The culture of a society. In 1850, this referred to those arts and entertainments staged as representative by the wealthy and educated upper classes. Mass culture has since taken over this role. It embodies a common culture in which all participate; it is truly representative of the post-bourgeois industrial society.Masse's essay pursues the course of this historical inversion. The rise of mass arts and popular entertainment was intimately related to the conflicts and perils encountered in the development of modern mass society. Democratization and the reduction of privileges for the elite were at issue if the masses - whom th bourgeoisie considered coarse and uneducated - were to be included as eqals in political and cultural matters. Resistance to a pluralistic modernity and the threat of seduction by demagogic poplulism also figured prominently. Mass culture served deception and self-deception; it made accommodation more palatable and hinted at utopias. A culture industry constantly pushing its boundaries sought to bind its audience to its standards, while relentless artists and consumers consistently produced the enexpected.Mass entertainment from films to spectator sports, from dacne to popular excursions, were suspected for decades of threatening work ethics and moras - the very foundations of society. But on the "home fronts" of the Second World War, mass culture proved itself indispensable for stoking an achievement-oriented society. This development is examined in Germany, England and France. Its common features and propensity to absorb outside influence show that from its inception, mass culture has been an international phenomenon.
About Kaspar Maase
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