The Mass Media
The mass media has been identified as one means of information dissemination that has a large influence on people’s lives. In that regard, it is important to note that our interaction with this means of information dissemination, i.e. the mass media, informs a big chunk of the popular culture. In this text, I look at the relationship between popular culture and mass media as well as other forms of information dissemination. I also look into the impact of the mass media on enculturation and lastly give a real life example of this impact.
The mass media and popular culture
Denesi (2008) defines popular culture as the beliefs, fads, entertainment, arts as well as values which are in one way or the other shared by a large chunk of the society. Because of the arguably big impact the mass media has on the lives of the various members of the society, it informs a large part of the popular culture in that society. In that line a value, fad or belief whether negative or positive is likely to gain a large following in the society based on its coverage and insistence on the part of the media. This is also the case when it comes to the other forms of information dissemination.
In fact, according to Denesi (2008), most of the popular culture components in the modern world is informed by specific actions of the media as well as other forms of information dissemination. In recent times, popular fads like body piercing amongst others have been influenced in a large way by the mass media as well as other information dissemination forms. It is also important to note that as the media attention towards popular culture fades away, so does the society’s attention towards the same. Similarly, it is possible to predict future values, fads and beliefs based on the actions as well as focus of the media.
Effects of the mass media on enculturation
Storey (2009) defines enculturation as a learning process through which a person identifies with the surrounding culture by learning of its requirements, values as well as adapting to its prescribed code of conduct. The impact of the mass media on enculturation is not hard to see. The media promotes enculturation and soon, one must adapt to the same either consciously or unconsciously so as to fit into the society. One of the real world examples of recent media promotion as well as support of enculturation is the hip hop culture. This artistic culture found itself integrated into the mainstream culture especially the African American segment in the late 70’s.
This with the help of the media as well as other forms of information dissemination became a way of life to thousands of urban young who subscribed to the hip hop culture way of dressing, walking, thinking as well as the various hip hop values (Storey 2009). In urban neighborhoods, those who did not subscribe to the hip hop culture were treated as outcasts and shunned by their peers. In all this, it is fair to say that the media played a gigantic role in populising the hip hop culture both in the urban neighborhoods as well as beyond where it turned out to be a way of life for the youth.
It is important to note that enculturation can either manifest itself unconsciously or consciously. Either way, it plays a big role in molding an individual to be acceptable at the societal level.
Denesi, M. (2008). Popular culture: introductory perspectives. Rowman & Littlefield
Storey, J. (2009). Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction. Longman