In the decades since his death, Adorno's thinking has lost none of its capacity to unsettle the settled, and has proved hugely influential in social and cultural thought. To most people, the entertainment provided by television, radio, film, newspapers, astrology charts and CD players seem harmless enough. For Adorno, however, the culture industry that produces them is ultimately toxic in its effect on the social process. Here, Robert Witkin unpacks Adorno's notoriously difficult critique of popularculture in (...) an engaging and accessible style, looking first at the development of the overarching theories of authority, commodification and negative dialectics within which Adorno's work needs to be seen. This book is an essential guide for understanding one of the key thinkers of our time. (shrink)
The eight essays contained in Philosophical Feminism and PopularCulture explore the portrayal of women and various philosophical responses to that portrayal in contemporary post-civil rights society. The essays examine visual, print, and performance media — stand-up comedy, movies, television, and a blockbuster trilogy of novel. These philosophical feminist analyses of popularculture consider the possibilities, both positive and negative, that popularculture presents for articulating the structure of the social and cultural practices in (...) which gender matters, and for changing these practices if and when they follow from, lead to, or perpetuate discrimination on the basis of gender. The essays bring feminist voices to the conversation about gender where is it taking place and attest to the importance of feminist critique in what is sometimes claimed to be a post-feminist era. (shrink)
Contemporary cultural and media studies have been increasingly interested in redefining the relations between religion and culture (and particularly popularculture). The present study approaches a series of theories on the manner in which religious aspects emerge and are integrated in contemporary cultural manifestations, focusing on the persistence/resurrection of religious patterns into secularized cultural contents. Thus, the analysis departs from the concept of implicit religion, coined and developed by Bailey and the theories following it, as well as (...) other associated concepts, influential for the evolution of debates in the recent period, such as invisible religion , as approached by Luckmann, civil religion , by Bellah, folk religion, residual religion , by Davies or ‘wild’ religion, by Borg. In order to discuss the relations between religion and popularculture in contemporary U.S. and particularly the presence of certain religious patterns in popularculture messages, symbolism and rituals, the study uses an interdisciplinary approach, based on approaches currently used in media studies, film studies, cultural studies, visual culture perspectives, religious studies, and sociology. The article discusses, through different theories (and in its second part, a case study on James Cameron’s cliché masterpiece Avatar) the manner in which contemporary popularculture (and cinema in particular) recycles, integrates and reinterprets religious patterns, symbols and behaviours. (shrink)
Addressing the contradictions surrounding modern-day femininity and its complicated relationship with feminism and postfeminism, this book examines a range of popular female/feminist icons and paradigms. It offers an innovative and forward-looking perspective on femininity and the modern female self.
Media in Question sets the agenda for a revitalized debate on the hybrid communicative practices that constitute the postmodern media landscape: practices that cross the boundaries between fact and fiction, information and entertainment, public knowledge, and popularculture. In this challenging and provocative collection, the individual contributors rethink key issuesùthe meaning of the public interest, the quality of media performance, and deregulation. In the process they raise questions rarely addressed in normative media theories, for example, the ethics of (...) sports reporting, the moral reasoning in popularculture, and the required professional standards for infotainment genres such as reality television and gossip journalism. Accessible and wide-ranging, The Media in Question will be essential reading for students in mass communication and political communication studies. (shrink)
This paper gives an overview of the placebo effect in popularculture, especially as it pertains to the work of authors Patrick O’Brian and Sinclair Lewis. The beloved physician as placebo, and the clinician scientist as villain are themes that respectively inform the novels, The Hundred Days and Arrowsmith. Excerpts from the novels, and from film show how the placebo effect, and the randomized clinical trial, have emerged into popularculture, and evolved over time.
Popularculture is ubiquitous. And referencing popularculture can be an excellent pedagogical tool. Used properly, it provides students with easily accessible examples—in some cases examples they have already been interested in. Given these facts, the creation and expansion of the literature on the intersection of popularculture and philosophy is not surprising. The purpose of these volumes has been controversial since their inception, but they do seem ideally suited as introductory texts. This essay (...) examines four recent volumes in popularculture and philosophy as pedagogical tools. These volumes on Sherlock Holmes, Christmas, Dr. Seuss, and Facebook all offer unique and useful tools for the teacher attempting to introduce students to philosophy. (shrink)
This interview – conducted by Peter Beilharz and Trevor Hogan with Clinton Walker over the course of three months (July to September 2011) between Melbourne and Sydney via email and Skype – explores the questions of Australian popularculture writing with, against, and of the culture industries themselves. Walker is a leading freelance Australian cultural historian and rock music journalist. He is the author of seven books, five about Australian music. He has been a radio DJ and (...) TV presenter. He compiled and produced four double CD album collections of Australian music – Inner City Sound, Buried Country, Long Way to the Top, and Studio 22. He has been a key writer in several multi-media projects, including the Powerhouse Museum Real Wild Child exhibition and CD-Rom (1995) and ABC TV’s hit documentary series/CD/DVD Long Way to the Top (2001). In 2006, a new US edition of his first book Inner City Sound (with soundtrack CD) was published. His Golden Miles: Sex, Speed and the Australian Muscle Car (2005) has been published in a revised edition in 2009. In 2012, his eighth book, The Wizard of Oz, will be published. Walker is currently writing with Beilharz and Hogan a book called The Vinyl Age: The History of Australian Rock Music, 1945–1995. The interviewers invited Walker to reflect critically on his 35-year ‘career’ as pop avatar, independent writer and critic in the post-war to post-modern Australian popularculture industries. Going from journalism to his path-finding books and television documentaries, the article traces this work’s development both in personal terms and as a symptom of the broader cultural evolution, from the suburbs to pop to art and rock and back again; between London and the provincial cultures of Oz; from one-way American consumerism to local DIY egalitarianism, analogue to digital to global dialogue, youth culture to multi-culturalism, and from the putative low brow to the legimitization process itself of popularculture. (shrink)
‘Popularculture’ has two Japanese translations: taishu bunka and minshu bunka. Bunka embraces the entire concept of ‘culture,’ but ‘popular’ isn't so easily translated. Taishu means a large number (tai) of population or groups (shu), while minshu means groups (shu) of ordinary people (min). Thus, minshu bunka is a more faithful translation of 'popularculture’ than taishu bunka. Yet, the expression minshu bunka does not occur as frequently as taishu bunka. This means that, in (...) thejapanese context, ‘popularculture’ is generally regarded as ‘mass culture.’ Only when the difference is intentionally stressed does the term of minshu bunka reappear. This is not a mere language problem but derives from the very process by which minshu bunka becomes taishu bunka. (shrink)
The article is a critical response to Stefán Snævarr’s “Pragmatism and PopularCulture: Shusterman, Popular Art, and the Challenge of Visuality.”In its first part, I attempt to prove that several of Snævarr’s claims about popularculture and new media, which form the basic premises of his diagnosis of the alleged intellectual decline of the West, are either dubious or wrong. Moreover, in the context of this diagnosis, Snævarr levels some serious accusations against Richard Shusterman’s theory (...) of popularculture, which, I believe, are ungrounded and do not do justice to the latter’s approach. Henceforth, the remainder of the article is devoted to explaining in which aspects Snævarr’s interpretation of Richard Shusterman’s theory is misguided. (shrink)
The article is a response to criticism of my two recent articles on Richard Shusterman’s view of popularculture by Shusterman and Małecki. The former maintains that I have misrepresented his view on Europe, the USA and popularculture. But I point out that he talks as if there is no popularculture in Europe due to Europe’s aristocratic traditions, and that the USA is a hotbed of popularculture thanks to its (...) egalitarian traditions, and that Europe can be treated as a country comparable to the USA. He also says that I falsely think he is talking about popularculture while he is really talking about popular art. But I show that it is meaningless to talk about popular art without talking about popularculture and that as a pragmatist Shusterman should have understood that. I show that Małecki grossly misrepresents my article, maintaining that I am against all forms of popular art and against everything Shusterman says about popular art. I show that this is blatantly wrong. (shrink)
Circulation of ideas among philosophers is the core of Philosophy itself. The lack of this circulation can lead to obscurantism and cultural provincialism. The latter, for instance, afflicted Italy during the first half of the 20th century because of the close-minded neo-idealism of Croce and the mutual indifference of science and philosophy. Antonio Gramsci tried to overcome the problem of provincialism. In this essay, I explain how he attempted to overcome it. I focus on his conceptual categories like heg emony, (...) organic intellectual, national-popular and so on. (shrink)
Nihilism, American style -- The quest for evil -- The negative zone : suburban familial malaise in American beauty, Revolutionary road, and Mad men -- Normal nihilism as comic : Seinfeld, Trainspotting, and Pulp fiction -- Romanticism and nihilism -- Defense against the dark arts : from Se7en to the Dark knight and Harry Potter -- God got involved : sacred quests and overcoming nihilism -- Feels like the movies.
Hermann von Helmholtz was a leading figure of nineteenth-century European intellectual life, remarkable even among the many scientists of the period for the range and depth of his interests. A pioneer of physiology and physics, he was also deeply concerned with the implications of science for philosophy and culture. From the 1850s to the 1890s, Helmholtz delivered more than two dozen popular lectures, seeking to educate the public and to enlighten the leaders of European society and governments about (...) the potential benefits of science and technology to a developing modern society. David Cahan has selected fifteen of these lectures, which reflect the wide range of topics of crucial importance to Helmholtz and his audiences. Among the subjects discussed are the origins of the planetary system, the relation of natural science to science in general, the aims and progress of the physical sciences, the problems of perception, and academic freedom in German universities. This collection also includes Helmholtz's fascinating lectures on the relation of optics to painting and the physiological causes of harmony in music, which provide insight into the relations between science and aesthetics. Science and Culture makes available again Helmholtz's eloquent arguments on the usefulness, benefits, and, intellectual pleasures of understanding the natural world. With Cahan's Introduction to set these essays in their broader context, this collection makes an important contribution to the philosophical and intellectual history of Europe at a time when science played an increasingly significant role in social, economic, and cultural life. (shrink)
The idea for this paper started with an image that is likely wholly imaginary but interesting nonetheless. It's the late 1920s in New York City. John Dewey, after a busy day of teaching and working through the notes that will eventually become Individualism Old and New, leaves his office at Columbia University. Instead of turning south toward home, he turns north and east, into Harlem. He strolls for a bit, turns up 7th Ave., and stops in front of the Regent (...) Theatre. He goes inside, takes off his coat, and catches the early showing of The Lights of New York. Fifty-seven minutes later, he leaves the Regent. He heads home, has a bite to eat with his daughter, but still feels restless. After dinner, he puts on his .. (shrink)
Figuring Animals is a collection of fifteen essays concerning the representation of animals in literature, the visual arts, philosophy, and cultural practice. At the turn of the new century, it is helpful to reconsider our inherited understandings of the species, some of which are still useful to us. It is also important to look ahead to new understandings and new dialogue, which may contribute to the survival of us all. The contributors to this volume participate in this dialogue in a (...) variety of ways--through personal experience, natural history, cultural studies, philosophical inquiry, art history, literary analysis, film studies, and theoretical imagining, and through a combination of these trains of thought. The essays expose weaknesses in western epistemological frames of reference that for centuries have limited our views and, thus, our experiences of animal being, including our own. (shrink)
This book introduces the critical concepts and debates that are shaping the emerging field of game studies. Exploring games in the context of cultural studies and media studies, it analyses computer games as the most popular contemporary form of new media production and consumption. The book: Argues for the centrality of play in redefining reading, consuming and creating culture Offers detailed research into the political economy of games to generate a model of new media production Examines the dynamics (...) of power in relation to both the production and consumption of computer games This is key reading for students, academics and industry practitioners in the fields of cultural studies, new media, media studies and game studies, as well as human-computer interaction and cyberculture. (shrink)
Boys, Boyz, Bois concerns questions of ethics, gender and race in popular American images, national discourse and cultural production by and about black men. The book proposes an ethics of masculinity, as ethnics refers to a system of morality and valuation and as ethics refers to a care of the self and ethical subject formation. The texts of analysis include recent films by black/African American filmmakers, gansta rap and hip-hop and black star persona: texts ranging from Blaxploitation and New (...) Black Cinema to contemporary music video to autobiography and the public image of Sidney Poitier. The book is a significant contribution to cultural studies and gender studies and critical race theory. What is distinctive about the book is the question of ethics as a question of race and gender. (shrink)