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Analysis On How Star Wars Movies Have Shaped Popular Culture (Research Paper Sample)




Impact Of Star Wars On Popular Culture
Impact of Star Wars on Popular Culture
Popular culture has been defined by many in different contexts. It is influenced mostly by social media and by interactions between people. It influences the way people talk, dress, types of food they eat, how they walk: it becomes their identity. A general definition of popular culture suggests that it is beliefs and practices that are predominant in a society at a given time. Categories of popular culture include entertainment regarding video games, music, films and television, politics, fashion, and technology. When people watch a film and identify with it, they start to dress like the characters in the film, talk like them. You notice that when a film is released, and it has an impact in the society, you will notice how people change their dress code to match that in the film, they take up phrases from the film, social media is full of fanatics who have embraced the culture in the film. This is what happened to Star Wars. Star Wars was not just another film. Since the first release of Star Wars on 25th May 1977, the world changed. Up until today, it is still impacting the lives of many which has led to a popular culture of Star Wars (Parker, 2014).
Star Wars is a film series whose concept was developed by the legendary George Lucas. It features adventures of beings in another galaxy. Star Wars released three films that formed Star Wars trilogy: Star Wars, The Empire strikes back and Return of Jedi. These films swept people off their grounds both young and old, big and small. Even those who paid little attention to such movies were drawn in. Since then other films have been released, books are written, Star Wars cards produced, costumes designed all of which have greatly contributed to its popular culture.
John Storey in his bid to uncover popular culture wrote the book “Cultural Theory and Popular Culture.” Here he presents six definitions of popular culture that he deems agreeable. The six definitions have their strengths and weaknesses with different objects of contemplation being considered. In the first definition Storey defines popular culture as a culture that is widely favored or well-liked by many people. This basic definition arises from the word popular which refers to well known or familiar with people. Storey defends his definition claiming that the difference between culture and popular culture is what defines popular culture. Regarding popularity, Star Wars is second to none. It is the leading Hollywood movie regarding sales with sales of up to $32 billion in 2016. In 2015, $243 million was generated from the sale of consumer packaged goods. The film “The Force Awakens” was a sensation in North America referred to as the most successful movie of all time holding the record for the biggest opening weekend. On Facebook, Star Wars official page has about 19 million followers, on Twitter, it has 3.9 million followers, on Instagram it has 9.1 million followers, and on its YouTube page, it has 2.6 million subscribers. If that does not define popularity, then I do not know what does. Star Wars is one of the most popular films in the world which has contributed to its popular culture (Zyck, 2017).
In the second definition, popular culture is referred to as the leftover culture after high culture has been decided. When popular culture first came into the fold, it was associated with poor education and lower classes. This led to the belief that it was a culture of those without higher education hence this definition by Storey. This definition has a lot of problems as the definition of high culture is cumbersome. Popular culture and high culture are intersecting sets which make it very hard to define. Star Wars for instance can be considered as both high culture as well as popular culture. The problem with this definition is that it considers the people involved rather than the product. To determine if Star Wars is a popular culture in this case we have to analyze the background of the people rather than the product which is the film. Do we consider the quality of the film or the quality of the people to discern? Films are universal to humans and may be good or bad which makes this definition inadequate. Star Wars is followed by people across the globe who form this popular culture which makes it hard to define whether it is high culture or the remnants in the name of popular culture.
The third definition equates popular culture to mass culture. Mass culture, in essence, is culture brought about by changes in technology that use mass cultural production. When Star Wars was

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