Culture is a complicated and pervasive phenomenon, taking many forms. In the contemporary era, culture has become increasingly mediated. British popular culture does not only comprise of popular music and street fashions, it also involves TV drama, sport (such as football), clubbing and nightlife cultures, gardening, DIY, TV comedy and popular British holidays and festivals (McCluskey, 2006). The purpose of this essay is to illuminate the great significance of popular culture from different areas in the UK and to prove that popular culture is such a big part of life in the UK through recapping the history and embodiment of popular culture.
The main forms of popular culture The popular culture has the different manifestation. Miller and McHoul (1998:5) discuss the idea of two common definitions. One is the artistic output, defined and valued by aesthetic criteria and emerging from a community of creative people. The other takes culture to be an all-encompassing concept about how the lives carry on, the senses of place and person that make people human. In the past, popular culture may be just defined as mass popular. That means class distinctions become less important in early time, the common forms had live performance including speaking, singing, dancing, etc.
Storey (2003:37) reports that opera was established as a widely available form of popular entertainment consumed by people of all social classes. Nowadays, although the traditional form still influence people’s daily live, there are new cultural forms emerging day by day. The invention of popular culture as mass culture was in part a response to middle-class fears engendered by industrialization, urbanization, and the development of urban-industrial working class (Storey, 2003:16). The media is the important form of popular culture.
People obtain the basic information from TV, magazines; even Internet becomes the main way which can express the popular culture. This unending search broke down barriers between various industries and created a popular culture that, while rooted firmly in the past, was also identifiably modern(Horrall, 2001:5). History of popular culture in the UK The first industrial revolution occurred in Great Britain from the mid 18th century to the mid 19th century. It made a lot working population moves from the countryside to find employment in large factories in urban area.
When the people gathered together in the same place to work for life, the folk culture had been taken shape. It was the initiate popular culture. Strinati (2004:10) claims that industrialization and urbanization gave rise to an atomized and anonymous mass ripe for manipulation, a mass market for the mass media best catered for by mass culture. Around First World War, Horrall (2001) considers that the idioms and performances were most appealing to the greatest number of Londoners, the phenomena was not immune to these forces. That is to say, London had been become the culture centre at that time.
Food, sports, culture devices were all developing quickly. London’s importance as a popular culture centre and the impact of up-to-date music hall can be ganged in part by examining First World War popular culture. Strinati (2004, quoted in Benjamin: 1973) suggests that the very fact that culture came to be almost infinitely reproducible due to the development of techniques of industrial production posed considerable problems for traditional ideas about the role of culture and art in society. The embodiment of popular culture in modern time.