The mass media is constantly around us, through newspapers and magazines, the internet, television and film etc. these are used by us everyday in our spare time and academic work. So are we influenced by this form of secondary socialisation in our lives to create a ‘mass culture’? And does this ‘mass culture’ debase ‘ordinary culture’? In this essay I will use secondary research and my own opinion to answer this question.
The media itself plays a big part in creating images through the way they report and advertise consumer products and moral panics. I feel that the type of media presentation demonstrated influences different subcultures into believing that what they are seeing is true, hence the change in their attitudes to different topics, music and fashion. Especially young people today can be nai?? ve and believe everything they see or hear on television or the internet, which could cause primary socialisation to change for the children, because of these views.
This ‘mass culture’, I believe could destroy and make an ‘ordinary culture’ into extinction through too much influence of “babble” and consumer products on television. Although you could ask what is ordinary and normal? Normal does not have a clear definition; as no one is completely normal, but ordinary seems to be defined as routine or customary, so an ‘ordinary culture’ is considered the norm way of living. So what is mass culture? An extra- ordinary way people live, or is it a negative perception of some people’s choice of life?
By using the textbook ‘seventh edition Sociology Themes and Perspectives’. I found that the “development of the media was debasing the culture of ordinary people, which could cause problems for western societies”. This comment could back up my opinion of a negative effect of media through a mass culture which could destroy the traditional thoughts and practices of western life. Dwight Macdonald had a theory about mass culture. He claimed that mass culture was very different from high culture and folk art.
He states that mass culture is standardized and a commercial kitsch (popular culture which could be considered worthless) used by business to create a profit. This shows that Macdonald as well as I believe that mass culture is “kitsch”- worthless babble used to sell products, which also influences or “brainwashes” people into believing that anything merchandised is right or “sick” as teenagers of today say. Dwight also stated that mass culture takes ‘less mental effort’ and that it ‘tended to undermine high culture’. So basically he is saying that mass culture is maybe for a different class of person.