Cover image for Understanding popular culture
Title:
Understanding popular culture
Author:
Fiske, John.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Unwin Hyman, 1989.
Physical Description:
xi, 206 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780044454380

9780044454397
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library CB151 .F574 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Central Library CB151 .F574 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

This study attempts to outline a theory of popular culture in capitalist societies. It is published simultaneously, and as an extension of, Reading the Popular, an analysis of key sites and texts where culture is made, ranging from the beach to Madonna, from TV News to Sears Tower.


Summary

What is popular culture? How does it differ from mass culture? And what does popular "text" reveal about class, race, and gender dynamics in a society? In this bestselling work, Prof. Fiske takes a new approach to studying cultural artifacts.


Author Notes

John Fiske was born in Hartford, Connecticut on March 30, 1842. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1865, he opened a law practice in Boston but soon turned to writing. His career as an author began in 1861, with an article on "Mr. Buckle's Fallacies," published in the National Quarterly Review. Since that time he had been a frequent contributor to American and British periodicals.

Early in his career Fiske also achieved popularity as a lecturer on history and in his later life was occupied mostly with that field. In 1869 to 1871 he was University lecturer on philosophy at Harvard, in 1870 an instructor in history there, and in 1872 to 1879, assistant librarian. On resigning as librarian in 1879, he was elected as a member of the board of overseers, and at the end of the six year term, was reelected in 1885. Since 1881 he had lectured annually on American history at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, and since 1884 had held a professorship of American history there. He lectured on American history at University College, London, in 1879, and at the Royal institution of Great Britain in 1880.

A large part of his life had been devoted to the study of history; but at an early age, inquiries into the nature of human evolution led him to carefully study the doctrine of evolution, and it was of this popularization of European evolutionary theory that the public first knew him.

Fiske's historical writings include The Critical Period of American History, 1783-1789, The Beginnings of New England, The American Revolution, The Discovery of America, Old Virginia and Her Neighbors, Dutch and Quaker Colonies in America, The Mississippi Valley in the Civil War, and New France and New England.

John Fiske died in 1901.

(Bowker Author Biography)


John Fiske was born in Hartford, Connecticut on March 30, 1842. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1865, he opened a law practice in Boston but soon turned to writing. His career as an author began in 1861, with an article on "Mr. Buckle's Fallacies," published in the National Quarterly Review. Since that time he had been a frequent contributor to American and British periodicals.

Early in his career Fiske also achieved popularity as a lecturer on history and in his later life was occupied mostly with that field. In 1869 to 1871 he was University lecturer on philosophy at Harvard, in 1870 an instructor in history there, and in 1872 to 1879, assistant librarian. On resigning as librarian in 1879, he was elected as a member of the board of overseers, and at the end of the six year term, was reelected in 1885. Since 1881 he had lectured annually on American history at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, and since 1884 had held a professorship of American history there. He lectured on American history at University College, London, in 1879, and at the Royal institution of Great Britain in 1880.

A large part of his life had been devoted to the study of history; but at an early age, inquiries into the nature of human evolution led him to carefully study the doctrine of evolution, and it was of this popularization of European evolutionary theory that the public first knew him.

Fiske's historical writings include The Critical Period of American History, 1783-1789, The Beginnings of New England, The American Revolution, The Discovery of America, Old Virginia and Her Neighbors, Dutch and Quaker Colonies in America, The Mississippi Valley in the Civil War, and New France and New England.

John Fiske died in 1901.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Choice Review

What do denim jeans, television game shows, jello wrestling, sensationalistic journalism, and shopping malls have in common? They are all examples used by John Fiske to support his intriguing analysis of popular culture. Like Herbert Gains in his Popular Culture and High Culture (1974), Fiske argues that popular culture has positive value and should not be denigrated as an act of hegemonic mass control. In fact, popular culture is created not by the cultural industry, but by the people, active agents who construct popular meaning when the social relationships of the consumer intersect with the discursive structure of the object of consumption. Popular culture is thus the generation and circulation of meanings and pleasures within a social system. However, this process reflects power struggle. Fiske asserts that much of popular culture represents a struggle between the power of the dominant system and the various forms of resistance and/or evasion that emerge during the consumption of cultural commodities. Fiske develops a theory of everyday life that focuses on the creative, specific uses to which commodities are put. The author draws heavily on European scholars to support his theory which at times is somewhat obtuse though never boring. A companion volume, Reading the Popular (1989), provides examples to Fiske's argument. Upper-divison undergraduates and above. J. Lynxwiler University of Central Florida


Choice Review

What do denim jeans, television game shows, jello wrestling, sensationalistic journalism, and shopping malls have in common? They are all examples used by John Fiske to support his intriguing analysis of popular culture. Like Herbert Gains in his Popular Culture and High Culture (1974), Fiske argues that popular culture has positive value and should not be denigrated as an act of hegemonic mass control. In fact, popular culture is created not by the cultural industry, but by the people, active agents who construct popular meaning when the social relationships of the consumer intersect with the discursive structure of the object of consumption. Popular culture is thus the generation and circulation of meanings and pleasures within a social system. However, this process reflects power struggle. Fiske asserts that much of popular culture represents a struggle between the power of the dominant system and the various forms of resistance and/or evasion that emerge during the consumption of cultural commodities. Fiske develops a theory of everyday life that focuses on the creative, specific uses to which commodities are put. The author draws heavily on European scholars to support his theory which at times is somewhat obtuse though never boring. A companion volume, Reading the Popular (1989), provides examples to Fiske's argument. Upper-divison undergraduates and above. J. Lynxwiler University of Central Florida


Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction
The Jeaning of America
Commodities and Culture
Productive Pleasures
Offensive Bodies and Carnival Pleasures
Popular Texts
Popular Discrimination Politics
References
Index
Acknowledgements
Introduction
The Jeaning of America
Commodities and Culture
Productive Pleasures
Offensive Bodies and Carnival Pleasures
Popular Texts
Popular Discrimination Politics
References
Index

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