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Title: Review of Strinati, D., 'An Introduction to Theories of Popular Culture', London, Routledge, 1995, xviii, 301pp., £11.99 paper.
Contributor(s): Ryan, John S (author)
Publication Date: 1997
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Abstract: This volume constitutes a helpful and comprehensive guide to the major theories current about popular culture's nature and societal function. The writer, a lecturer in sociology, aims to provide a critical assessment of the ways in which these theories have attempted explanation and categorisation of the way popular culture "functions" in a range of modern societies. Many frames of reference are discussed, including such concepts as mass culture, the Frankfurt School, the culture industry, semiology, structuralism, Marxism, feminism, postmodernism and cultural populism. Various theorists are cited, such as Adorno, Barthes, and Hebdige. The writer's own credentials are impressive, for he is the author of 'Capitalism, the State and Industrial Relations' (1982) and co-editor of 'Come on Down? Popular Media Culture in Post-War Britain' (1992). As the last title may well indicate, the critic as writer uses many forms of writing to illustrate his or his critics' perceptions - women's magazines, comics, Arnold's 'Culture and Anarchy', Len Deighton's 'The Ipcress File', detective stories, the James Bond novels, Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein', Oedipus myths, George Orwell, Stowe's 'Uncle Tom's Cabin', and the girls' magazine, 'Jackie'. The other two recurring frames/illustrative systems for his musings comprise: television programmes and films (a dozen or so of each) and earlier, largely British interpreters of culture, such as: M. Arnold, F. R. and Q. D. Leavis, R. Hoggart and R. Williams. The style is most easily responded to in the expatiations on individual artefacts, such as: Umberto Eco on Ian Fleming's novels, or A. McRobbie, as in her 'Feminism and Youth Culture' on the 'Jackie' 'teen magazine/acculturation process. These read like lecture illustrations and they are penetrating and memorable, the best form of teaching.
Publication Type: Review
Source of Publication: Lore and Language, 15(1-2), p. 215-216
Publisher: National Centre for English Cultural Tradition (NATCECT), University of Sheffield
Place of Publication: Sheffield, United Kingdom
ISSN: 0307-7144
Field of Research (FOR): 200599 Literary Studies not elsewhere classified
200204 Cultural Theory
160805 Social Change
HERDC Category Description: D3 Review of Single Work
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