Why is pop culture?
We here at CaPC spend a lot of time talking the whos, whats, and hows of pop culture. All of that talk is governed by the when (that is, now…certainly not yesterday), and the where (the West). But we don’t talk a lot about the why.
Murray Jardine, a political science professor at Auburn University, would like to help us with that. In The Making and Unmaking of Technological Society he explores the development of contemporary Western culture, which he describes as a “consumer culture” and a “market society”, and explains why pop culture had come about:
Put simply, if several generations of people diligently practicve the [secularized Protestant] work ethic, the eventual result will be a highly productive society…But then that highly productive society faces a very large problem: putting it crudely, somebody has to buy all that stuff!
…[Then,] as the aesthetic ethos of consumerism relentlessly increases the pace of life in capitalist societies, people must consume more and more services…this consumption includes everything from routine automobile maintenance to clothes. For all its obsession with personal “choice,” consumer culture offers little real choice about consuming; the only way to avoid copious consumption is quite literally to drop out of society.
Jardine compares our understanding of culture, creativity, morality, and freedom with a Biblical perspective that brings a new way of thinking and a new understanding of our place before God.
If you’re interested, you can enter to win one of two copies: Book Giveaway: The Making and Unmaking of Technological Society.