Cultural pollution is a term that describes the gradual change in morals, etiquette, and overall ethics of a given culture or country, typically reflecting a negative change. Some use the term to describe the amount of vulgarity and open use of previously-thought “dirty concepts” that have become a mainstay in today’s media and advertising, from extreme violence to sexual promiscuity. These types of things are considered “pollutants” because they are believed to be the underlying causes of many social problems facing nations like the the United States and the European Union. It rationalizes that traditional values are deteriorating with each new generation and previous taboos are becoming commonplace in homes and public venues. This term is also linked to economics when describing a “welfare state,” in which the populace believes more in entitlements rather than earned perks through working, or lack thereof.
More broadly than just recent political commentary about how trashy the media has become, cultural pollution in urban areas has probably been with humankind since the beginning of cities and culture, thousands of years ago.
As Urban Pollution: Cultural Meanings, Social Practices (Eveline Durr, Rivke Jaffe) points out “Concepts of pollution in cities are apparent in struggles over space and place, between groups differentiated on the basis of class, ethnicity, or religion.” So while certain things may make good talking points for politicians now, sore points in the past have been a wide range of things.
(And hopefully the poor authors got something from Google Books’ ‘use’ of their work.)
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