There are
a various way to define popular culture. What people understand about popular
culture is the widespread culture elements in society. For example, fashion, food,
music and more. The question is, what are the definitions of popular culture
coined by scholars? The word “popular” is the contemporary context of people’s
concern and culture is the practice of everyday life. The basis for all
societies of popular culture provides shared experiences and creates the social
solidarity (cited in Fedorak, 2009: p.3). The common definition of popular
culture is widely favoured or well-liked
by many people (Storey, 2009:p.5). It examines the numbers such as a number of
viewers, sales of CDs (ibid). It can also be examined by the attendance records
of festivals, events, concerts and more (ibid). Popular culture can be
communicated in many ways, but most often it is the perpetuated through mass
media like television, radio, movies, and books that make it become popular
(Forbes and Mahan, 2017: p.3). There are more aspects of popular culture to
discuss such as hegemony, postmodernism, and
low culture. The exercise leads to the
exercise of intellectual and moral leadership does not merely rule a society
but it refer the concept of hegemony used by Gramsci (2009)which  a condition of process in a dominant class
that alliance with other classes or class fractions (cited in Storey,2009: p.80)
Popular culture can also be defined as postmodernism. Postmodern not only implies the knowledge of the modern that been
surpassed by a new age, it also refuses
the sense of modernism (Appignanesi et al., 2004). Reinterpretation of gender
roles and the differences traditionally applied to postmodernism which is a
perspective that tends to reject many of the accepted values of modernism (UK
Essay, 2017). However it in detail, to understand folk culture and mass culture will be discussed in this essay.

Firstly, popular culture can be defined
as folk culture which “can be seen as
a structure comprised of various organizational entitles (Borsos, 2017: p.13).”Folk”
is the strata that stand in a very effective complementary relationship to
various social formations and their special conditions. It should be looked
upon as a socially differentiated mass of the working classes (Jacobeit, 1991:
p.68). According to Jacobeit (1991), the peasant strata, artisans, land-poor or
landless plebeian groupings, proletarian strata, workers, and petit bourgeois,
among others are thus made up from “folk”.

Folk culture is similar to popular
culture because both involve mass
participation. Folk culture is much more static than popular culture and not as
amenable to change as it represents the traditional way of doing things
(Delaney and Madigan, 2016:p.2). Folk music, folk art, folk tales, folk dance,
folk costumes, local humor, oral literature and history, and superstitions
consist as the traditional cultural expression of the public in folk culture
(Martin and Steuter,2010:p.60).The oral communications are roughly limited to
the immediate family, community or other local regional groups because folk
culture is often transmitted orally and informally such as family recipes,
local legend, and regional marriage customs, and it only has a limited audience
(Forbes and Mahan, 2017: p.3). According to Covington (2008), folk culture was the little changes that passed
down through generations. For example, Chinese cannot sweep the floor during
Chinese New Year because according to their traditions, sweeping the floor
during Chinese New Year means sweeping away wealth. This shows that folk
culture is practiced by a large number of people and ultimately becomes part of
popular culture. Popular culture is also considered the broad way of people’s
lives that has existed since the most primitive times (Forbes and Mahan, 2017:
p.4). For example, people dance during festivals or parties as entertainment in
the past and present. Folk and popular culture are sometimes merged and hard to
differentiate in earlier time periods (ibid).

 Folk culture is a heritage from the past and is
preserved by the society through different events or daily living. Folk culture
includes folk costumes worn during festivals. During the Soviet era, folk
costumes were the symbols of national pride, and now, Estonians will only wear
their traditional outfits during special occasions such as national holidays,
graduations and cultural festivals (Visit Estonia, 2017). Folk outfits can be ordered
specially from craftsmen, but are costly and take months to prepare. Some
people still make the pieces themselves and handicraft courses are, but this is
a long process requiring skill and patience. Furthermore, it is also decided by
the intellectual to keep or to change the folk culture. “Folklore” or
“folk song” are recognized by the collector of such materials as a
sign of society to be examined in making up the ideal type of what we concerned
about because it was not completely independent of cities (Redfield, 2013).

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Besides that, popular culture can also
be defined as mass culture. According to Strinati (2004:p.11), mass culture
refers to popular culture which is marketed for profit to a mass public of
consumers and produced by the industrial techniques of mass production. The
evolving of technology made possible the cheap production of books, music,
pictures and more. To satisfy the market that found a profitable market in the
cultural demands of newly awakened masses by the business enterprise sufficient
quantities were ensured (MacDonald, 1953).

Mass culture is also known as a common
culture experienced by a large number of people. For example, Korean popular
culture (K-Pop) as known as the Korean Wave in Asia, includes Korean pop music,
dramas, movies and more. The Korean Wave enjoys a broad popularity outside of
Korea that spread primarily through the mass media (UK Essay, 2013). To appeal
to specific demographic categories, mass culture has come into wide use as a
term to devaluate the value of
commercially marketed arts and entertainment (Kurt & Gladys, 2009). Media
managers are paying little attention to people’s vital needs or capacities for
development but inclined to be conscious of their audiences as a statistical
mass (ibid).For example, the trend for teenagers now is the K-Pop Music, more companies
that are training more idols are emerging. Similar to folk culture, the
authenticity of its product that has to be produced by the integrated community
which knows what it is doing can be guaranteed (Strinati, 2004, p.11). The
culture of the masses is the most common,
general and the culture that shared by most people most of the time.

In the well-known essay by Dwight
MacDonald, “A Theory of Mass Culture” said that the folk art, high
art, and popular art can define themselves that the mass art serves both as a
threat and as a kind of foil (cited in Naremore, 1991). Folk art is a creative
skill that is made by an individual to convey their own cultural identity;
while mass culture conveys the community culture through modern communication
and shares it with individuals.

Besides that, mass culture has been
Americanized because the American culture has been spread out to all around the
world. For example, prom night is originally a western practice but now in
Asia, prom night is one of the celebrations for the student especially for high
school graduates, because it is a kind of a farewell
for them. Furthermore, prom is also now a sign for the youth as growing up as
an adult.  The construction of prom is an
important cultural event relies upon dominant definitions of adolescence as a
distinct stage in the life course (Best, 2013). Prom has made a wider culture
of not only adults but students.

In conclusion, popular culture is one of
the important parts of a community. The word “popular culture” has
largely replaced the culture from the past. Popular culture is our lifestyle.
Denesi (2012) points out that all the corners of American society and to other
parts of the world was spread by popular culture by the1930s. Since the Roaring
Twenties, popular culture has been the primary driving force behind social
evolution. The ongoing relationship between art, entertainment, aesthetics and
true culture are triggering an unprecedented society-wide and worldwide debate at
the same time (ibid).There are more way
to explain what popular culture really means. Through the different way, people
can get to know more about popular culture.


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