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popular culture

Definition of Popular Culture

(noun) Widely accessible and commonly shared aspects of culture (e.g., books, movies, TV shows) consumed by all classes (the masses), but typically associated with lower and middle classes.

Popular Culture Pronunciation

  • IPA Pronunciation
    • American English
      • /ˈpɑpjələr ˈkəltʃər/
    • British English
      • /ˈpɒpjᵿlə ˈkʌltʃə/
  • Syllabification: (pop·u·lar cul·ture)

Usage Notes

  • Plural: popular cultures
  • Popular culture is not always low culture.
  • A type of culture.
  • Variant spellings:
    • popular-culture
    • pop culture (pop-culture).
  • Also called mass culture.

Additional Information

Related Terms


Works Consulted

Andersen, Margaret L., and Howard Francis Taylor. 2011. Sociology: The Essentials. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

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Stolley, Kathy S. 2005. The Basics of Sociology. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Thorpe, Christopher, Chris Yuill, Mitchell Hobbs, Sarah Tomley, and Marcus Weeks. 2015. The Sociology Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained. London: Dorling Kindersley.

Turner, Bryan S., ed. 2006. The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).

Cite the Definition of Popular Culture

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “popular culture.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved August 26, 2019 (https://sociologydictionary.org/popular-culture/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

popular culture. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/popular-culture/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “popular culture.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed August 26, 2019. https://sociologydictionary.org/popular-culture/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“popular culture.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 26 Aug. 2019. <https://sociologydictionary.org/popular-culture/>.