Singapore University of Social Sciences

Popular Culture

Popular Culture (SOC365)


What is the difference between ‘popular’ culture, ‘highbrow’ culture, and ‘lowbrow’ entertainment? Who gets to define or classify them? Who produces popular culture and how is it produced? Who consumes popular culture and how is it consumed? SOC365 Popular Culture teaches a wide range of theoretical perspectives for understanding the complexities of popular culture and associated social processes. Students will have the opportunity to apply these theoretical insights to empirical examples and case studies from around the world. Popular culture will be studied as a set of artefacts with significant social and political effects and functions. Relevant themes or topics of discussion that will be introduced include globalisation, technological advancements, capitalism, media industry, consumption, gender, and socio-cultural change in general. In the process of studying this subject, students will be exposed to insights from several other disciplines such as cultural studies, literary theory, linguistics, organisation studies, and media and communication studies.

Level: 3
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: Every January


  • Introduction to popular culture
  • Theories of popular culture
  • The mass culture debate (1)
  • The mass culture debate (2)
  • Popular culture and capitalism
  • The economics of the media industry
  • State patronage, regulation, and censorship
  • Feminist analysis of popular culture
  • Popular culture and racial representations
  • Subcultures and resistance
  • Consumption and fan culture (1)
  • Consumption and fan culture (2)

Learning Outcome

  • Discuss the major concepts and theories of the sociology of popular culture
  • Examine the trends, patterns, and socio-political effects associated with popular culture
  • Analyse popular culture in relation to the media and communications industries
  • Apply course content to the social world and your experiences related to popular culture
  • Evaluate arguments and explanations on popular culture
  • Demonstrate skills in sociological thinking and written or spoken expression
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