Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction

Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction

Language: English

Pages: 306

ISBN: 1138811033

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In this 7th edition of his award-winning Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction, John Storey has extensively revised the text throughout. As before, the book presents a clear and critical survey of competing theories of and various approaches to popular culture. Its breadth and theoretical unity, exemplified through popular culture, means that it can be flexibly and relevantly applied across a number of disciplines. Also retaining the accessible approach of previous editions, and using appropriate examples from the texts and practices of popular culture, this new edition remains a key introduction to the area.

New to this edition:

• Extensively revised, rewritten and updated

• Improved and expanded content throughout

• A new section on ‘The Contextuality of Meaning’ that explores how context impacts meaning

• A brand new chapter on ‘The Materiality of Popular Culture’ that examines popular culture as material culture

• Extensive updates to the companion website at, which includes practice questions, extension activities and interactive quizzes, links to relevant websites and further reading, and a glossary of key terms.

The new edition remains essential reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students of cultural studies, media studies, communication studies, the sociology of culture, popular culture and other related subjects.















fact that more people attend classical music events than attend baseball games, the increasing number of symphony orchestras. A key figure in the debate is Dwight Macdonald. In a very influential essay, ‘A theory of mass culture’, he attacks mass culture on a number of fronts. First of all, mass culture undermines the vitality of high culture. It is a parasitic culture, feeding on high culture, while offering nothing in return. 75 Folk art grew from below. It was a spontaneous, autochthonous

result of the convenient death or the insanity of their partners; legacies turn up unexpectedly to overcome reverses in fortune; villains are lost in the Empire; poor men return from the Empire bearing great riches; and those whose aspirations could not be met by prevailing social arrangements are put on a boat to make their dreams come true elsewhere. All these (and more) are presented as examples of a shared structure of feeling, the unconscious and conscious working out in fictional texts of

‘Cultural studies and the Centre: some problematics and problems’. Jones, Paul, Raymond Williams’s Sociology of Culture: A Critical Reconstruction, Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2004. An interesting account, but its relentless insistence on claiming Williams for sociology distorts his place in cultural studies. Kaye, Harvey J. and Keith McClelland (eds), E.P. Thompson: Critical Perspectives, Oxford: Polity Press, 1990. A collection of critical essays on different aspects of Thompson’s contribution to

culture insists that texts and practices must be analysed in relation to their historical conditions of production (and in some versions, the changing conditions of their consumption and reception). What makes the Marxist methodology different from other ‘historical’ approaches to culture is the Marxist conception of history. The fullest statement of the Marxist approach to history is contained in the Preface and Introduction to A Contribution to a Critique of Political Economy. Here Marx

For Macherey, it is not a question of making what is there speak with more clarity so as to be finally sure of the text’s meaning. Because a text’s meanings are ‘both interior and absent’ (78), to simply repeat the text’s self-knowledge is to fail to really explain the text. The task of a fully competent critical practice is not to make a whisper audible, nor to complete what the text leaves unsaid, but to produce a new knowledge of the text: one that explains the ideological necessity of its

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