Appropriate: Cultural appropriation of American cultures within popular culture

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
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Popular culture is omnipresent in contemporary culture and reflects the current state of society by having underlying social issues represented throughout, intentionally or not. By viewing and analyzing current media, trends, television, etc. issues of race and the historical background of the creator and audience can be seen. The study emphasizes how the aesthetic can be historically charged and overlooked. By looking at and discussing the lowbrow culture, popular culture, in the manner that highbrow, fine art, would be it raises the value of it. The author’s own personal background and experience is used as an example as to how the various subjects can be interpreted. The reason behind the choice of material of a magazine-like publication and clothing is to have this idea discussed within the platforms that it typically exists in. While the clothing was designed, fabricated, and created by the author and is meant to exist as objects apart from the text, they have been photographed by the author to be represented within the printed text. To present the issues historic and current events related to the topic were researched and discussed throughout the text by using several different writing formats. These different writing formats vary between opinion based articles with factual references and note-like descriptions of events. The end result of these studies was the finding of a gap between what the audience is assumed to know and actually knows. The knowledge that the audience possess is not based in their education but rather the cultural background which leaves the producer of the content to be responsible of how the content is interpreted. The issue with this is popular culture is meant to be consumed by the masses and is made as one size fits all which is problematic when it is being exported to places that do not share the same or similar background. But because of it being viewed as a frivolity and lacking substance beyond entertainment this gives it the power to be overlooked. By underestimating the impact it has is when it can continue to be a larger influence on societies.
Ryynänen, Max
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Ryynänen, Max
cultural appropriation, American, United States, popular culture
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