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Why Is Popular Culture Widely Distributed? Regional differences in more developed countries are much less than in the past -suburban areas from Maine to.

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Presentation on theme: "Why Is Popular Culture Widely Distributed? Regional differences in more developed countries are much less than in the past -suburban areas from Maine to."— Presentation transcript:

1 Why Is Popular Culture Widely Distributed? Regional differences in more developed countries are much less than in the past -suburban areas from Maine to Oregon have similar houses, people wear the same style of clothing, and the same chain delivers pizza Popular Housing Styles (Fig. 4-11) Houses built in U.S. since 1945 reflect in vogue architectural styles

2 Why Is Popular Culture Widely Distributed? Modern House Styles (1945—60) Minimal traditional (mini-Tudor) Ranch Split-level Contemporary style

3 Why Is Popular Culture Widely Distributed? Neo-eclectic House Styles (1960—present): Mansard Neo-Tudor Neo-French Neo-colonial

4 Why Is Popular Culture Widely Distributed? Rapid Diffusion of Clothing Styles: Individual clothing habits reveal how popular culture can be distributed across the landscape with little regard for physical features In MDC’s, clothing habits generally reflect occupations rather than environments -lawyers in California and New York dress alike (suit and tie) (same in most MDCs)

5 Why Is Popular Culture Widely Distributed? Likewise, factory workers across the country also dress the same -jeans

6 Why Is Popular Culture Widely Distributed? Incomes also influence clothing in MDCs -women’s clothing

7 Why Is Popular Culture Widely Distributed? Improved communications have permitted rapid diffusion of clothing styles -clothing created in Paris, Milan, London, and New York -mass manufactured in Asia -sold in chain stores throughout North America and Western Europe New clothing styles can diffuse across Earth in less than six weeks

8 Why Is Popular Culture Widely Distributed? Jeans: a symbol of diffusion of Western popular culture -up through the 1950s, jeans were the symbol of low-status, manual laborers -during the 1960s, jeans became a symbol of youthful independence Denim trousers can be bought for $10 or less, but “genuine” Levi-Strauss jeans are a status symbol and sell from $50--$150 -second-hand jeans in Asia sell for between $500 and $1000 (Japan, Thailand)

9 Why Is Popular Culture Widely Distributed? Communist governments forbade the importation of jeans -was a symbol of capitalism and Western economies -gangs would attack individuals and steal their jeans -sold in the underground market for $400 or more Communist governments were inefficient at producing consumer- oriented goods -since the fall of communism, jeans are now allowed in Moscow -sell for about $50, which is about a week’s wage for an average Russian worker

10 Why Is Popular Culture Widely Distributed? Popular Food Customs: Popular culture is able to flourish when: Sufficient income to acquire popular items Leisure time to make use of these popular items Usually found in MDCs Higher consumption of large quantities of alcoholic beverages and snack foods are found in popular societies -dependent upon high income and national advertising

11 Why Is Popular Culture Widely Distributed? Diffusion of Television: *television is the most popular leisure activity in MDCs *television is the most important mechanism by which knowledge of popular culture is rapidly diffused across Earth U.S. public first saw television in the 1930s During World War II, television broadcasting was suspended In 1945, only 10,000 television receivers in the U.S.

12 Why Is Popular Culture Widely Distributed? By 1949, the number increased to 1 million -1951: 10 million -1959: 50 million (over 75% of all U.S. homes)

13 Why Is Popular Culture Widely Distributed? During the 1950s, only 20 countries were selling television sets -the U.S. had 85% of all TV sets By the early 1960s, 62 countries were selling TV sets -the U.S. still had over 50% By the end of the 1960s, 91 countries (about 229 million total TV sets) -the U.S. had about 33% By the end of the 1990s, 180 countries (about 900 million total TV sets) -the U.S. had about 20%

14 Why Is Popular Culture Widely Distributed? About 30 countries (mostly in the poorest African and Asian nations) have very few TV sets -Afghanistan’s Taliban government made it illegal to watch TV -if caught, 1-to-3 months in prison and confiscation of equipment -if caught viewing a show with sex scenes, 1-to-3 years in prison -usually use DVD players to view smuggled movies from Pakistan

15 Why Is Popular Culture Widely Distributed? Diffusion of the Internet -following a similar pattern of diffusion as television Worldwide Internet Hosts: 213 in ,000 in million in million in 2003 (over 65% in U.S.) Likely to spread to other countries like television did

16 Why Is Popular Culture Widely Distributed? Government Control of Television -television stations are mostly owned by private corporations in Western Hemisphere countries -this pattern not found elsewhere in the world -they sell air time for advertising -they are given licenses from the government to operate at a given frequency -most other governments control TV stations or appoints a board to do so -they minimize showing programs that may be hostile to current policies (censured) -degree of censorship varies by country

17 Why Is Popular Culture Widely Distributed? BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation): -accepts no advertising -obtains revenue from the sale of licenses which are required of all TV receiver owners

18 Why Is Popular Culture Widely Distributed? In the past, people turned on their TVs to watch what the government wanted them to see In 1949, George Orwell wrote the novel “1984” -he predicted that television would play a major role in the ability of a totalitarian government to control people’s daily lives

19 Why Is Popular Culture Widely Distributed? Recently, changing technology (satellite tv) has allowed people to view a wide variety of programs from other countries -in the past, regular tv signals would fade after about 60 miles -this made it easier for government to control Some governments restrict ownership of satellite receivers -China, Singapore, Saudi Arabia-says they are ‘un-Islamic’

20 Why Is Popular Culture Widely Distributed? Despite the threat of heavy fines, these governments have had a difficult time restricting satellite receivers Satellite TV helped to bring down communism in Eastern Europe -people were able to view programs from beyond the government-controlled broadcasting stations Satellite TVs, as well as fax machines, portable video recorders, and cell phones, have all made government censorship more difficult


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