Conflict and Popular Culture

Conflict theory states that human behavior has a direct dependence on conflicts that appear between social groups. Conflict theory was proposed by Karl Marx, who viewed the human society as a constant conflict between social classes. For example, the capitalist society has a conflict between two social groups. The first one comprises of people who own factories and fabrics or, in other words, they are entrepreneurs, while the second one is the group that does not have such benefits or, simply saying, they are common workers (Brief, Umphress, Dietz, Butz, Burrows, & Scholten, 2005).

Thinkers have provided many theories about the issue why conflicts take place in the society. However, the main idea that unites all the theories is that there is inequality between the social groups because each social group has limited resources and as a result limited chances to gain a goal. Conflict theory has been widely used to explain cultural customs, status quo, criminal behavior, or other diversities in human relationships.

Nevertheless, the most significant issue states that conflicts exist not because one social group has more advantages than another, but because one social group uses its advantages to establish control over another group and dictate its rules. Thus, the group that appeared to be under control by another one starts to resist this pressure and as a result, one receives a struggle between two or more social groups. Moreover, the conflict theory pays especial attention to race, gender and class because these factors are seen as the most significant and even basic for the conflict theory. Comparing with other sociological theories that focus their attention on positive effects in the society, conflict theory focuses on the negative nature of human society.

Popular culture is one of the most actual issues in the modern sociology. This aspect has appeared comparatively recently and captured the attention of sociologists. Popular culture includes various aspects such as television, advertisements, social media and other modern technologies. With the appearing of these new ways of receiving information the human life has changed and the changes consider not only human behavior, but also the behavior of the entire social groups.

Popular culture has created such phenomenon as sub-culture. People who have similar views and behavior created under the influence of a particular popular culture effect, such as for example, a music genre (gothic metal) gave a life to a sub-culture group (goth). People of a particular sub-culture group have common interests and believes; they also have their own slang that very often can be understood only by the members of this group. I believe that these sub-culture groups are the result of mass media. In this way, people try to introduce themselves to the society, but sometimes they use wrong methods to do it. A person who is a member of a particular sub-culture group automatically becomes the prisoner of certain stereotypes. For example, punks would never wear clothes worn by hippies or rap singers, or they would never listen to different music. In this way, they limit themselves in the right of choice, because the social sub-culture that they have chosen would never accept such action. Thus, sub-culture groups have more obligations than the opportunities for self-realization. However, there are also advantages of sub-culture groups because people can easily find fellows who would prefer their company and listen to what he or she talks. From this point of view, sub-culture groups help to find friends and give people a feeling of necessity.

Besides sub-cultural groups, popular culture has also transformed the perception of the world by those people who watch TV as a daily practice. Television has become the virus of the modern society; it steals time, but it gives very little useful information and too many unnecessary facts. Under unnecessary facts, I understand ads one may see when he/she turns on the TV. People view hundreds of ad clips every day, they absorb this information without realization that in this way manufacturers try to wash their brains and to huckster the product. Indeed, the society only loses from the opportunity to watch TV because it does not enrich human minds, but only wastes them with rubbish.

Another advantage of modern technologies is Internet where the majority of people waste their free time. People spend too much time, viewing websites and forget to live their real, not virtual life.

According to the outlined issues, I can say that popular culture has more negative than positive effect on the development of the society. The behavior of people has changed since the invention and introducing to the society the products of mass media. Though it is popular nowadays to be an unordinary individual ; the more one is unordinary, the better, popular culture imposes its ways of how people have to think, behave and live. People start care less about the quality of information and they absorb any sort of it without thinking whether it is true or not. Moreover, I can mention that the majority of people have lost their feature of individuals under the pressure of popular culture. The fear to be not like others erases the unique features of the individual, thus the society loses some possible genius that perhaps could change the humans’ life for the better. Thus, it can be said that popular culture creates limitations that built barriers for the free development of the individual in the society.

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