What is popular culture?

Popular culture is simply culture, which is popular … right? However, this statement is a bit superficial because I have not defined popular or cultural. Both are very difficult to define as they seem to require a theme, and they seem to change their meaning depending on the context in which they are used.

Something that is popular in Uganda for a Canadian would have been referred to as part of the culture of Uganda, however, for someone in Uganda it seems quite accurate to call what is popular with popular popular culture. I think the term popular culture is a bit shallow in the sense that every culture should be examined on an equal footing, wet from that culture being two thousand or two dozen. It is what is common among cultures, in my opinion, that is of real importance.

For example, why do humans around the world mutilate their bodies (piercing, tattoos, etc.)? Body mutilation is a very popular thing for humans, but we don’t do it simply because it’s popular … in at least not all of us. I would say that the true heart of these trends must come from something more universal or we would not see trends that transcend cultures that have not had contact with each other. However, this type of study could belong to the subject of anthropology or simply to cultural studies. A more accurate name for what is generally known as “Pop-ular Culture” would have a mass-produced culture, which would not sound as good.

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