The Audience and Culture

Popular Culture and Mass Culture

Popular culture denotes how culture is ingested, while mass culture describes how culture is created. A culture that is created, promoted, and spread widely is also implied by the term "mass culture." It is a culture that promotes the idea of the citizen as a consumer and reproduces individualistic ideals. A population's exposure to the same media of communication, cultural practices, art, and music creates a population's shared cultural ideals and values, which are the foundation of mass culture. Only when contemporary communications and electronic media are present does mass culture emerge. Furthermore, mass culture is transmitted to the audience rather than emanating from individual’s daily interactions and as a result lacks the distinctive cultures which are rooted in the region or community.

Adorno and Popular Culture

Adorno therefore, advanced a vital procedure to analyze text production and the reception of items in what is referred to as the popular culture. In this case, popular culture refers to thoughts, attitudes, perceptions, descriptions, and different marvels that exist within the mainstream of a particular culture, particularly the western values which existed throughout the twentieth century and the evolving universal convention of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. Mass media heavily sway these beliefs, and such assortment of thoughts pervades the everyday lives of civilization. Some of these collective cultures include sports, news, entertainment, fashion, politics, slang, and technology. Popular culture has an immense way of influencing people’s attitudes towards particular topics. However, popular culture is perceived as dumbed down and trivial when seeking consensual reception throughout the mainstream. For that reason, it comes under heavy criticism from various non-mainstream sources (most notable are the countercultural and religious groups) which consider it shallow, corrupt, sensationalist, and consumerist.

The Culture Industry and Mass Culture

Ardono’s review of mass culture also involved the criticism of the workshop (culture industry) that manufactures mass culture. In this case, culture industry refers to a factory which produces consistent cultural goods (radio programs, films, and magazines) which are used to influence the general humanity into inactiveness. But the intake of easy desires of the prevalent culture which are made accessible by the media of mass communications, leaves individuals passive and contented, despite their economic situations. The intrinsic risk of the culture industry is the cultivation of deceitful emotional desires which can only be fulfilled and achieved by-products of capitalism. As a result, the mass-produced values are seen as risky to the intellectual and theoretically challenging high arts.

The Role of Media Consumers

For a long time, the model of media consumption has wavered between two poles. On the one hand, there have been media consumption models which emphasize culture industries (power of the media) and respectively treat media spectators as comparatively ineffective and passive victims of various types of media effects. In recent years, various approaches which lay more emphasis on media consumption have been developed as active processes which allow spectators to select from a range of available media materials actively and also stay active in how these resources are used in different ways. It is a process which allows the audience to decode and interpret materials which they consume. Such an approach is important and can help reconcile the necessary concerns with different forms of media power and also the recognition that the media consumers or audiences cannot be adequately treated as victims or mere dupes of the media (Morley).

Perceptions of Media Consumption

According to previous studies of media consumption, there is a sequence of indecisions between perceptions which have emphasized on the influence of the message (script) over its consumers. At the same time, there are standpoints which have focused on the obstacles that shield consumers from the possible implications of communication. The main situation is evidently exemplified by the entire belief of implications studies; mobilizing a subcutaneous ideal of media effect. In this case, the media is viewed as the power that introduces their audiences to certain communications which in the long run make them act in a particular manner. As a result, this has incorporated perceptions which see the media as collapsing in customary values while at the same time making their spectators stay inactive in political matters or inhabit some form of fabricated awareness.

Media Influence and Audience Agency

However, there are probing ambiguities at this point. For instance, television is suspect to plummeting its viewers to the position of zombies who constantly eat a diet made up of predigested garbage food that has been stirred by the media and as a result, undergo numbing implications of this sedative and addictive substance. Nonetheless, the TV has been made accountable for instigating this type of state of mind, and of course making people do all sorts of things which they have watched on TV. But this has not been the same in most scenarios because on several occasions; people have the capacity to take the signifiers provided by the culture industry and construct personal signifying systems, communities, and self-senses through various tactics which include poaching, subcultural recording, and taking pleasure in consumption. In this case, it is contended that traditional products are mostly commodities which are fashioned by the culture industry. Though these commodities are purported to be individualistic, autonomous, and diversified, they are conventional, controlling, and highly homogenous. Therefore, culture impresses the same stamp on everything. Radio, films, and magazines make up a system which is constant as a whole in each part.

The Active Role of Consumers

Based on these assumptions, there is an alternative conception for fans (consumers, audience) and readers who apply popular texts and revisit them in a way that serves diverse benefits. These spectators can convert the experience of watching TV into a manifold sharing and rich culture. When watched from this angle, enthusiasts end up being a model of the type of written poaching who are connected to widespread reading. As consumers, these activities pose vital questions regarding the ability of media producers to restrain the fashioning and circulation of meaning. Therefore, consumers are not just audiences with bad taste, but they can also influence producers about what they want to watch or listen (Jenkins 428). On the other hand, fans can also form a subculture which they can use to assess the content that they receive. As such, they can assess what they consume by subculturally looking at whether it fits within theirs. Such an audience is not passive but also plays a huge role in determining what they need.

Works Cited

Jenkins, Henry. "'Get a Life!’ Fans, Poachers, Nomads." The Cult Film Reader (1992): 430-43.

Morley, David. "Theories of consumption in media studies." Frontier Issues in Economic Thought 2 (1997): 262-265.

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