It is an interdisciplinary project, both research and popularising in nature, which is supposed to give answers to questions vital for the cultural identity of the Europeans. What is the role of popular culture in contemporary Europe? How has that role changed over the past few decades? Who are the audiences? Does popular culture constitute a “binding cultural element” of Europe and in what way? What are its modernising and integrating functions? What perspectives for the future can we predict today?
In order to fully understand the common heritage of today’s Europe there is a need for analysis of the historic context and the direction of the most important changes.
The authors of the project intend to explore the origins of popular culture in Europe, its evolution towards the current form, the past and present audiences, the process of including social and national groups into the sphere of the European popular culture, and the way its model has been transformed from particularisms to universality. The project will also highlight the subject of culture as a market, its entertaining aspects and the issue previously not explored in Poland – society of the spectacle.
The analysis will be based on selected examples of source materials, evidence of processes that are of interest to us, concerning intergroup communication which since the 19th century have led to integration on the ground of popular culture. In part these are the printed media: books, magazines, graphics, narrative and iconographic descriptions of grand spectacles (religious, political, sports, artistic, including musical performances, local and world exhibitions, panoramas, and other new kinds of visual inventions), film production, musical records, television production, and in part they are various reports given by the audiences of the above-mentioned forms of expression. The choice of sources will essentially depend on ensuring they constitute a representative cross-section, also in terms of their social scope and attractiveness. The authors of the analysis will also adopt practical criteria of the availability of the given category of materials to wider audiences in a form of an exhibition, performance, documentary, or presentation of archival footage.