Digital data inundation has far-reaching implications for: disciplinary jurisdiction; the relationship between the academy, commerce and the state; and the very nature of the sociological imagination. Hitherto much of the discussion about these matters has tended to focus on ‘transactional’ data held within large and complex commercial and government databases. This emphasis has been quite understandable – such transactional data does indeed form a crucial part of the informational infrastructures that are now emerging. However, in recent years new sources of (...) data have become available that possess a rather different character. This is data generated in the cultural sphere, not only as a result of routine transactions with various digital media but also as a result of what some would want to view as a shift towards popular cultural forms dominated by processes of what has been termed prosumption. Our analytic focus here is on contemporary prosumption practices, digital technologies, the public life of data and the playful vitality of many of the ‘glossy topics’ that constitute contemporary popularculture. (shrink)
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)
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.
The eighteenth century was an era in which science came to play a major role in the cultural ideal of the city elite. The phenomenon of the ‘gentleman-scientist’ arose: a layman without a scientific education who for a variety of often socially desirable reasons devoted himself to scientific endeavours. Scientific instruments were the tools for this interest. This article describes the introduction, diffusion, and construction in the Netherlands of one of the most prominent eighteenth-century instruments: the reflecting telescope. The reception (...) of this instrument casts new light on the usually almost invisible network of gentleman-scientists and instrument-makers in this region. The specific economic and political factors of the Netherlands led to a totally different development of this instrument compared with the ‘motherland’ England. Whereas in Great Britain the reflecting telescope was a great success well into the nineteenth century, in the Netherlands it became a symbol of technical inability and stagnation. (shrink)
The most common definitions of popularculture suffer from a presentist bias and cannot be applied to pre-industrial and pre-capitalist societies. A survey reveals serious conceptual difficulties as well. We may, however, gain insight in two ways. 1) By moving from a Marxist model to a more Weberian approach . 2) By looking to Bourdieu’s “cultural capital” and Danto’s and Dickie’s “Institutional Theory of Art,” and defining popularculture as “unauthorized culture.”.
This brief but ambitious book explores our relationship with nature through the imagery we use when we talk about Mother Nature. Employing the critical tools of religious studies, psychology, and gender studies, Catherine M. Roach examines the various manifestations of nature as "mother" and what that idea implies for the way we approach the natural world. Part One, "Nature as Good Mother," discusses the notion that nature is, or is like, a beneficent and nurturing mother who provides and maintains life. (...) In studying the "green" slogan "Love Your Mother," Roach questions the effects—for women and for the environment—of imputing female gender to nature. She asks us to look at the associations that "motherhood" and "mothering" carry within a culture still shaped by patriarchy. She notes the danger of such an apparently pro-environmental slogan if "mother" evokes the bountiful, self-sacrificing provider who herself requires no care. Part Two, "Nature as Bad Mother," looks at the contrary notion of nature as a violent, threatening, and wrathful mother. This image arises most often when humans and technology are depicted as masters of unruly nature. Here Roach draws on theological reflection to analyze this ambivalence toward nature manifested in a fantasy that casts humans as gods. She explores the contributions of eco-theology and eco-psychology to a "heart of darkness" perspective. Finally, Part Three, "Nature as Hurt Mother," looks at possibilities and pitfalls of environmental healing inherent in the image of nature as a mother we have wounded and now seek to heal. (shrink)
The exploration of popularculture topics by academic philosophers for non-academic audiences has given rise to a distinctive genre of philosophical writing. Edited volumes with titles such as Black Sabbath and Philosophy or Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy contain chapters by multiple philosophical authors that attempt to bring philosophy to popular audiences. Two dominant models have emerged in the genre. On the pedagogical model, authors use popularculture examples to teach the reader philosophy. The (...) end is to promote philosophical literacy, defined as acquaintance with the key problems, ideas, and figures in the history of philosophy. In contrast, on the applied philosophy model, authors use philosophy to open up new dimensions of the popularculture topic for fans. The end is to illustrate the value of philosophy in understanding the popularculture topic, and ultimately, to demonstrate the value of philosophy in general. Taking stock of the relative strengths and weaknesses of these two models provides an opportunity to reflect more broadly on whether, why, and how philosophers should engage the public. (shrink)
In recent times it has seemed to many people as if the unifying impact of mass forms of popularculture has been overshadowed by the postmodernism of cultural pluralism, identity politics, niche marketing and lifestyle diversity. Using insights from psychoanalysis, this new book suggests that powerful forces may still be at work extending and deepening their hold on popular experience through the unifying forms of modern culture. The practices and aesthetic codes of popularculture (...) provide ways of confronting and managing the basic psychic tensions and anxieties of modern life, appealing globally across the deep divides of class, gender and ethnicity. In a series of extended illustrations, Barry Richards explores the emotional underpinnings of the rise of football as the 'people's game', the appeal of the motor car and other consumer goods, the strategies of advertising, the cultural predominance of pop music, and popular images of the countryside. While each phenomenon has a range of meanings of its own, the illustrations reveal the common positive side of these cultural forms, which serve as vehicles for psychological integration. At the core of this book is the idea that the pleasures of popularculture are at their strongest and best when they confirm our sense of belonging in the social order. Despite the constraint and disappointment inevitably involved in this, the reconciliation with authority which it brings is vital for the containment of the anxieties with which we all struggle. Disciplines of Delight reveals how psychoanalytic thinking can add to social understanding and is an original contribution to current debates on the nature of contemporary society. (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)
This paper examines the nexus between popularculture and the problem of corruption in Nigeria within the theoretical framework of the Socratic dictum that “the unexamined life is not worth living”. The paper argues that corruption is a social behavior that is propelled by popularculture and sustained by skewed application of logical thinking in critical decision making. Hence, the paper posits that formal education remains the bedrock upon which corruption can be curtailed and also equips (...) people with logical tools to examine their actions as individuals and its consequences on the larger society. (shrink)
Historically, American political science has rarely engaged popularculture as a central topic of study, despite the domain’s outsized influence in American community life. This article argues that this marginalization is, in part, the by-product of long-standing disciplinary debates over the inadequate political development of the American public. To develop this argument, the article first surveys the work of early political scientists, such as John Burgess and Woodrow Wilson, to show that their reformist ambitions largely precluded discussion of (...) mundane activities of social life such as popularculture. It then turns to Harold Lasswell, who produced some of the first investigations of popularculture in American political science. Ironically, however, his work – and the work of those who adapted similar ways of speaking about popularculture after him – only reinforced skepticisms concerning the American public. It has thus helped keep the topic on the margins of disciplinary discourse. (shrink)
This paper contributes to the Business Ethics literature by unpacking the multimodal construction of moral narratives in popularculture and its portrayals of organizations and organizational roles. Understanding such portrayals and their construction is crucial to Business Ethics scholarship because they shape organizational imaginaries, influencing understandings and expectations of the ethical/moral responsibilities of organizations and the actors within them. In particular, we study the construction of moral narratives within a reality TV show that focuses on immigration and border (...) control at an airport. We find that the immigration officers are depicted as rational and heroic figures whilst the travellers are presented as emotional and potentially dangerous characters. Our analysis highlights how this is achieved via five multimodal editing dimensions—the structure of interactional scenes, the ability to address the camera, the narrator’s comments, the visual and music effects—that are key in constructing clearly defined personae. We show how, through the intersubjective construction of clear-cut characters, the show downplays the moral complexity of its content. Portraying immigration officers as heroic, while presenting travellers as potentially dangerous, allows for a silencing of any ethical questioning of immigration officers’ organizational practices. (shrink)
This paper questions the meaning of popularculture under the auspices of modernity. The late transition and extension of modernity is technology. This eventual process is characterized by material culture. However, it is difficult to ignore the moment of postmodernity when the effects of the transition and the products themselves have given impetus to new constellations of discursive formation. The visual culture tends to dominate the scheme of things in popularculture. It is argued (...) in this paper that popularculture operates through four rationalities; namely, dispersion, segmentation, integration, and extension. The first three are called the intention/logic of mass culture. The last element, however, speaks of the transition from modern to postmodern. From location to bilocation and virtual location—the entire route of cultural turns has made the possibility of postmodern regimented bodies through the television. (shrink)
ETHICS IS ABUNDANT IN POPULARCULTURE—IN RADIO TALK SHOWS, television, films, moral advice columns, books and workshops on popular psychology and spirituality, and other venues. This essay explores the ways in which ethics is presented in three select popular settings; the ethical questions addressed in those settings; the moral theories, perspectives, and values that are privileged in opinions offered; and the judgments that are proffered. Of special interest to professional ethicists are the ways in which ethics (...) in popularculture participates in the ways ethics is done in the academy and the ways in which popular media frame and foster ethics differently from the ways the academy does. This article was the Presidential Address at the 2004 Society of Christian Ethics annual meeting in Chicago. (shrink)
In this paper, I study how mathematicians are presented in western popularculture. I identify five stereotypes that I test on the best-known modern movies and television shows containing a significant amount of mathematics or important mathematician characters: (1) Mathematics is highly valued as an intellectual pursuit. (2) Little attention is given to the mathematical content. (3) Mathematical practice is portrayed in an unrealistic way. (4) Mathematicians are asocial and unable to enjoy normal life. (5) Higher mathematics is (...) ... (shrink)
Recently I saw a corporate TV advertisement for the American television network ABC. It showed brief shots of people in other countries—France, Japan, Russia and so on. These people were doing all kinds of things, but they weren't watching television. Americans, the commentary told us, watch more TV than any of these people. Yet America is the richest, most innovative, most productive nation on the planet. ‘A coincidence’, concluded the wry, confident voice, ‘we don't think so’.
These four volumes are part of the forty-one volume set _New Accents_. First launched in 1977, the New Accents series rapidly changed the face of literary studies. Its clear and concise volumes brought the latest in literary theory to students and academics and paved the way for undergraduate teaching on essential new topics and approaches.
Philosophy and Love introduces readers to philosophical reflections on love from Plato to the present. Bringing philosophy together with popular cultural analysis, Linnell Secomb provides an interesting and engaging account of theories of love throughout history. Along the way, reflections on same-sex desire, cross-cultural love, and internet romance are considered against the ideas of Nietzsche, Beauvoir, Irigaray, Derrida, and Fanon, and other contemporary cultural commentators on the human condition. The work also looks at cultural productions of love ranging from (...) Sappho to Frankenstein by focusing on archetypal stories of love and love gone wrong. Philosophy and Love reveals an ethics and politics of love that discloses the paradoxes, conflicts, and intensity of human love relations. (shrink)