Why is "Popular Culture" a legitimate field of study in academia?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One major goal of some parts of academia is to explain the world as it is.  Political scientists and economists and anthropologists all try to look at various parts of the world and explain why they are the way they are.  The study of popular culture is a part of this process.

The nature of our culture is of immense importance to us.  Our cultural attitudes and values can have a huge impact on what our society is like.  For example, if our culture is highly sexualized or if it glorifies violence, this will make a big difference as to what issues our children will face as they grow up.  Because of this, it is important to study popular culture.  Studying popular culture helps us to understand what our culture is like and how that culture is likely to impact our society as a whole.