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Popular culture studies

Popular culture studies is the academic discipline studying popular culture from a critical theory perspective. It is generally considered as a combination of communication studies and cultural studies. The first department to offer Popular Culture bachelor's and master's degrees is the Bowling Green State University Department of Popular Culture which was founded by Ray B. Browne.

Following the work of the Frankfurt School, popular culture has come to be taken more seriously as a terrain of academic inquiry and has also helped to change the outlooks of more established disciplines. Conceptual barriers between so-called high and low culture have broken down, accompanying an explosion in scholarly interest in popular culture, which encompasses such diverse media as comic books, television, and the Internet. Reevaluation of mass culture in the 1970s and 1980s has revealed significant problems with the traditional view of mass culture as degraded and elite culture as uplifting. Divisions between high and low culture have been increasingly seen as political distinctions rather than defensible aesthetic or intellectual ones.

Mass society formed during the 19th-century industrialization process through the division of labor, the large-scale industrial organization, the concentration of urban populations, the growing centralization of decision making, the development of a complex and international communication system and the growth of mass political movements. The term "mass society", therefore, was introduced by anticapitalist, aristocratic ideologists and used against the values and practices of industrialized society. Theories of popular culture are often subjected to bias and originate from a generalist perspective.

  • Theodor W. Adorno, 1973-1986: Gesammelte Schriften, Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp.
  • Houston Baker, 1989: "Handling Crisis", paper read at the Symposium Cultural Literacy in the Media Age: The Clash of Values, at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, August 1989.
  • Roland Barthes, 1957: Mythologies, Paris: Editions du Seuil.
  • Thomas L. Bonn, 1989: Heavy Traffic and High Culture. New American Library as Literary Gatekeeper in the Paperback Revolution, Carbondale/Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press.
  • Pierre Bourdieu 1971: "Le marché des biens symboliques", in L'année sociologique 22:49-126.
  • Pierre Bourdieu: Ce que parler veut dire. L'économie des échanges linguistiques, Paris: Fayard.
  • Noël Carroll, A Philosophy of Mass Art, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Jim Collins, 1989: Uncommon Cultures. Popular Culture and Post-Modernism, New York/London: Routledge.
  • Durham, Meenakshi G.; Kellner, Douglas M. (2012). Media and cultural studies: keyworks. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN . 
  • Umberto Eco, 1986: Travels in Hyperreality, New York: Harcourt.
  • Umberto Eco, 1988 (1964, 1978): The Structure of Bad Taste, Amsterdam: Bert Bakker.
  • Alain Finkielkraut, 1987: La défaite de la pensée, Paris: Gallimard.
  • Charles Grivel, 1973: Production de l'intérêt romanesque, The Hague/Paris: Mouton.
  • Martin Gloger, 2012: The New Spirit of Capitalism in Popular Culture: A Comparative Analysis Focusing on Contemporary Coming-Of-Age-Cinema. In: M. Arnold & P. Łukasik (Eds.), Europe and America in the Mirror: Culture, Economy, and History. Kraków: NOMOS, pp. 165– 182.
  • Jürgen Habermas, 1981: Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns, Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp.
  • Tania Modleski, 1986: "The Terror of Pleasure. The Contemporary Horror Film and Postmodern Theory", in Tania Modleski (ed.), Studies in Entertainment. Critical Approaches to Mass Culture, Bloomington/Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 155-167.
  • Chandra Mukerji & Michael Schudson, 1991 (eds.), Rethinking Popular Culture, University of California Press
  • Thomas J. Roberts, 1990: An Aesthetics of Junk Fiction, Athens (Georgia)/London: University of Georgia Press.
  • Clem Robyns, 1991: "Beyond the first dimension: recent tendencies in popular culture studies", in Joris Vlasselaers (Ed.) The Prince and the Frog, Leuven: ALW.
  • Clem Robyns, 1995: "Defending the National Identity", In Andreas Poltermann (Ed.) Literaturkanon, Medienereignis, Kultureller Text. Berlin: Erich Schmidt.
  • Andrew Ross, 1989: No Respect. Intellectuals and Popular Culture, New York/London: Routledge.
  • Barbara Smith, 1988: Contingencies of Value: Alternative Perspectives for Critical Theory, Cambridge (Mass.)/London: Harvard University Press.
  • Alan Swingewood, 1977: The Myth of Mass Culture, London: Macmillan.


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