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Culture from the Latin cultura stemming from colere, meaning "to cultivate,") generally refers to patterns of human activity and the symbolic structures that give such activities significance and importance. Cultures can be "understood as systems of symbols and meanings that even their creators contest, that lack fixed boundaries, that are constantly in flux, and that interact and compete with one another" Culture can be defined as all the ways of life including arts, beliefs and institutions of a population that is passed down from generation to generation. Culture has been called "the way of life for an entire society." As such, it includes codes of manners, dress, language, religion, rituals, norms of behavior such as law and morality, and systems of belief as well as the art. Cultural anthropologists most commonly use the term "culture" to refer to the universal human capacity and activities to classify, codify and communicate their experiences materially and symbolically. Scholars have long viewed this capacity as a defining feature of humans (although some primatologists have identified aspects of culture such as learned tool making and use among humankind's closest relatives in the animal kingdom). Culture is manifested in human artifacts and activities such as music, literature, lifestyle, food, painting and sculpture, theater and film. Although some scholars identify culture in terms of consumption and consumer goods (as in high culture, low culture, folk culture, or popular culture), anthropologists understand "culture" to refer not only to consumption goods, but to the general processes which produce such goods and give them meaning, and to the social relationships and practices in which such objects and processes become embedded. For them, culture thus includes art, science, as well as moral systems. Various definitions of culture reflect differing theories for understanding, or criteria for evaluating, human activity. Writing from the perspective of social anthropology in the UK, Tylor in 1874 described culture in the following way: "Culture or civilization, taken in its wide ethnographic sense, is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society."
About Popular Culture Popular culture (or pop culture) is the culture — patterns of human activity and the symbolic structures that give such activities significance and
importance — which are popular, well-liked or common. This is often defined or determined by the mass media. Popular culture is deemed as what is popular within the social context — that of which is most strongly represented by what is perceived to be popularly accepted among society. Otherwise, popular culture is also suggested to be the widespread cultural elements in any given society that are perpetuated through that society's vernacular language or lingua franca. It comprises the daily interactions, needs and desires and cultural 'moments' that make up the everyday lives of the mainstream. It can include any number of practices, including those pertaining to cooking, clothing, consumption, mass media and the many facets of entertainment such as sports and literature. (Compare meme.) Popular culture often contrasts with a more exclusive, even elitist "high culture,", that is, the culture of ruling social groups. The earliest use of "popular" in English was during the fifteenth century in law and politics, meaning "low", "base", "vulgar", and "of the common people" 'til the late eighteenth century by which time it began to mean "widespread" and gain in positive connotation. (Williams 1985) Pop culture finds its expression in the mass circulation of items from areas such as fashion, music, sport and film. The world of pop culture has had a particular influence on art from the early 1960s on, through Pop Art. When modern pop culture began during the early 1950s, it made it harder for adults to participate. Today, most adults, their kids and grandchildren "participate" in pop culture directly or indirectly.
The news media mines the work of scientists and scholars and conveys it to the general public, often emphasizing "factoids" that have inherent appeal or the power to amaze. For instance, giant pandas (a species in remote Chinese woodlands) have become well-known items of popular culture; parasitic worms, though of greater practical importance, have not. Both scholarly facts and news stories get modified through popular transmission, often to the point of outright falsehoods. Hannah Arendt's 1961 essay 'The Crisis in Culture' suggested that a "marketdriven media would lead to the displacement of culture by the dictates of entertainment." Susan Sontag argues that in our culture, the most "...intelligible, persuasive values are [increasingly] drawn from the entertainment industries", which is "undermining of standards of seriousness." As a result, "tepid, the glib, and the senselessly cruel" topics are becoming the norm. Some critics argue that popular culture is “dumbing down”: "...newspapers that once ran foreign news now feature celebrity gossip, pictures of scantily dressed young ladies...television has replaced high-quality drama with gardening, cookery, and other “lifestyle”
programmes...[and] reality TV and asinine soaps," to the point that people are constantly immersed in trivia about celebrity culture. In Rosenberg and White's book Mass Culture, MacDonald argues that “Popular culture is a debased, trivial culture that voids both the deep realities (sex, death, failure, tragedy) and also the simple spontaneous pleasures. . . . The masses, debauched by several generations of this sort of thing, in turn come to demand trivial and comfortable cultural products." Van den Haag argues that "...all mass media in the end alienate people from personal experience and though appearing to offset it, intensify their moral isolation from each other, from reality and from themselves." He argues that mass media then lessens "...people's capacity to experience life itself.” Critics have lamented the replacement of high art and authentic folk culture by tasteless industrialized artifacts produced on a mass scale in order to satisfy the lowest common denominator." This "mass culture emerged after the Second World War and has led to the concentration of mass-culture power in ever larger global media conglomerates." The popular press decreased the amount of news or information that and replaced it with entertainment or titillation that reinforces "... fears, prejudice, scapegoating processes, paranoia, and aggression." Critics of television and film have argued that the quality of TV output has been diluted as stations relentlessly pursue "populism and ratings" by focusing on the "glitzy, the superficial, and the popular." In film, "Hollywood culture and values" are increasingly dominating film production in other countries. Hollywood films have changed from focusing on scriptwriting and dialogue to creating formulaic films which emphasize "...shock-value and superficial thrill[s]" and special effects, with themes that focus on the "...basic instincts of aggression, revenge, violence, [and] greed." The plots "...often seem simplistic, a standardized template taken from the shelf, and dialogue is minimal." The "characters are shallow and unconvincing, the dialogue is also simple, unreal, and badly constructed."
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