Difference Between Mass Culture And Popular Culture

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Mass and Popular Culture What popular culture and mass culture are, their significance to society and how they are consumed are very multifaceted questions that have been subject to wide debate is the fields of Sociology and Cultural Studies. Many theorists have chimed in on the debate to answer these questions. Two notable theories on this topic are that of Dwight MacDonald in his work “A Theory of Mass Culture” and John Fiske in his work “Popular Culture”. MacDonald argues that mass culture is a phenomenon that is detrimental to society. He believes that although mass culture is something that produced “by and for human beings” that is ultimately is what leads to the loss of individuality and individual thought and expression in favor…show more content…
This is one of the main differences between Fiske’s and MacDonald’s theories, while Fiske believes in the power of the consumer to decide what is popular culture and to decide how to consume it, MacDonald asserts that popular culture and mass culture are something that is force-fed to consumers and forces mass conformity. Although mass culture and popular culture do breed conformity it is very important not to ignore the choice and the power of the consumer. Counter-cultures are great evidence to show that choice. The hippies of the 70’s and the hipsters of today are two well-known examples of counter-cultures formed by people who were exposed to mainstream popular culture and mass culture and chose to deviate from it. Although mass culture and the very peer pressure like influence it has can be very hard to deviate from, but the choice is still there and MacDonald ignores that choice. When faced with the commodity of popular culture we as consumers have the power to deny it as individuals and to change it as a society whether or not we chose to use that power or to even realize we have
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