How did MASS culture differ from ELITE culture with relation between mass production and mass consumption between the years 1910-1939?

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farouk23 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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By definition, Mass culture refers to culture that is disseminated extensively and primarily through the mass media. It occurs when modern communication allows the transfer of information from the source to the people, rather than from people to people or everyday interactions. Elite culture or high culture refers to the culture forms that were reserved for or exclusive to the social elites of the society. This type of culture was primarily associated with the established hierarchy in a society, people like the aristocracy, bourgeoisie, politicians and bureaucrats.

In context to the differences between Mass and Elite culture as they relate to mass production and consumption from 1910-1939, it is necessary to examine the societal trends of the era. In relation to Mass culture, the era saw the spread of radio, television and cinema as well as the nationwide availability of major news (through the use of the news wire services). This had a huge effect on the spread of mass culture, the latest trends and fashions (from dress to hairstyle) were now available to everyone all over the country. This led to a wider market for mass consumer goods and services outside of the traditional major metropolitan hubs. One of the major examples of an alignment between mass production and mass consumption was in the automobile industry, specifically with the ford motor company. Henry Ford used every mass media outlet to popularize the automobile; the Model T was made specifically for and marketed to the mass market.

Elite consumption on the other hand followed the same trends as they had in centuries past, it was spread primarily through social circles rather than the mass media ( although it also played a role). The products were exclusive in nature and were of a conspicuous nature that displayed wealth and status.