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Within the framework of the program activities of the Center for Social Stability, in the full house of the “SKCNS Factory” (certainly, the most renowned facility of the so-called “Chinese Quarter” in Novi Sad) on December 11th 2017, Public debate “Mass culture as a reflection of social reality” was organised. The Center for Social Stability had the great honor to host really respectable and competent representatives in the field of culture, both in the narrower and broader sense of the meaning of the word culture.
In a very interesting and for the present audience, very inspiring conversations about the role of mass culture in contemporary Serbian society and in the world, as well as social function in determining the spiritual, cultural and identity values of individuals and collectivities, but also about specific relations between mass culture, as an antipode to the high culture, with the fundamental principles and norms on which it is based, the aforementioned “elite culture” following participants took the part: Mr. Vladan Vukosavljević, Minister of Culture and Information in the Government of the Republic of Serbia; prof. Dr. Žolt Lazar, Professor at the Department of Sociology at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad; Mr. Milorad Milinković, director, actor, writer, musician and composer; Mr. Dimitrije Banjac, actor, comedian, sports journalist, petrochemical engineer. Moderator of the Public debate was Mr. Ognjen Karanovic.
At the beginning of the program, the spokesman of the Center for Social Stability, Mr. Predrag Rajić, addressed the invited guests and the audience. Mr. Rajic pointed out that “… if we try to define mass culture, as everything else that is not high culture, then the conclusions has to be the benefits that it brings to the society … ” During discussion, the opportunity to respond to the questions of the moderator and express their opinions had the distinguished participants in the forum. Minister Vukosavljevic emphasized that “… the truth to be told, the theme is very complex and has different elements, but one thing is clear that elite culture requires great knowledge, effort, care, but also the existence of an elite, whose structures and functions are in today’s modern world highly debatable, while mass culture reflects the quality of the based activity of mechanisms that drive the productivity of a so-called high culture … “. On the other hand, Professor Lazar pointed to the fact that “… the emergence of mass culture must be seen in the context of the victory of the industrial revolution in the seventeenth century, that is, that it corresponds with the beginning of the rise of the industrial era and the beginning of the massification of economic production …”. Mr. Milorad Milinković also observed and shared a remark that “… people mistakenly think, when they are rationalizing the character of mass culture, that it is automatically connected with bad or vulgar functions in the society, just as it is with the concept and social function of the high culture that is associated, without thinking, to affirmative actions. That’s wrong … “. As part of his presentation, Mr. Dimitrije Banjac spoke of the role of humor in a modern society viewed from the aspect of its function as a segment of mass culture. He particularly pointed out the need to clearly determine the phenomena of kitsch and trash and to separate from the real character and function of mass culture. In the second part of the presentation, the audience was given the opportunity to ask questions to the participants of the public debate, thus achieving the true purpose of organizing such an interactive event.