This essay considers the interconnected in popular culture. With globalization and commercialization of culture, every aspect of culture seems to be merged into one single realm. This essay illustrates that despite the commercialization and merging of cultures into a kind of global pop culture, much refreshing diversity remains. The diversity in popular culture makes it exciting and not as bad as people tend to portray it.
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Popular culture is largely commercialized. In the recent years, the hip hop culture has helped frame a form of consumption that is related to achieving a spectacular experience. People want a high of sorts, a glamorous experience and an affluence status. These kind of desire and needs in people have been particularly engineered by marketers. The same marketers relish and sustain such like dispositions through advertisements (Strinati, 2004, p. 224).. In the new way of doing things, mass production and reaction of bigger spectacles has become the major concern. In our world of today, the mega something is, the better it is considered to be. Focus is more on creating an aura than adding real necessity driven value (Harvey, 1989, p. 22).
Commercialization and popular culture has led to many frustrated souls in homes around the world. As advertisements splash mega and voluminous expenditure avenues, people irk more and more for opportunity or avenues to spend and consume as much as others are doing. Appetites for things people do not needs or things that do not add any value save for temporal prestige continue to soar in the populace. Therefore, people continue to work like obsessed beings because of obnoxious expenditures that add no meaningful value to their lives. There is desire in every one to live splendidly in a big way. Modesty and austerity are no longer values as people want to amass more material possessions. Every new cultural line is captured by commercialists and overly utilized as a selling point.
However, it seems that popular culture is not merely negative. Despite the fact that it has been commercialized and everyone seeks to sway the world in a mega way, popular culture is marked by enough diversity that is worthy appreciating and enhancing. A look at the American popular culture for instance, reveals that there are variations or different shades (Guins, 2008, p. 3). Somehow, whenever subculture meet with popular culture, the marks of subculture remain on popular culture. Culture generally develops in space and time i.e. it is contextual in nature. As a mass culture, popular culture represents intertwined but very different cultural symbolism, meanings, values and perspectives (Lipsitz, 1994, p. 29). From the popular culture, there are subcultures that are distinguishable by their distinctive characteristics e.g. the values or interests they champion. An example of a subculture in American pop culture is the African American culture. Although like the American popular culture, African American culture is liberal oriented, it has certain distinctive style and identity marks.
Globalization has led to a global popular culture. However, the global popular culture is highly differentiated. Just as it is the case at a country level, that the American popular culture is informed by say the African American culture, the same is true at the global level. The youth or individuals in different nations or regions in the world meet the popular culture and appropriate it as per their cultural identity or peculiarities. Secondly, different aspects of the global culture appeal more to certain people than other aspects. As a result, some people are influenced more or adopt more to certain subcultures of the popular global culture than others.
In South Africa, for example, South Africans, given they could not learn much from the past, have been able to define themselves by learning as much as possible about African Americans (Dolby, 2001, 8). African Americans like black South Africans were disfranchised and marginalized at some point in history. This makes black South African more inclined towards adapting to the African American way of life than say the white American values or ways of doing. The way of life of African Americans and their identity helped black South Africans rediscover themselves and appreciate their own cultural identity. Therefore, popular culture with its cultural diversity and identities helps towards renegotiation of cultural and identity issues. The renegotiation helps towards individuals moving beyond national identities or cultures to impress more global values and ways of engagement.
South Africans did not take to the African American way of life in totality. They only adapted what could work for them and fleshed that sub culture of the popular culture with elements from their traditional cultures. As a result, although the South African popular culture may have a lot of semblance to the African American subculture of the American pop culture, it has its own rich distinguishing characteristics.
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Conclusively, therefore, despite the interconnectedness of popular culture, the subcultures are vibrant (Lipsitz, 1994, p. 25). Secondly, although popular culture is highly commercialized, individuals do not take to everything that is sold to them. There are elements in the subcultures that they remain attached to due to their lasting appeal. Despite commercialization blurring some aspects of culture, there are elements that remain and can not be washed away or submerged into mainstream culture. These unchanging characteristics of subcultures that are not eroded by popular culture mark the diversity in popular culture (Lipsitz, 1994, p. 34). Despite the cultural sophistication aided by technological advancements, cultural practice remains diverse and rich. Therefore, despite the dehumanizing aspects of the global pop culture e.g. related superficiality, a certain level of cultural diversity remains.