Definations of Popular Culture

According to Storey (2001), “popular culture” has six definitions.

The first definition denotes an inferior culture comprising of mass-produced commercial products. Products for the “high culture” are however sophisticated that it appeals to an exclusive few. However, the distinction between “popular culture” and “high culture” is unclear. For example, schools now teach Shakespeare as a subject but in the late 19 century, Shakespeare was part of popular theater. Hall in Storey argued that institutions like the educational system is influential in determining if a product is for the “popular culture” or “high culture”.

The second definition denotes a widely-liked culture. Two problems exist with this definition. Firstly the definition must contain a quantitative bracket which “widely-liked” does not have. Secondly, as a product is widely liked, it must also include members from the minority elite and this raises the question if a widely-culture is actually that of the popular culture.

The third definition equates “popular culture” with “mass culture”. There are several   critiques of this definition. The first group argues that mass-produced products do not demand sophisticated discrimination from its users. But if this were true, then all albums and movies would be successful. The second group presents “popular culture” as “dream world”  
wherein people fulfill their collective but suppressed wishes. For example, Christmas enable people to feel surprised through the exchanging of gifts. The third group asserts that popular culture is an imported American culture. For many Brits in 1950s, American culture emancipated them from the ambiguity of British cultures.

The fourth definition argues that the “people” created popular culture as a symbolic protest against modern capitalism. However, the constituents of the “people” remains unspecified. The approach also avoids the commerciality of resources, a capitalistic   feature, necessary to produce that...