Assess the effects of the mass media on popular culture (33 marks)



Popular culture is the concept that activties which were previously seen as the perogative of the upper classes are now accessible to all. This has been caused by the growth of mass media. It could be argued that there are benefits to the spread of popular culture via mass media, such as the creation of a more diverse and enriched society. However, it appears that it is often overshadowed by the dominance of Capitalist values of greed and consumerism.

Some sociologicla perspectives, such as the Pluralists and Postmodernists, argue that the mass media has had a positive impact on popular culture. In the last 150 years, high  culture, which was seen as remote and elitist, has not been popularised via different media forms, such as TV and cinerma. The impact of this upon society has helped to narrow the gap between the different classses. Through this change, the Proletariat, who previously could not afford to watch an opera, have now got the opportunity to appreciate fine art. Gans supports this idea by arguing unprecedented cultural choices are available to people, due to mass media. Recent government policy made the decision to introduce free entry to many museams and art galleries, in the hope of encouraging the masses to appreciate high culture. This has helped to increase public awareness of culture which was previously elitist. Some sociologists argue that the Uses and Gratifications Model suggests that if all classes are demanding access to high culture, the mass media will be forced to accept this views. Recent documentaries on different cultures, such as…


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