An Introduction to Theories of Popular Culture Second Edition Dominic Strinati LONDON AND NEW YORK First published by Routledge Second edition. Dominic Strinati provides a critical assessment of the ways in which these theories have tried to understand and evaluate popular culture in modern societies. Read the full-text online edition of An Introduction to Theories of Popular Culture ( ). to Theories of Popular Culture. By Dominic Strinati. No cover image.

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The School does not deny that capitalism contains internal contradictions; for Adorno, the art of dialectical thinking necessarily involves identifying these contradictions.

An introduction to theories of popular culture

They appeared to accept that a specifically working- class revolution was no longer possible, and accounted for this by means of the distinction between false and true needs, although the latter was expressed in abstract and universal terms.

The fact that this revolution failed to materialise did not lead the Frankfurt School theorists to question the basis upon which it had been predicted in the first place. The real problem sometimes seems to be that mass culture, unlike folk culture, refuses to stay in its place and stick with the masses, but has pretensions beyond its station and merits; it refuses to recognise traditional hierarchies of taste, and the cultural distinctions generated by those at the top.

To refrain would be to exercise a severer self-discipline than even the strongest-minded are likely to practise, for only the unusually self-disciplined can fight against their environment and only the unusually self-aware could perceive the necessity of doing so.

You already recently rated this item. It has equally to be noted that the spy novel may not be as representative as Hebdige suggests, in that it is a genre of popular fiction which has tended to be dominated by British writers. This means that music, like most popular culture, cannot introdcution treated as if it were just another commercial product.

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To indicate the relevance of this to the themes of this chapter we can quote a leading theorist of mass culture: Popular culture cannot be analysed in its own terms but only by the language of a theory which protects itself against contamination by its obscurity.


What may appear to be a sign of cultural control may merely be a more efficient way xtrinati doing something necessary.

The culture industry intentionally integrates its consumers from above. It has been strintai that the concept of mass culture provides a picture of a debased, trivialised, superficial, artificial and standardised culture which saps the strength of folk and high culture, and challenges the intellectual arbitration introductioj cultural taste. They argued that the dominance of false needs for the products of the culture industry securely incorporated the working class into the major institutions of capitalist societies, thereby suppressing its real need.

If functional artefacts are purchased and found to be useful, then they will be purchased again when required. It is not that difficult to find early examples of anti- American sentiment.

We now have to consider more fully the implications of these differences, and the meaning of the idea of mass culture. The role of this elite, this conscious minority, is two-fold. Nor need it be closed to changes. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers.

However, in doing this it broke with some of his major arguments. Star Koonts rated it liked it Sep 04, The development of the study of popular culture has been based upon the contributions of a number of different theoriess. Cancel Forgot your cukture A society dominated by commodity fetishism, exchange value and the culture industry, and whose language is similarly tainted, can only be understood by a language which resists fetishism, ideology and the market. Without appropriate mediatory organisations, individuals are vulnerable to manipulation and exploitation by core institutions such as the mass media and popular culture.

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In all its branches, products which are tailored for consumption by masses, and which to a great extent determine the nature of that consumption, are manufactured more or less according to plan… This is made possible by contemporary technical capabilities as well as by economic and administrative concentration.


This involves endowing cultural mass production with the halo of free choice or open market on the basis of standardization itself. Thus, the argument Hebdige makes may not be as easy to substantiate as he appears to suggest.

Mass culture polular this hierarchy. The greatly increased mass of participants has produced a change in the mode of participation.

Add a review and share your thoughts with other readers. The idea here is that popular songs come to sound more and more like each other. The standards which Adorno uses to discriminate between cultures are exemplified by his conception of the universal values of classical and avant-garde music. Joana Calbang rated it it was amazing Jul 07, What would the fulfilment of real needs involve? Why should the need for a consumer good such as a washing machine be defined as a false need?

Marxism, Political Economy and Ideology– 5. For Adorno, people want standardized goods and pseudo-individualization, because their leisure is an escape from work and at the same time is moulded after those psychological attitudes to which their workaday world exclusively habituates them…there is…a pre-established harmony today between production and consumption of popular music.

This stance is even less surprising when it is realised how much common ground the School shares with mass culture theory. Among the theories and ideas the book introduces are mass culture, the Frankfurt School and the culture industry, semiology and structuralism, Marxism, feminism, postmodernism and cultural populism. It has done this by relating it to the theory of mass society with which it shares much in common.