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Discussion: Popular Culture, Individuality, and Global Reach

The United States often has been labeled a cultural imperialist* power because of the successful export of culture that is popular within the United States. American movies, television, and music can be seen and heard in most urban areas around the globe. Cultural imperialism sometimes is perceived as a form of bullying. Some countries, such as France, actively resist the prevalence of American culture and even enact laws and policies to protect native culture.

Large-scale distribution and consumption of culture raises the question of what role individuals play in supporting global distribution of popular culture. Is the shared experience more valuable than diversity of expression? Can a single person change popular culture? How does an individual protect his or her own values in a pop culture world?

This week, you consider your individual role in creating and consuming popular culture.

Post a 250-word response in which you address the following:

  • Describe a time when you were surprised by something that was considered popular but that was new to you. Analyze whether or not you consider yourself to be an active participant in popular culture. Explain your analysis.
  • If you could create a popular culture artifact and provide universal access to it, describe what message you might embed in this artifact or whether you would avoid any specific message. Explain your response.