Popular Culture Glossary P - Z

Pluralism The belief that two or more ideas, opinions or styles can coexist without necessarily conflicting. In culture, as in politics, pluralism implies a preference for toleration and adaptability rather than rigid adherence to established practice, and is inherently opposed to all forms of authoritarian control.

Pop art Flourishing from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, artworks drawing inspiration from the imagery of consumerism and popular culture.

Pop music Commercially oriented tunes or songs; term used from the 1950s to describe music aimed at the developing youth market.

Popular Of the people; widely appreciated. But popular culture, as used here, also identifies a range of products and entertainment, primarily for leisure consumption, that are produced via industrial processes and said in a market economy; features that distinguish them from folk or vernacular culture.

Prime time Peak viewing hours on television, when the highest rates are charged to advertisers.

Producer In film making, the person responsible for the financial and administrative aspects.

Product variation Also product differentiation; using advertising, packaging and so on to create differences between products of the same type such as cigarettes.

Professional In sport, people for whom playing is their livelihood, or who compete for money prizes.

Prohibition The years 1920-33 in the United States, when manufacturing, selling or transporting alcoholic drinks for general consumption was forbidden by law.

Psychedelic Resembling the distorted visual and sound effects caused by hallucinogenic drugs.

Public service broadcasting Non-commercial use of radio and television, generaııy supported by government funding, frequently broadly educational in character.

Punk An anarchic youth movement in music and fashion which arose in Britain in the mid-1970s.

Ragtime Tightly composed piano jazz, which combined syncopation with march forms, dating from the late 19th century.

Ratings In television or radio, a system of measuring a program's success, which is based on assessing audience size.

Realism A 19th-century movement in the arts which strove to depict accurately the worlds it represented, and to show things as they actually existed. A1though the feasibility of this goal was questioned by modernism, the accusation that melodrama, for example, is not "realistic" has remained one of the principal arguments for dismissing popular culture from serious examination and appreciation.

Retro-chic The revival of fashions from an earlier era.

Rhythm & blues Also r & b; an up-tempo musical evolution from the blues, widely popular as dance music by the 1940s; bands usually featured a tenor saxophone;see also rock 'n' roll.

Rock 'n' roll Popular dance music originating in the 1950s as an offshoot of rhythm & blues; most pieces have a 12-bar blues structure, and a heavily accented rhythm.

Romance In popular culture, the representation of heterosexual love as the predominant subject matter. White popular music frequently depicts the failure of romantic love, romantic narratives more usually conclude with a happy ending that marks the foundation of a new nuclear family.

Sitcom A situation comedy; humor based on everyday events and the interaction of a small group of characters.

Soap opera Serialized radio or television fiction dealing melodramatically with the daily traumas and of ten highly charged love-lines of a group of characters; so called because originally sponsored by American soap manufacturers.

Soul music Commercially successful black American music of the 1960s on, which combined gospel with blues styles.

Status symbol Any obvious sign of a person' s wealth or social prestige.

Streamlining Fluid shaping, which increases performance by reducing water- or air-resistance; in the 1930s it was employed as a style on a wide range of objects.

Street fashion Avant-garde styles, which originate on the city streets and not in fashion salons.

Swing Smooth and rhythmical, dance-oriented orchestral jazz, popular from the mid-1930s to the mid-1940s, usually arranged for big bands.

Syncopation The stressing of normally unaccented beats, in music such as jazz.

Syndication The sale of a story or program for simultaneous release by a number of different media outlets.

Thriller A book, play or film that creates excitement or suspense; especially one dealing with mystery or crime.

Tin Pan Alley Until the 1950s, the composers and publishers of the popular music industry in the USA.

Underground Term adopted in the 1960s to describe anti-establishment or counter-cultural beliefs and activities.

Vaudeville Variety shows or revues, featuring singers, dancers, comedians and acrobats.

Vernacular culture Like folk culture, the functional and artistic productions of people outside their involvement in the economic sphere; those things, from music to clothes to houses, that people make for themselves.

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