Skip to main content

Pop Culture: What puts the 'pop' in popular culture?

Popular culture: the phenomenon when an idea, an image, an attitude goes mainstream. Communal recognition gives pop culture power, but what does pop culture say about the society in which it circulates? Critics deride pop culture as a 'dumbing-down' of concepts, reducing them to their lowest common denominators, while others claim pop culture sublimely reflects collective social consciousness that underpins human civilization. Mass media was essential to the development of pop culture, and has been skillfully deployed by social movements ever since—from newspapers and magazines to blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Our digital age offers potentially vast opportunities to spread ideas, yet personal experiences are frequently fragmented. Can one find meaning in the mainstream? Is the power of popular culture over?

In 2014-15 The Dartmouth Centers Forum examines the role pop culture plays in the social movements of our times.

To find about about programming related to the Pop Culture theme, see the Upcoming Events page.

Last Updated: 10/6/14