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Popular Culture

Introductory Perspectives, Third Edition

Marcel Danesi

Pop culture surrounds us. Its products are the movies we watch, the music we listen to, and the books we read; they are on our televisions, phones, and computers. We are its fickle friend, loving to hate it and hating to love it. But what, exactly, is it?

Popular Culture: Introductory Perspectives tackles that question by exploring our human desire for meaning and the ways that popular culture embodies meaning. In this core text, Marcel Danesi delves into the social structures that have led to the emergence and spread of pop culture, showing how it validates our common experiences and offering a variety of perspectives on its many modes of delivery into our everyday lives. The third edition features two new chapters: one on the commercial context of pop culture, and another explicitly considering digital culture. New exercises and discussion prompts serve to deepen understanding, while updated examples connect with the current generation of students.
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 342Size: 6 x 9
978-1-4422-4216-6 • Hardback • April 2015 • $89.00 • (£60.00)
978-1-4422-4217-3 • Paperback • April 2015 • $40.00 • (£24.95)
978-1-4422-4218-0 • eBook • April 2015 • $38.00 • (£24.95)
Marcel Danesi is professor of anthropology, semiotics, and communication theory at the University of Toronto.
1What Is Pop Culture?
Defining Pop Culture
Origins and Spread
Pop Culture, Material Culture, and Technology
Features of Pop Culture
Studying Pop Culture
2Explaining Pop Culture
Communications Models
Critical Theories
Psychological and Sociological Theories
Semiotic Approaches
Transgression Theories
3The Business of Pop Culture
The Market for Pop Culture
The Pop Culture Industry
Fad Culture
Celebrity Culture
A Model
4Popular Print Culture
5Radio Culture
Radio Broadcasting
Radio Genres
The Radio Stage
The Importance of Radio in Pop Culture History
6Pop Music
The Advent of Pop Music
Social Change
Pop Music in the Internet Age
7Cinema and Video
Motion Pictures
The Blockbuster
Video Culture
Cinema in the Internet Age
Television Broadcasting
The Comedic and the Real
Television as a Social Text
TV in the Internet Age
9Advertising and Branding
Ad Culture
Advertising in the Internet Age
10Pop Language
What Is Pop Language
Spelling Style
11Online Pop Culture
Back to McLuhan
The Online Stage
Social Media Memes
12Forever Pop
The Show Must Go On
Pop Culture Spread
Pop Culture in the Global Village
Will Pop Culture Survive?
Exercises and Discussion
References and Further Reading
Online Resources
Marcel Danesi has written an essential book on pop culture, both enlightening and entertaining. The third edition of Popular Culture: Introductory Perspectives will be required reading on many a campus this year. And it will prove quite useful whether you take it as part of a course or not. Danesi wastes no time in setting the stage and cutting to the chase: this is serious as well as lively business.
Comics Grinder

With clear organization and easily understandable content, this third edition does a great job of explaining popular culture. It is an excellent introduction and provides solid context for more specialized study; I would certainly recommend it to anyone teaching a popular culture course, or who addresses the topic in their other courses.
Janet McMullen, University of North Alabama

An excellent introduction to the ideas, terminologies, and modes of analysis integral to approaching media from a cultural studies perspective. The book is engaging, easy to understand, and within that wonderful range of being challenging but not out of reach.
Robert Rabe, Marshall University

Articulate, intelligent, and very readable; this straightforward text forms a perfect backbone for any popular culture course. Danesi takes a generous and balanced approach to high, low, and mid cultures and their products and artifacts. Readers will appreciate how he opens the door to discussion of a complex topic.
Tim Blackmore, University of Western Ontario

In this new edition, Marcel Danesi explores Pop Culture through its stages in history in his characteristic, compelling style that connects with readers of all backgrounds. He illustrates important concepts with brilliant examples,introduces important theoretical concepts with engaging descriptions of particular events in the history of pop culture without unnecessary jargon or ideological bias. As readers will enjoy Danesi’s expansive knowledge in music, the media, and other aspects of pop culture they will also receive an expert initiation into semiotics and critical thinking about the culture they live in. (Previous Edition Praise)
Prisca Augustyn, Florida Atlantic University

Marcel Danesi is renowned worldwide for his scholarship in popular culture. His completely revised edition of his Popular Culture: Introductory Perspectives contains important new information based on significant recent events in the field. In the second edition, Marcel Danesi employs his usual analytical and synthetic skills to provide readers with an enlightening, interesting, discerning, and eloquent discussion and interpretation of the evolution of trends in pop culture with his characteristic clear and comprehensible writing style. This volume is an indispensable introduction to the multi-faceted world of pop culture. (Previous Edition Praise)
Frank Nuessel, University of Louisville

Marcel Danesi remains a giant in the field. Since Roland Barthes, nobody has promoted the semiotics of popular culture so vigorously. In this new edition of his widely used book, revised for the digital era, Danesi provides an overview on ‘pop’ that encompasses the major media while analysing the reasons for popular culture’s power and pervasiveness. This second edition of Popular Culture: Introductory Perspectives offers an invaluable entrée into the awareness of pop’s vicissitudes for the student and the general reader alike. (Previous Edition Praise)
Paul Cobley, London Metropolitan University

Marcel Danesi brings his background in semiotics and the study of youth culture to this perceptive analysis of popular culture. Highly detailed and engagingly written, his book is comprehensive, theoretically sophisticated, accessible to all students, and full of remarkable insights into various aspects of popular culture. An important contribution to the subject and a must-read for everyone interested in popular culture, media, and communication. (Previous Edition Praise)
Arthur Asa Berger, San Francisco State University

Chronological Take: Provides an overview of pop culture from its origins in the Roaring Twenties to the present.

Broad Look at Pop Culture: Focuses on music, advertising and shopping, language, television, cinema, and radio, with a separate chapter on each.

Interdisciplinary Perspective: Uses an interdisciplinary mode of inquiry.

Accessible Writing: Employs reader-friendly language throughout.

Well-Documented Theories: Provides many demonstrations of the ideas discussed using examples from pop culture that many will recognize.

Well-Illustrated Chapters: Includes images, figures, timelines, and textboxes to illustrate the ideas presented.

New features
Takes into account the rise and dominance of the digital global village as the new realm within which popular culture is delivered—including expanded focus on digital factors in each of the media-specific chapters.

Features a completely new chapter on the business of popular culture, aiding readers’ understanding of the commercial context including technological and market-place changes.

Includes a new chapter focused explicitly on digital culture, weaving together thematic threads introduced in previous chapters.

Offers an appendix of exercises and discussion prompts to deepen reader engagement with the ideas and issues covered in the text.