned by the
notions of a stable society, the importance of the here and now, the gratification
Mass culture, especially its foreign patterns, possesses its own idea of what constitutes
an individual. This is a person who is ready to live and behave "like everybody
else" and who also distinguishes himself from socially contiguous minority and
resists alien mass culture, though not because he values or has access to high culture,
but rather, because he needs to affirm his own self and establish himself within the
framework of the prevalent, normative behavior.
In todays Russia, mass culture is rejected by social groups who, in the process of
disintegration of the Soviet system, are losing their authority and dominant position as
the carriers of culture. Their claim is that mass culture is of low quality, that its
significance is limited merely to entertaining, that it is not serious, that exposure to
it makes people torpid and leads society to degradation, that its basis is the power of
money, a Western notion, alien to the Russian culture.
Bernard Rosenberg and David Manning White (1957) editors,
Mass Culture (Glencoe, Ill. The Free Press.)
Meaning of Mass Culture and Bohemianization of Mass Culture