Q:

What is popular American culture?

A:

Quick Answer

Popular American culture, like all popular culture, involves arts, trends and shared discourse that's available through common media and is accessible to a wide number of people, regardless of any privilege offered by social status, education or other specifics. Popular culture includes, but isn't limited to, movies and television programming, popular music and other entertainment, as well as references like cultural memes, jargon, trends and iconic symbolism.

Know More

Full Answer

Popular, or Pop, culture is usually understood as distinct from high culture or avant-garde culture. The latter two commonly imply a level of exposure or learning that grants only certain people access to them, something that's limited as opposed to popular. Popular culture, on the other hand, is that which is readily available and recognizable to the masses. Ashley Crossman at About.com defines it as that "accumulated store of cultural products such as music, art, literature, fashion, dance, film, television and radio that are consumed primarily by non-elite groups such as the working, lower and middle class."

Therefore American popular culture includes everything from reality shows to the latest pulp novel, songs atop the Billboard charts and the movies currently up for Oscar nods. Similarly, it can include slang phrases, celebrity knowledge and references to cult classic films. It can also be public caricatures of politicians or athletes, commercials and cola wars, hot-rods, haircuts, hand gestures and clothing styles. Popular culture is never static and depends greatly on the specific era under study. For example, 1950s popular culture would emphasize greasers, dances like the twist and B-movies about aliens. Alternatively, 1970s popular culture might center on hard rock and disco, the original Star Wars, leisure suits and bell-bottom pants.

Learn more about Cultures & Traditions

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the difference between Mexican and American culture?

    A:

    The differences between Mexican and American culture include family, religion, education, nationalism, personal sensitivity, personal appearance and status. Although Mexico and America share a continent, Mexico is a different country that speaks a different language. Mexico has a different history, which led to the development of a different culture. Mexico has a set of distinct beliefs, expectations and codes of conduct.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What types of social conflict exist in American culture today?

    A:

    In America today, a slew of social issues including police brutality, racial equality, gender inequality, classist and LGBTQ rights challenge millions of people. Many of these problems have been ongoing for decades but are only receiving the awareness they deserve in the 2010s.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why is culture so important?

    A:

    Culture is important for a number of reasons because it influences an individual's life in a variety of ways, including values, views, desires, fears, views and worries. In addition, belonging to a culture provides people with a sense of identity, purpose and belonging.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How does culture spread?

    A:

    Culture spreads via a process anthropologists call cultural diffusion. Simply put, culture spread when two different cultures have close interactions with one another or when one nation conquers another. When the latter happens, it is called forced cultural diffusion.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore