When Big Media Aren’t the Biggest

From the same page of an excellent book called YouTube1, two competing academic definitions of popular culture:

  1. “popular culture is most commonly thought of – often pejoratively – as mass, consumer culture – reality TV, shopping malls, celebrity gossip, the Top 40, and computer games. Under this definition, popular culture is distinct from high culture through its conditions of production and consumption within capitalism, as much as its aesthetics and associated identities.”
  2. “A second way of understanding the ‘culture of the people’ is as authentic, homegrown culture, part of the long traditions of folk culture, distinct from both high culture (the Paris Opera) on the one hand, and mass commercial culture (Paris Hilton) on the other. The residual desire for a contemporary folk culture that underpinned the West Coast counterculture later articulated to technoculture and US individualism to produce the ‘digital utopianism’ (F. Turner 2006) that surfaces repeatedly as part of the DIY ideology of participatory culture, the valorization of amateur and community media, and hopeful ideas about the democratization of production.”

And a deliciously2 ironic image to accompany the post:

Pop Culture in a Can

Pop Culture in a Can

  1. Burgess, J. & Green, J., 2009. YouTube, Malden, MA: Polity Press, p.12. []
  2. see what I did there? []