Sociology Index


Fashion Culture, Consumer Culture, Counterculture

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. Mass culture tends to reproduce the liberal values of individualism and to foster a view of the citizen as consumer. Theodor Adorno was among the radical critics of mass culture.

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. 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. Adorno’s extended conception of cultural industries renders the usual criticism of his views as ‘elitist’ meaningless.

Along with Max Horkheimer, Adorno developed in Dialectics of Enlightenment (1947) the first critical theory which discerned the crucial role 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)
The discourse surrounding bohemianism was one of authenticity versus the falseness and commercialization of mass culture. 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 Vincent.

Adorno and Mass Culture: Autonomous Art Against the Culture Industry 
György Markus, University of Sydney - Thesis Eleven, Vol. 86, No. 1, 67-89 (2006)
Theodor Adornos' extended conception of cultural industry renders the usual criticism of his views as elitist and meaningless.

Soviet Sport and Transnational Mass Culture in the 1930s - Barbara Keys.
The Soviet Union initially chose not to participate in an international system of competitive sport which developed into interwar period's most potent carriers of transnational mass culture. The Soviet regime attempted to create an alternative international system of proletarian sport that eschewed record-seeking and individualism.

Terminators, Monkeys and Mass Culture: The carnival of time in science fiction films 
Angela Dimitrakaki, Miltos Tsiantis, Time & Society, Vol. 11, No. 2-3, 209-231 (2002).
The time travel motif can be understood in terms of an oppositional cultural narrative running counter to dominant forms of temporality within capitalism. Our argument challenges the views which dismiss mass culture as merely escapist.

Effective Democracy, Mass Culture, and the Quality of Elites: The Human Development Perspective - Christian Welzel - International University Bremen, School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Low corruption and high female representation are two characteristics of elite quality and help make "formal" democracy increasingly "effective."

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).
This article sheds a different light on the nature of hybrid culture. It argues that such culture is the by-product of cultural imperialism. The article concentrates on the dichotomy between native Canadian and Anglo-American Canadian mass culture. The article also adopts Minh-Ha's claim that a First World and a Third World can exist in the same country.

Boris Dubin, Russian Centre for Public Opinion and Market Research.
Mass culture possesses its own idea of what constitutes an individual. Thick literary magazines and newspapers with a similar profile have actively criticized mass culture. In Russia today, mass culture is rejected by social groups who are losing their authority and dominant position as the carriers of culture.