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The Influence of Popular Culture

The article, “Leadership, Culture, and Social Change,” defines the terms “culture,” “popular,” and “popular culture” respectively. These explanations hold significance as the article uses this terminology to explain the significance of the phrase “popular culture” with respect to societal conflicts and social change. Rather than simply categorizing popular culture as “vulgar entertainment,” the article encourages individuals to recognize its value to society as a whole. Popular culture has the ability to prompt introspection. Moreover, popular culture calls attention to present societal and political issues. The article describes the positive correlation between a work of popular culture’s audience size and influence: the larger the audience, the larger the possible impact. Using Uncle Tom’s Cabin as an example, the article reiterates the negative consequences of writing off popular culture as entertainment; Uncle Tom’s Cabin illustrates the atrocities of slavery and serves as a call to action. The article concludes by revealing “a profound disconnect between what influences us the most and what we identify as influential” (Bezio, 2018).

The quotation above directly relates to a discussion I had in my Theories and Models class last Thursday. Dr. Goethals described a social science experiment that he conducted regarding attitude change and memory. The study found that individuals’ perspectives on a particular social justice issue were altered by their peers. As a result, individuals with changed standpoints were unable to correctly recall their previous opinion on the matter. These findings parallel the aforementioned disconnect as individuals in the study were unable to recognize the influence that their peers had on their perspective. This evident disconnect reveals that individuals in our society must begin to recognize what impacts us the most; specifically, starting to recognize popular culture and our peers as influencing agents.

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3 Comments

  1. Katherine Fell Katherine Fell

    The connection that you made to Theories and Models really illustrates how truly powerful a work of pop culture can be. It makes me think about the incredibly polarizing reception that “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” experienced when it was firth published in the nineteenth century. Possibly one of the reasons why the novel was so polarizing was because people were so easily swayed by their peers who were able reading the book at the time.

  2. David Ataide David Ataide

    I really liked your connection between the reaction to Uncle Toms Cabin and modern popular culture. After reading what you said about writing off popular culture as entertainment, it made me think about several instances where people ignored “call to action” messages in modern media and simply regarded it as entertaining. Unfortunately it happens more often as popular culture becomes more mainstream.

  3. Nicolette Romley Nicolette Romley

    I liked the quote that you highlighted that discussed the difference between what actually influences us as a society and what people think should influence us as a society. People often look down at pop culture, not fully being able to understand what pop culture is. While pop culture can refer to The Kardashians, it can also refer to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a work that most people would not initially identify as pop culture.

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