Danesi, Marcel. Popular culture: introductory perspectives.
Rowman and Littlefield Publishers. 2012. 1-12. Print.
Marcel Danesi, at first gives a brief introduction into what exactly popular culture is; he associates it with the sudden shift of taste and desires in America along with the liberty to freely express these desires during the 1920’s (also known as the roaring twenties).
The purpose of this opening chapter is to trace the origins and evolutionary tendencies of pop culture, discussing its basic features, its close relation to media technologies, and how it can be approached.
He then goes on to define pop culture. It shows how human culture is not only evolving in terms of biological aspects but also culturally and in its own terms. Anthropologist, Franz Boas, have traced such evolutions and termed it as cultural relativism.
The Polish-born British anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski (1884- 1942) stated “cultures originated to provide methods for solving basic physical and moral problems”. He claimed that cultures across the world, no matter how divergent they might seem, encoded universal concepts of ethics and expressed basic needs, allowing people everywhere to solve life problems in remarkably similar ways. Danesi also goes on to show how popular culture is quaint. Roland Barthes says that pop culture is a “bastard culture” due to is predictability and lack of creativeness.
He then goes on to mention the different levels of culture and how it is placed in society and proves that it is not a “bastard culture” but rather eclectic culture.
However, he mentions that pop culture makes little or no distinction between art and recreation. Although most of its products are designed to have a short shelf-life, some gain permanency as so-called great works of art. Such is the paradox and power of pop culture.