What are “Popular Culture Studies”?
Popular Culture Studies have come to consist of those scholarly inquiries which deal with the customs, artifacts, events, myths, language, and the like that are shared by a significant portion of a culture or sub-culture.
Some persons refer to such sharing as “mass mediated.” Whenever one watches TV, attends a football game, reads advertisements, selects a soap or tire or suit, makes grocery lists, takes the kids to Disney World or to a carnival, reads a detective novel, helps select a homecoming queen, or communicates with common gestures, he or she participates in popular culture. When scholars study such a culture, or sub-culture, they may focus on the people who share the attitudes, myths, languages, artifacts, or the like, or they may examine features of the culture, its history, or the phenomenon itself.
Scholars of popular culture find such common–one might even say trivial–matters worth serious study, for they believe these matters reflect the values, convictions, and the patterns of thought and feeling generally dispersed through, and approved by, a significant portion of the culture in which they occur.
They come from a variety of disciplines, though they need not come from academia itself. Within the national and the PCAS regional membership are persons interested in literature, film, television, radio history, ethnic studies, American studies, computer sciences, and some of the natural sciences. They include a wide range of young and bright, older and accomplished–many of national reputation–as well as field professionals, such as architects, artists, and journalists. All share a common interest in the serious study of culture in its popular aspects.