Pop culture emerged in the first decades of the twentieth century as a reaction to the restrictive social traditions of colonial America. It spread quickly and broadly throughout the bustling urban centers of the 1920s—an era when it formed a partnership with technology and the business world. This coalition gave pop culture its identity, allowing it to thrive and form alliances with artistic and literary movements. But pop culture may have run its course with the rise of meme culture. This publication revisits the social, psychic, and aesthetic roots of pop culture, suggesting that meme culture has fragmented its historical flow, thus threatening to bring about its demise.

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Marcel Danesi, Ph.D. (1974), FRSC (1998), University of Toronto, is Professor of Semiotics and Linguistic Anthropology. He has published extensively in both fields, including most recently Understanding Media Semiotics (Bloomsbury, 2018) and Language and Mathematics (Mouton de Gruyter, 2016).
Memes and the Future of Pop Culture
Marcel Danesi
 Abstract
 Keywords
 1 Introduction
 2 Origins
 3 The Protestant Ethic
 4 The Roaring Twenties
 5 Theorizing Pop Culture
 6 Technology and the Marketplace
 7 Literary-Artistic Bricolage
 8 Carnival, Archetype, and Mythology Theories Revisited
 9 Sociobiology and the Theory of Memes
 10 Meme Culture
 11 The Simulacrum
 12 Meme Culture versus Pop Culture
 13 The “Communal Brain”
 14 The Global Village
 15 The “Corso” and “Ricorso” of History
 16 The Tetrad
 17 The Future
 References
All interested in pop culture as a distinct for of culture and how it originated and evolved until the Internet Age, where it may have finally ended as a unique experiment of populist culture.