Media: Creating Popular Culture
As we have seen in previous chapters, the study of culture has provided a subject area for various disciplines and in recent years new areas of film and television studies have emerged. We have also seen that the cultural-studies approach has combined many of the disciplines mentioned (see Chapters 1 and 2). It has also brought to the fore the study of the mass media and its relationship to other aspects of popular culture. The study of ‘popular culture’ was seen until quite recently, as the study of ‘mass culture’, with the mass media as part of this: in the USA this still tends to be the case (for example, see Caughie, 1986; Gallafent, 1990; and Chapter 6). The whole area is surrounded by theoretical controversy, some of which has been discussed in earlier chapters. The starting-point for the analysis of culture and the media was from the perspective of the study of mass communications and this has been and continues to be dominated by two disciplines — sociology and literary criticism. Although writers in the United States tended to apply a sociological approach and in Europe, especially England, used the tools provided by literary criticism, both these traditions have been dominated by the theory of ‘mass society’ discussed in Chapter 1.
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