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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Deconstructing Popular Culture

ISBN 9780230545366
Publication Date September 2008
Formats Paperback Hardcover 
Publisher Palgrave

Popular culture permeates every aspect of our lives: from the music we listen to, the films and television shows we watch and the books we read. But who decides what counts as popular culture? Why is it so important? And how do we go about studying it?

This book provides a comprehensive introduction to popular culture and examines the problems and possibilities of studying this fast changing field. Employing a unique approach, Bowman uses techniques of deconstruction to unpick, analyse and deconstruct contemporary examples of popular culture. The book looks at music, Hollywood film and the self-help movement to question claims behind the importance of popular culture and encourage readers to form their own interpretations of the culture they experience every day.

With theory interwoven throughout, but in a way that is barely noticeable to the reader, the book provides covers the important theoretical work in the field, whilst directing the reader through ways to avoid common pitfalls in studying theory. An innovative user guide and glossary explain essential terms and ideas, making difficult concepts relevant, accessible and interesting. This witty, thought-provoking book provides a clear, novel introduction to popular culture for all students of cultural studies, media studies and sociology

PAUL BOWMAN is Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies at Cardiff University. His previous books include Interrogating Cultural Studies, Post-Marxism versus Cultural Studies and The Truth of Žižek.

User Guide: At A Glance
Introduction: Deconstructing 'the Popular'
PART 1: Inversion
Help Me If You Can, I'm Feeling Down: Deconstructing Self-Help
Can I help you? Deconstructing(,) Words& Music
Ghost Dog: The Deconstruction of Identity
Street Fetishism: Popular Politics and Deconstruction
PART 2: Displacement
Counter-Culture versus Counter-Culture
Other-Wise Popular
McDeconstruction, the Popular: Deconstructing 'Deconstructing'
Alterdisciplinarity: Deconstructing Popular Cultural Studies
Appendix: Supplement: An (Incomplete) Glossary of (Impossible) Terms


Deconstructing Popular Culture is an accessible, funny and stimulating introduction to popular culture and cultural studies. This is a book with both a passionate argument and a rare skill in making the 'fine print' of complex theoretical arguments accessible.' – Richard Stamp, Senior Lecturer of Media and Cultural Studies, Bath Spa University, UK
'Bowman writes very much as though he is speaking directly to a group of undergraduates: it engages them where they live. This book is an extraordinarily significant achievement.' – John Mowitt, Professor of Cultural Studies, University of Minnesota, USA
' ... an engaging textbook ... ' Times Higher Education
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