Learning from Popoular Culture (2)
Chris makes the following point:
"What strikes me about these debates is that the center seems so western and middle class. I don't think the phrase "popular culture" has any meaning at all and by extraction maybe popular culture itself is meaningless."
This is an interesting point. Popular culture as a term is probably too broad and overly general to mean that much. Nevertheless, from a social and societal point of view, the term has become a "category" that is both provocative and a continual part of debates about the direction in which most cultures are headed. India has a strong base of "popular" cultural activity in film, if the measurement for that — millions of viewers — is acceptable. During my recent visit to Shanghai I was amazed at the proliferation of popular cultural artifacts from Western DVDs to local shows on television many of which were built on soap opera principles. The more profound question is whether people are learning from the experiences that they are having. And, this question needs to be at the center of debates about culture in general. There is a superb article by Joel Garreau in the Washington Post on this debate. It was reprinted in The Vancouver Sun, Saturday, July 16, 2005. This is the link to the Post