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Popular Culture: Introductory Perspectives

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What is pop culture? Why do we so often hate to love it and love to hate it? What makes us embrace parts of it and not others? This title explores our human desire for meaning and the need to symbolize it in music, language, art, and other creative forms. It offers a variety of perspectives to help us understand the products of popular culture.


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What is pop culture? Why do we so often hate to love it and love to hate it? What makes us embrace parts of it and not others? This title explores our human desire for meaning and the need to symbolize it in music, language, art, and other creative forms. It offers a variety of perspectives to help us understand the products of popular culture.

30 review for Popular Culture: Introductory Perspectives

  1. 4 out of 5

    Zack

    Danesi's book is a brief look at the history of pop culture studies and the formation of contemporary thinking about culture. It's real use is as an undergraduate introduction to the topic, and so it really can't be faulted for any major omissions, though the treatment of some subjects does feel unnecessarily brief and somewhat lacking. Decisions about what to include in the film section, for instance, feel somewhat arbitrary. That being said, the book is written at a great level for its intende Danesi's book is a brief look at the history of pop culture studies and the formation of contemporary thinking about culture. It's real use is as an undergraduate introduction to the topic, and so it really can't be faulted for any major omissions, though the treatment of some subjects does feel unnecessarily brief and somewhat lacking. Decisions about what to include in the film section, for instance, feel somewhat arbitrary. That being said, the book is written at a great level for its intended audience, and the form factor is that of a normal book, not a textbook, which certainly makes it more enjoyable to read. The weirdest part of the book is Danesi's unwavering commitment to Marshall McLuhan, which comes through somehow in every chapter of the book. Not saying that McLuhan isn't great, I love him and agree with most of his work, but it's incredibly clear throughout that Danesi is remarkably biased towards McLuhan's work and doesn't engage as much with other scholars, which somewhat limits the book's overall perspective and reach.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Naragon

    Completely disliked this book. The only reason I purchased it is because it was required reading material for a college course. For this avid reader--while it was informative--it lacked creativity, and was a boring read. It read like stereo instructions with an erratic flow. I struggled staying awake while reading every chapter.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Renee Dupree

    It uses a lot of historical references, so it will be a keeper in my library.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sheng

    Popular Culture: Introductory Perspectives is a brave attempt by Marcel Danesi in tackling the hugely intimidating and puzzling topic that is popular culture, or pop culture. Danesi takes the clever approach of organising his chapters via the media that pop culture has been transmitted and shared over to the public, such as print, television and even advertising. Taking a look through the history of the medium and the subsequent pop culture phenomenons of each era that happened or spread through Popular Culture: Introductory Perspectives is a brave attempt by Marcel Danesi in tackling the hugely intimidating and puzzling topic that is popular culture, or pop culture. Danesi takes the clever approach of organising his chapters via the media that pop culture has been transmitted and shared over to the public, such as print, television and even advertising. Taking a look through the history of the medium and the subsequent pop culture phenomenons of each era that happened or spread through the masses as a result of the medium, Danesi attempts to link why some trends became popular with the crowds. The book was definitely informative and very detailed, giving a plethora of pop culture examples (where there are thousands to choose from) that defined an era or time during the last two centuries. Danesi also takes note of the increasing homogenisation of pop culture across the world due to globalisation and fundementally the proliferation of similar media across the globe, although each country or localised area still has their individual celebrities and pop culture trends that are unique to them. The use of media to organise the discussion of pop culture was neat but it left some questions unanswered. While the media certainly spreads the idea of what is desirable or cool to the public, who decides on these ideas? Clearly those who control the media are capable of determining the next trends but what sticks with the public and what doesn't? Danesi offers the reasoning that why we enjoy pop culture was that it was cathartic and allowed to us enjoy in the profane or what traditional society deemed as vulgar or undesirable. It gave us a pathway into exploring areas like emotion and sexuality which seems to explain most of what catches on with the public. As to why trends change over the years, such as the transition from disco to punk, Danesi credits it to the youth (arguably the largest influencers or determinants of the pop culture trends of any era) outgrowing their phases and the next generation deeming old trends as uncool. It is a decent enough explanation though it becomes counter-intuitive when retro trends take place due to nostalgia or other ideals. The best part of the book was the introduction where Danesi gives a good discussion about the impressions and general views of pop culture. It is largely looked down upon, deeming it as low-class or inferior to high-brow culture like classical music. What I found really thought-provoking was that pop culture is actually a way for the masses to determine their own taste and choose their own likes and dislikes, freeing themselves from the control of those in power. This is true when trends like punk were essentially counter-culture, going against the general norm set out by tradition or those on top in society. Also, those who usually deem pop culture as inferior can be seen as an elitist mindset, such as university professors who slam it. An ironic part of pop culture is that it is deemed inferior to things like classical music or opera which is linked to more cultured or refined tastes. However, when these things were first introduced way back in the 1700s or 1800s, they were meant to cater to the public tastes and wide demand. Composers who tried to be part of pop culture are now looked as superior to pop culture of the present. This was definitely eye-opening and odd to think about as well. Overall, this book had a great opening but across the chapters, it started to feel as if Danesi was giving a look at pop culture across the ages and more could have been offered as to why they caught fire across the public. Some of his explanations were weird or perhaps overthought, such as his examination of rap music or slang. It was a good attempt in general to tackle this behemoth of a topic and it is an introduction after all so he cannot be faulted too much. 3/5

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rebekka Istrail

    Contains useful chronologies of communications and entertainment history.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Oana Stefanita

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Lackey

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rae

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Scherzer

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rahul Singh

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

  12. 5 out of 5

    Charlène

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Thomas

  14. 5 out of 5

    K.naresh

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jean-Michel Berthiaume

  16. 4 out of 5

    Trudy

  17. 4 out of 5

    Albert

  18. 5 out of 5

    Abigail

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kurt Criscione

  20. 4 out of 5

    3woodlandcreatures

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jason Chappell

  22. 5 out of 5

    Krista Borrero

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Columbe

  24. 4 out of 5

    Christi

  25. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Moll

  26. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

  27. 5 out of 5

    AJ

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dinda Alfionita

  29. 5 out of 5

    Giulia

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

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