An introduction to theories of popular culture by Dominic Strinati

By Dominic Strinati

An creation to Theories of pop culture is widely known as an immensely helpful textbook for college kids taking classes within the significant theories of pop culture. Strinati presents a serious evaluation of the ways that those theories have attempted to appreciate and review pop culture in glossy societies.

Among the theories and ideas the ebook introduces are: mann tradition, the Frankfurt institution and the tradition undefined, semiology and structuralism, Marxism, feminism, postmodernism and cultural populism.

This new version offers clean fabric on Marxism and feminism, whereas a brand new ultimate bankruptcy assesses the importance of the theories defined within the book.

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Extra resources for An introduction to theories of popular culture

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34 MASS CULTURE However, it is not at all clear how much can be argued about wider social and cultural developments on the basis of a small number of conveniently selected novels. Also, novels may be used to write social history, but whether they are works of social history is another matter. It has equally to be noted that the spy novel may not be as representative as Hebdige suggests, in that it is a genre of popular fiction which has tended to be dominated by British writers. Furthermore, as Hebdige notes himself, the influence of the Continent was experienced by a subculture which took its music from black American culture.

1918). Hebdige links Orwell and Hoggart together in what he calls a ‘negative consensus’ since they knew what they wanted to preserve—the traditional workingclass community—rather than what they wanted to change. He argues that ‘Orwell and Hoggart were interested in preserving the “texture” of working-class life against the bland allure of post-war affluence—television, high wages, and consumerism’ (Hebdige 1988:51; cf. pp. 50–52). In his justly famous book The Uses of Literacy, first published in 1957 (a book which has been central to the development of the study of popular culture in Britain) Hoggart tried to document how the traditional and closely knit working-class community was being taken over by what he called ‘a shiny barbarism’.

He therefore concludes that ‘mass culture is very, very democratic: it absolutely refuses to discriminate against, or between, anything or anybody’ (MacDonald 1957:62). This argument is clearly similar to those we hear today regarding the postmodern traits of contemporary culture. Leavis’s argument, just how the intellectual elite’s arbitration of cultural taste is open to the democratising threat posed by mass culture. The real problem sometimes seems to be that mass culture, unlike folk culture, refuses to stay in its place and stick with the masses, but has pretensions beyond its station and merits; it refuses to recognise traditional hierarchies of taste, and the cultural distinctions generated by those at the top.

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