Popular Culture Glossary G - P

Genre The common term given to a particular type or group of paintings, books, films or musk, distinguished from others by their specific style or content: eg Western films.

Gospel music A style of sacred singing which developed in the Protestant churches of black America; the main song is often freely improvised, and accompanied by a chorus of chanting and clapping.

Haute couture High-quality fashion; the clothes designed and made by couturiers.

Hedonism The doctrine that pleasure is the sole and the proper aim of human action.

High-tech A movement in architecture and interior design dating from the 1970s, which employs industrial objects and imagery.

Hillbilly music The traditional songs (largely of European origin) of rural communities in the southern United States; first recorded in the 1920s, usually to the accompaniment of a banjo, fiddle or guitar.

Hippy Colorfully dressed in flowing ethnic styles, this anti-establishment group in 1960s society succeeded the beatniks as rebels against middle-class values.

Icon Originally a religious image to be revered, now used to refer to an established and immediately recognizable image to which considerable cultural or symbolic weight is attached: eg to refer to John Wayne as "Icon of American masculinity".

Iconography A system of grouping of conventional visual signals by which audiences identify the genre, period or other classification to which an object in popular culture belongs: eg the clothes and settings specific to the Western film.

Ideology The system of beliefs, perceptions and feelings in a particular culture, much of it so deeply ingrained in the forms, structures and myths of that culture that people regard it as common sense.

Jazz Any of the various 2Oth-century styles of rhythmical, syncopated musk, mainly instrumental and often improvised; the black American musicians of New Orleans are usually credited with its origination. See also bebop, boogie-woogie, ragtime, rhythm & blues, swing.

Jazz age The decade between the end of World War i and the Wall Street Crash of 1929.

Kitsch A German term for "vulgar trash"; something considered blatanHy slick, pretentious or sentimental.

Leisure Time spent not working, and the activities that occupy that time.

Lifestyle The way a person or a group chooses to live, expressed in opinions, behavior, home environment, and so on.

Market economy One in which resources are allocated according to supply and demand, uncontrolled by government regulation.

Mainstream The dominant or chief trend of opinion in society.

Mass media Communication systems such as radio, television and newspapers, which reach large numbers of people.

Materialism Devotion to the acquisition of material possessions, in preference to inner fulfilment.

Media The different technological means of communication: the printed word, mechanical and electronic forms of reproduction.

Melodrama A form of dramatic production which exaggerates emotions, particularly those concerned with romance. The dominant mode of most popular fiction, including Hollywood's.

Merchandising The particular selling techniques brought to bear in advertising and marketing a product.

Mersey beat Musical style combining elements of folk music and rock 'n' roll; it originated in the late 1950s in the northern English port of Liverpool and its most famous exponents were the Beatles.

Modernism A movement across art-forms beginning in the late 19th century, which rejected traditional assumptions of order and value in favor of doubt, relativism, and a self-conscious concern with the formal organization of the artwork.

Monopoly The exclusive control or possession of something;the effective domination of a market or trade.

Myth A story that a culture tells to account for a contradiction at the centre of its existence; the Western myth, for instance, tells the story of the bringing of "civilization" to America through the extermination of its indigenous peoples.

Narcissism The excessive (and often anxious) concern with self, to the exclusion of the social; believed by many to be a particular malady of Western society ("the Me generation") in the later 20th century.

Neo-realism An Italian film movement of the 1940s and early 1950s characterized by realistic, almost documentary-like, portrayal of contemporary social problems.

Network In radio or television, a group of affiliated broadcasting stations.

New Look A romantically feminine fashion introduced by the designer Christian Dior in 1947; busts were exaggerated, waists were tiny, and, in contrast to wartime economies, skirts were extravagant1y full and long.

New Wave Initially, an innovative movement in French cinema among directors who entered the industry in 1959-62. The term has since be en used also to describe surges of creative film making in other countries.

Nickelodeon In the USA, an early moving picture theater;from the admission price of a nickel (5 cents).

Nuclear family The minimal family unit in 20th century Western culture, of husband, wife, and children.

Offbeat Unusual or unconventional.

Permissive society One that is sexually and morally tolerant; used to typify the 1960s, when a number of moral and social conventions were relaxed.

Planned obsolescence Changing the appearance or performance of an everyday commodity, such as a refrigerator or a motor car, to encourage consumers to buy new models before the old ones have worn out.

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