Popular culture 1945 – present

What is popular culture?

Introduction

It is important to explain the context of any topic in the opening lesson, and to establish how much students already know. This establishes a reference point for later, more detailed work. In these lessons students should become familiar with the nature of popular culture so that they are able to recognise it, discuss it and evaluate its contribution to Australian society and to fostering global connections.

Inquiry question What is popular culture?
Content focus The nature of popular culture in Australia.
Skills
  • Identify and select different kinds of questions about the past to inform historical inquiry
  • Evaluate and enhance these questions
  • Identify and locate relevant sources, using ICT and other methods.

Activities

  • Discuss with the class what they think culture is and ask them to give examples.
  • Discuss the question: What is culture and what role does it play in a country?
  • Refer to an Australian government department's outline People, culture, lifestyle and complete the activities set out in The role of culture in Australia (PDF, 90 KB)
  • Discuss the question: When does culture become popular? Discuss the four distinguishing criteria mentioned in Defining popular culture (PDF, 92 KB) and have students complete the activities in this resource.
  • Students should be able to differentiate between a fad and popular culture. For example, students should be able to discuss which of the images below represent a fad and which represent an aspect of popular culture. Further research is suggested in Defining popular culture (PDF, 92 KB).
A scene from a soccer match with the players clustered around a goal.
© 2013 Education Services Australia Ltd, except where indicated otherwise. You may copy, distribute and adapt this material free of charge for non-commercial educational purposes, provided you retain all copyright notices and acknowledgements.
Four toy dolls appear in different modern costumes.
© 2013 Education Services Australia Ltd, except where indicated otherwise. You may copy, distribute and adapt this material free of charge for non-commercial educational purposes, provided you retain all copyright notices and acknowledgements.
A small electronic toy on a key chain.
© 2013 Education Services Australia Ltd, except where indicated otherwise. You may copy, distribute and adapt this material free of charge for non-commercial educational purposes, provided you retain all copyright notices and acknowledgements.
Two young boys are spinning hoops around their arms.
© 2013 Education Services Australia Ltd, except where indicated otherwise. You may copy, distribute and adapt this material free of charge for non-commercial educational purposes, provided you retain all copyright notices and acknowledgements.
A screen shot from the video game Space Invaders.
© 2013 Education Services Australia Ltd, except where indicated otherwise. You may copy, distribute and adapt this material free of charge for non-commercial educational purposes, provided you retain all copyright notices and acknowledgements.

Resources