Infographic on the Different Categories of Pop Culture

Popular culture or also known as pop culture is referred to as a set of the beliefs, practices, and objects that are leading or prevalent in a society at a specific point in time. In addition to that, pop culture also encompasses the activities and feelings made as a result of interaction with these dominant objects. The main driving force behind pop culture is mass appeal, and it is created by the “culture industry,” according to cultural analyst Theodor Adorno. 

Pop culture is also referred to as mass culture. It is heavily influenced in modern times by mass media. It is a collection of ideas that fills the daily lives of people in a given society. This means that it has a way of influencing an individual’s attitude towards specific topics. But there are also various ways to define pop culture. Due to this, it is defined in conflicting ways by different people across various contexts. Generally, it is viewed in contrast to other forms of culture, like working-class culture or high culture, as well as through various academic perspectives like structuralism and postmodernism. You can read our article, “What Is Pop Culture?” to learn more about its definition.

There are various categories of pop culture out there. Some examples are entertainment, sports, news, and fashion. If you are looking into learning more about these, you’re in the right place. In this post, we are giving you an infographic on the different categories of pop culture. 

Different Categories of Pop Culture

Popular Music

Pop music refers to any commercially oriented music principally intended to be received and appreciated by a wide audience, particularly in literate, technologically advanced societies dominated by urban culture. Pop music is not like traditional folk music, as it is written by known people, mostly professionals. It also does not evolve through the process of oral transmission. 

Historically, pop music was any form of non-folk music that acquired popularity. They came from the songs of the medieval minstrels and musicians to those elements of fine-art music mainly intended for a small elite audience but eventually became popular. 

Pop music can also have negative connotations where it implies music that is superficially made to appeal to a specific audience. Nonetheless, a good portion of pop music emerges naturally based on the talent and originality of artists. 


Entertainment is a type of activity that holds the attention and interest of an audience or provides pleasure and delight. In pop culture, entertainment mainly includes films and television that are made to be highly entertaining. Even though people’s attention is held by various things as individuals have different preferences, most forms are recognizable and familiar. Aside from films and television, it may also include circuses, theaters, or theme parks, as long as they are produced or made at scale. 


Fandom is also referred to as fan culture. It describes communities built around a shared enjoyment of an aspect of pop culture, like books, movies, TV shows, bands, sports, characters, and more. It is an example of a participatory culture, which involves fans acting not only as consumers but as well as producers and creators of some form of creative media. These creations and artistic expressions come in the form of fan videos, cosplay, and other interactions with a person, group, or fictional universe. It is basically a subculture made of fans characterized by a feeling of empathy and camaraderie with others who share a common interest. 

Popular Fiction

Popular fiction or pop-fiction is also known as genre fiction. It pertains to the different fiction genres and types that have proved to be popular with many audiences. It is the opposite of literary fiction, which tends to be more academic, invites analysis, and has a narrower market among the intellectual. Popular fiction is also known as mass-market fiction. It is a type of work that is usually categorized into genres like romance, horror, mystery, adventure, fantasy, and science fiction. 

Most pop fiction is focused on the plot, as many readers are aim to see a distinct and interesting plot, with lots of difficulties and conflicts to keep them entertained. Also, the characters in these types of works might be embroiled in verbal fights with one another or might have a murder mystery that they need to solve. The main purpose of pop fiction is to appeal to the general public and be written in a way that sells. 


Popular digital media or pop media is a term that encompasses a lot, putting platforms such as Buzzfeed, Elite Daily, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, and more into one umbrella. It involves platforms that are made for public communication, content sharing, content creation, and more, all of which seem to be en vogue at the moment. Pop media is also anything that reaches a large audience. This means that it also includes broadcast media such as television aside from social media.


Sports refers to any form of competitive physical activity or game. It gives an outlet for the human competitive spirit and acts as a super culture that provides a globally shared experience. It is both forms of mass culture in a number of different ways. Millions of people take part as live audiences for sporting events all over the world. In addition to that, much of the programming on television and sites on the web deal with the sport, as do numerous documentary and fiction films. It plays a big role in the national culture of most states worldwide. Athletics is also an arena where the issue of race, gender, class, and national identity are embodied and negotiated. 


Food is also very much a part of pop culture. The beliefs, trends, and practices in a culture affect its eating practices. In the United States, there has been an increasing trend toward consumerism. It is a trend that is reflected in more people eating away from home, the use of dietary and herbal supplements, foods for certain groups, and ethnic diversity in diets. In developed countries, for example, people are getting into low-calorie, low-fat foods and simple, fresh, and natural ingredients.  At the same time, many people are also into mass-produced food, such as fast food and fast-moving consumer goods like breakfast cereal. 


Fashion is one of the creative and grandest forms of expression. Pop culture influences fashion as it has something to do with our choices and lifestyles. It is also connected with almost everything that people do in their lives. The way people dress and talk are some examples of how pop culture influences fashion. Many people are copying or adapting to what is the trend or how the popular celebrities look like. For instance, what people see online affects their personal style.

People also use fashion or the way they dress themselves to express their personality. For example, individuals who are into heavy metal mostly wear slim-fitting jeans and hip-hop fashion. They use fashion to show who they are and how they live their lives. Also, the emergence of various fashion styles has influenced what people wear on different occasions, like those that are portrayed in movies and television shows. 

Consumer Culture

Consumer culture can be defined as social status, activities, and values that are focused on the consumption of goods and services. Generally, it is much of what a person does, what they value, and how they are defined in a consumer culture that has something to do with their spending. It is a type of material culture that is facilitated by the market. It is a culture wherein people define their identities and the identities of others depending on what they and others consume. Their values stimulate consumption, and their worlds are centered on the consumption of goods and services. 


In the communication world, language is the most powerful way. There are three ways in which language and culture are bound together. First is that it expresses cultural reality, as people express facts and ideas with words. Second, language also embodies cultural reality, as people give meaning to their experiences. Lastly, language symbolizes cultural reality, as people view their language as a symbol of their identity. 

Language is freely invented, changed, and adapted by people with creative licenses, and pop culture is a powerful source in this context. This means that it can eventually become part of slang and standard language. It is also common for language to represent the spirit of the time from which it was first used or invented. For instance, in 1921, during the Jazz Age, the term “party crasher” was used, which meant to attend an event where you are not invited. 


Inventing new concepts is common in pop culture. For instance, the use of the term “hater,” which means someone who strongly criticizes or undermines others, mostly because of pathetic jealousy, mostly emerged from hip hop culture as the term “playa hater” as used by an influential rapper named Biggie Smalls in 1995. 


Popular personalities, like actors, politicians, musicians, and other media characters, can be considered pop culture when they become household names. It serves as a common reference such that people converse about celebrities much the way they talk about actual acquaintances. Celebrities are surrounded by a media frenzy as entertainment outlets, and people seek every detail of their lives. 


News pertains to the summary of the innumerable current events of the day as a few daily news stories that are gathered by major media outlets and disseminated to the masses. It can be provided through different types of media, such as word of mouth, broadcasting, printing, postal systems, electronic communication, or through the testimony of observers and witnesses to events. News is part of pop culture as it is followed and anticipated by many people every day. 


Pop culture travel or tourism pertains to the act of traveling to places featured in popular literature, film, music, or other forms of media. It can also be called “Location Vacation.” With pop culture-inspired travel, travelers visit new places in search of backdrops for a lavishly produced illusion, which is mostly a location dressed up as something it is not. While movies come from a real place, most of the time, film locations do not look like they do in the film in reality. 

In addition, it also pertains to travel services that are offered at an industrial scale. Some examples are bus tours, cruises, and chain hotels. Visiting well-known spots can be considered pop culture as it is a shared experience with broad participation. 


In pop culture, recreation pertains to the popular activities wherein many people participate in. One example of this is fitness booms, where many people are joining a mass exercise activity done in the streets. It is joining in a certain activity that a lot of people find fun and entertaining. 

Popular Imagination

Popular imagination refers to the popular ideas, feelings, or attitudes that are approved of or held by most people. It can be a set of stories, symbols, and ideas that are interesting enough to spread fast across large groups. It is something that can drive change in norms, culture, systems, and values. It is a way of saying the imaginations of almost everyone as it appeals to the general public or that it is widely favored or admired. 

Youth Culture

Youth culture pertains to the cultural practice of members of this generation by which they express their individualities and show their sense of belonging to a certain group of young people. Early conceptions of juvenile cultural expressions advocated the idea that youth as a social group adheres to common values, goals, and behaviors unique from those of the adult world. 

An example of this was the ban on child labor that started in the late 19th century. After that, youth in certain countries had more free time and material resources, which led to vibrant youth culture in areas like fashion, music, language, concepts, symbols, and values. 

Generation Gaps

When large generation gaps occur, pop culture can change fast. It can pertain to the older elements of pop culture that can stick to a certain generation but fail to translate to succeeding generations. For example, in Japan, there are radio programs called “rajio taiso” that older generations still find appealing. However, it is beginning to fade out as pop culture as the younger generations are failing to decipher it. 


Nostalgia refers to the popular culture of yesterday. It is something that can give certain people, particularly the older generations, strong feelings of a time and place. When you relieve this type of pop culture, you may feel that you can almost reach out and touch the past. However, it also produces a bitter-sweet melancholy, which is referred to as nostalgia. These may include events like sports competitions or concerts that bring forward images, smells, and sounds of the past. 

Digital Experience

A digital experience pertains to the interaction between a user, such as a customer, partner, or employee, and an organization that is possible through digital technologies. These are shared experiences that happen in digital environments. Some examples are social media and video games, which may mix reality with digital entities. 

Creator Culture

With the advancement in technology and the invention of the internet, there has been broad participation in culture wherein anyone has the freedom to create things like videos, photos, commentaries, or game modifications that contribute to culture. In time, it is likely to expand such that everyone can compete with professionals in any domain. An example of creator culture is that anyone today has the ability to develop apps and other technologies that many people will find useful or interesting.  


Popular culture is indeed broad and can include many different things. But generally, it is something that provides shared experience across large groups. It includes any fundamentals of culture that are known by most people in a nation or on a global level. Pop culture is always new and ever-changing, unlike traditional culture, which is stabilized and only changes slowly. We hope this post helped you learn more about the different categories of pop culture.