"United by faith, family ties and a desire to succeed, members of this seldom-seen community continue that assimilation today." - Mountain Xpress
Human Geography: Chapter Four
The Pressure to Modernize and Globalize
The Rise and Fall of Pop Culture
Essay Question: What do The Pressure to Modernize and Globalize, Human Geography: Chapter Four, and The Rise and Fall of Pop Culture have to say about how modern popular culture changes an existing community and why?
To many living in America the affects of modern popular culture are so ingrained in everyday life that it is nearly unnoticeable, and how it has changed our way of living has been forgotten by many. Its affects on most communities in America and around the world, however, should not go unnoticed. Through the assimilation and destruction of local and folk cultures, and the attempt to homogenize the ever globalizing world, popular culture has caused rifts between genders, religions, ages and communities. Many still cling to the belief that popular culture is what brings large communities together, and that it is simply the product of cooperation and assimilation between cultures. This is not the case, however, as can be seen through its affects on a individuals and on a community as a whole. Human Geography: Chapter Four shows the methods by which popular culture spreads, as well as how it assimilates local cultures into the norm. The Pressure to Modernize and Globalize shows how the adoption of popular culture over local culture can tear apart communities as well as harm individuals on a personal and psychological level. Finally, the article The Rise and Fall of Pop Culture shows how modern pop culture can divide communities, and no longer serves the purpose by which many believe it does and should.
While it is not new, the way by which popular culture spreads and absorbs new communities, ideas, and traits is one that is very important to understand in order to aid in both why popular culture spreads, and what its affects on the places it spreads to are. According to Human Geography: Chapter Four, popular culture spreads through several different methods, the main of which being cultural appropriation. Cultural appropriation is when one culture absorbs a trait from another and use them for their own benefit. This occurs very often in popular culture, when unique traits from local cultures are absorbed by the larger culture and become a part of the homogenized whole. While it may seem like this is a good thing, as it gives the larger group the ability to connect with the smaller local culture through this adopted aspect, in reality it harms the local culture as it degrades their sense of uniqueness and community. If this appropriation continues long enough, the local culture may lose its identity all together, as all of the cultures traits are adopted into the larger pop culture. This can be seen partially in the culture of inner city minorities through traits such as hip hop. commodification in this capitalist society. Commodification is when an object without any previous economic value begins to be bought, sold, and traded in the world market. While its effects are often disregarded by those who are a member of pop culture, it can actually be very harmful to a local culture's sense of identity. As traits of a culture begin to be commodified, and sometimes even the culture itself, that culture begins to become more and more stereotyped. This causes for the authenticity of a culture to come into question, and all of this can harm a culture's identity as a whole. This is due to the fact that as the traits of a culture are appropriated and commodified, they cause the local culture to be degraded as the community begins to see itself as a part of the popular culture rather than a tight knit group. The time-space compression that has occurred due to advances in modern communication technology have only exasperated this problem, as now ideas can be discovered, appropriated, and commodified in a matter of days through companies such as MTV. This causes local cultures to be assimilated and absorbed at a faster rate than ever before, and causes the people involved in a local culture to lose much of the psychological aid which all people truly require. Hip hop began as a way for the minorities to express their dissatisfaction with their lives and their situation, but quickly became absorbed into popular culture. After being absorbed, much of the unifying aspects that hip hop once held for the urban minorities were lost, as now there are many hip hop artists from many different backgrounds. Another reason why cultural appropriation is harmful is that it inevitably causes
The Pressure to Modernize and Globalize perfectly shows how the absorption of a local culture and the adoption of popular culture through globalization and modernization can destroy both a community and a person's sense of self. This is part in due to what local culture does for a group, as well as what popular culture in its current states simply fails to do. Local culture provides a lot for a person psychologically. It gives a person a sense of self when addressing both into and out of their culture. When looking in, it allows a person to be themselves with the people they know as they are an instrument in defining their own local culture. When looking outward it gives a person the ability to identify and associate with a group of people with which they belong. It gives them a protective circle through which they can look out and both observe and endure the world. In popular culture this cannot be found. What is now called popular culture is so large, and so homogenized, that both of the aspects previously stated are lost. As popular culture aims to homogenize, no person can truly be very different, be truly unique, as to do so would be classified as strange and wrong. Unlike local culture,
The article, The Rise and Fall of Pop Culture, shows exactly why popular culture no longer performs the function for which it was created. Rather than uniting many groups together under a single umbrella, it simply fractures each person from the world even more. This is directly due to the effects which globalization and the internet have had on popular culture. The internet allows for popular culture to grow very rapidly in every direction, from TV to music to games. This is due to the fact that it not only allows for the world to record all previously created forms of art and culture, but then also allows for the rapid communication and collaboration on the creation of new popular culture. Memes are a perfect example of this, as a meme can be found, created, spread, and
All of this information leads to the same conclusion, the spread of popular culture no longer unites but rather divides a population more and more. When it spreads, it undermines the identity of a community, when it is adopted it undermines the identity of an individual, and now it again divides people along niches. What can be done about this is a very different question entirely, as the existence and use of the internet means that popular culture will continue to spread and grow, but what can be said is that our culture needs to find a way to provide for a person psychologically, because as of this moment popular culture does no good.