Studies in the Culture of Capitalism

The author shows how the views of Benjamin appear to offer the opportunity to develop a positive relationship between culture and the means of capitalism and mass production. In Part 3, finally, I argue that global capitalism provides an opportunity for the expression of artistic endeavor and intellectual culture on a mass level. Capitalism, in other words, facilitates the development and the effectiveness of popular culture.

What is popular culture? In this essay, I want to mobilize multiple definitions of culture, which are often associated with different schools of political and philosophical thought. Having said this, it is still necessary to outline a basic theory of culture relevant to this discussion. In what follows, I understand the culture to be both (a) a general process of intellectual, spiritual and aesthetic development. and (b) the production and practices which describe artistic, intellectual, and religious endeavor (Storey 2006, 24-5). Popular culture, specifically, concerns that form of cultural practice and its sum of artifacts that are associated with mass culture. it is culture associated with the massive or the popular classes. This is traditionally associated with the culture of the working class or the masses and is opposed to that which is normally considered ‘high’ culture. What interests me is the way in which culture can be an expression, collective or otherwise, of the intellectual, spiritual, or emotional activity of a popular community.

It is also important to recognize that in this sense of being associated with the masses—and especially the working classes—popular culture is co-extensive with the emergence of capitalism and especially the development of the Industrial Revolution. Not only did the Industrial Revolution, as it was experienced in Europe, create the very notion of the working classes, or indeed the masses by bringing large numbers of peasants and country folk&nbsp.together into the cities. but also created the idea of the masses.&nbsp.