What is Mass Culture?

Meaning of Mass Culture

Mass culture is the product of the so-called Cultural Industry , which consists of all kinds of cultural expressions that are produced to reach the majority of the population.

With the essentially commercial objective, that is, to generate products for consumption.

Following the logic of industrial and financial capitalism , mass culture seeks to standardize and homogenize products, thus being consumed by the majority.

Therefore, everything that belongs to mass culture must follow a predefined pattern for immediate consumption.

Music, movies, dance genres, television series, magazines, cartoons, fashion, gastronomy, etc. The list of elements that the Cultural Industry appropriates and transforms into mass culture is gigantic.

The media (radio, television, newspapers, magazines and, especially, the Internet) are the main allies of the cultural industry for the dissemination of mass culture , helping in the process of cultural homogenization and in the alienation of consumers.

It is worth mentioning that the term “ mass ” is not related, in this case, to social classes , but only to the group formed by the majority of people in a society .

Cultural Industry and Mass Culture

Currently, both expressions can be used interchangeably, since mass culture, like the cultural industry, has the specific objective of reaching the majority of people , ignoring any type of distinction that may exist in society.

Those responsible for creating the term and concept of the Cultural Industry were the German philosophers Theodor Adorno (1903-1969) and Max Horkheimer (1895-1973), founders of the Frankfurt School.

In the definition of the philosophers, Indústria Cultura represented the large media groups that controlled the media and therefore dictated the pattern of consumption , news and other services that “ feed ” and alienate people.

Mass, Popular and Scholarly Culture

Initially, the expression “ mass culture ” was used in the 19th century to distinguish the education that people received from that obtained by elites (erudite culture).

However, with the increasing advent of industrialization and technological modernization , especially in the media, mass culture has acquired the meaning that is currently known.

Classical culture involves all types of production that require further technical elaboration, based on studies and critical analysis of the content.

This type of culture is generally directed towards the social and economic elites, being consumed mainly by intellectuals.

Popular culture , in contrast to scholarly culture, is one that is naturally born of people, and is characterized by manifestations that express the cultural identity of a specific community.

Mass culture can use elements that are particular to popular and scholarly culture, while trivializing and ignoring their original contents.

This is due to the fact that the cultural industry values ​​only what the masses like and has a profitable potential, marginalizing other legitimate cultural manifestations.

Many people confuse, but popular and mass culture are totally different.

The first is the result of people, the cultural identity of a society. The second, on the other hand, is a product of the Cultural Industry.

It is not intended to convey or convey symbolic values, but rather only points to the benefit that can be derived from the consumption of the largest possible number of people.

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