An introduction to theories of popular culture by Dominic Strinati

By Dominic Strinati

An advent to Theories of pop culture is well known as an immensely worthy textbook for college kids taking classes within the significant theories of pop culture. Strinati offers a serious evaluation of the ways that those theories have attempted to appreciate and assessment pop culture in smooth societies.

Among the theories and concepts 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 presents 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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It has been shown how the concept of mass culture involves the mass production and consumption of culture, the threatened subversion of folk culture and high culture, and the relationship between cultural pessimism and the role played by an intellectual avant-garde. It has been argued that the concept of mass culture provides a picture of a debased, trivialised, superficial, artificial and standardised culture which saps the strength of folk and high culture, and challenges the intellectual arbitration of cultural taste.

A problem which needs to be dealt with in this critique concerns mass culture theory’s inadequate understanding of the role of the audience in popular culture. In putting forward a feminist critique, Modleski (1986a; cf. Chapter 5 below) has pointed out how mass culture theory tends to ‘feminise’ mass culture. It attributes to mass culture qualities which are culturally equated with the feminine, such as consumption, passivity and sentiment or emotion, and contrasts these with qualities such as production, activity and intellect, which are culturally equated with the masculine, and defined as art or high culture.

Instead, he saw immense possibilities being opened up for everybody by the forward march of a progressive and scientific modernity. According to Johnson, ‘Huxley was optimistic about the way in which society was developing, an attitude which he exhibited quite explicitly in his reaction to America’. When Huxley described ‘his first sight of America, he remarked on the excitement he felt on seeing the towers and buildings of the post office and other communication centres, instead of the spires of churches’.

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