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Popular Culture and Stereotypes

Popular is associated with the culture of the masses, which is free from manipulation and is supposed to be consumed passively. It applies to all those things that people do or have done but are ambiguous and incoherent in who these people are. Popular culture must be characterized in terms of a continuous relationship between mainstream and dominant culture, in terms of both power and antagonism. (Stuart Hall, 1981)

Popular culture (or “pop culture”) typically refers to a specific society’s customs and material culture.

Pop culture in the modern West refers to cultural items such as music, art, literature, fashion, dance, film, cyberculture, television, and radio which are consumed by the majority of the population of a society. Popular culture is certain media forms of mass accessibility and appeal.

Throughout the mid-19th century, the word “popular culture” was coined and applied to people’s cultural practices, as opposed to the “official culture” of the state or ruling classes. It is characterized in qualitative terms in wide use today pop culture is often considered a more superficial or lesser type of artistic expression.

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Popular culture is something left after you have defined what “high culture” is: in this context, pop culture is perceived to be inferior and it serves as a symbol of status and of class. Popular culture is folk culture, something that comes from the people rather than being forced on them: pop culture is organic (created by the people) as opposed to commercial (created by the businesses). Social media the way pop culture is delivered have changed so radically since the turn of the 21st century, that researchers find it hard to decide how they operate.

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As early as 2000, only print (newspapers and books), broadcast (television and radio), and film (movies and documentaries) represented “mass media.” This follows a wide range of social media and types today.

In the Indian Context, the media and industry seek to gain theoretical and material advantages, respectively, by drawing elements of popular culture in their redesign and distribution of different cultural versions. Notwithstanding attempts by the state, media, and the market to establish a homogenous society, popular culture remains a source of disputes and conjunctions.


Stereotypes work by simplifying, by reducing people’s groups to a few attributes that are commonly considered to be recognizable by. To put it another way, a stereotype is a fundamentally reductive way of describing whole populations of people by labeling them with a few main features. Such characteristics are frequently distorted, thus make the entire group to single characteristics. Stereotyping thus reduces, essentializes, naturalizes and ’fixes discrepancies’ and defines the boundaries between the ’usual’ and the ’abjected, ’ ’us’ and ’them’ through the action of ’control.’

Stereotypes and mass media

News, movies and other forms of mass media have tremendous social influence and are a crucial conduit for people to learn about each other, and numerous studies show that these media tend to perpetuate ethnic and racial stereotypes, often with negative results. Usually, ethnic minority communities are marginalized and ignored in various media-news, drama, and gaming. Mass media play a part in forming social identities and intergroup perceptions and distorting the picture that viewers see of various groups by typecasting other groups.

Cite this page

Popular Culture and Stereotypes. (2020, May 06). Retrieved from

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