Popular Culture and Violent Behavior

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Popular Culture and Violent Behavior


In 1871 E.B. Taylor defined culture as 'that complex whole which

includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, customs, and many other

capabilities and habits acquired by...[members] of society.'[1]

Taylor was talking about 'high' culture, an aristocratic view of the

past-times such as ballet, theatre and art. Popular culture, on the

other hand, is a form of 'low' culture and is based primarily on

marketing, mass production and revenue. Low culture is what is sold to

the masses, ergo, low culture equals mass culture. All these terms

refer to popular culture, defined in the Oxford Dictionary of

Sociology as:

'…accessible to everyone. Popular culture is far more widespread than

'high' culture and in the United Statesand in Europe, for example, it

is dominated by television, films and recorded popular music.' [2]

I have chosen to study popular culture and its influence on violent

behaviour, because, as is stated in its definition, popular culture

is, 'accessible to everyone.' These hugely accessible forms of media

influence all of us, everyday, wherever we go. My keen interest in all

of these forms of media immediately drew me to the subject;

television, film and music are major influences not only in my life

but in the lives of teenagers across Western Europe, Australasia,

Developed Asia and the United States of America. Despite this easy

accessibility of popular culture - film, television, music and radio -

to young people, popular culture and adolescence are not mutually

exclusive with the effects and the range of mass media affecting one

in three adults in America....

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[19] Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in AmericaJohn D'Emillo

and Estelle Freedman

[20] Tom Dewe Matthews The Guardian April 4th 1998 in article titled:

Ban it? But we never ban any films in Britain


[22] Genesis 4:8 - 'Later Cain suggested to his brother, Abel, ''Let's

go out into the fields.'' And while they were there, Cain attacked and

killed his brother.' Taken from New Living Translation © Tyndale 1997


[24] Wartella Literature Review

[25] Sociology by Anthony Giddens © 1997 Polity Press Ltd.

[26] Buckingham, ed. Barker and Petley, 1997

[27] Sociology by Anthony Giddens © 1997 Polity Press Ltd.

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