Hop on Pop-CL: The Politics and Pleasures of Popular Culture

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"Henry Jenkins, Tara McPherson, and Jane Shattuc have collected a diverse array of intriguing insights into popular culture--not with disdain or postmodern mumble, but with real interest and even respect. "Hop on Pop" looks at pop culture as the water we swim in, as a muscular change agent, as the mirror held up to human nature."--Brenda Laurel, author of "Utopian Entrepreneur"

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Hop on Pop showcases the work of a new generation of scholars - from fields such as media studies, literature, cinema, and cultural studies - whose writing has been informed by their ongoing involvement with popular culture, and who draw insight from their lived experiences as critics, fans, and consumers, as well as from their deep political commitment to a new kind of populist grassroots politics. Reworking traditional scholarly language, they search for new ways to write about our complex and compelling engagements with the politics and pleasures of popular culture. They essays cover a lively and wide array of subjects including pro wrestling, the computer games Myst and Doom, soap operas, baseball card collecting, the Tour de France, karaoke, lesbian desire in the Wizard of Oz, Internet fandom for the series Babylon 5, and the stress-management industry. Broader themes examined include the origins of popular culture, the aesthetics and politics of performance, and the social and cultural processes by which objects and practices are deemed tasteful or tasteless. The commitment that binds the contributors is to an emergent perspective in cultural studies, one that engages with popular culture as the culture that "sticks to the skin," that becomes so much a part of us that it becomes increasingly difficult to examine it from a distance. By refusing to deny or rationalise their own often contradictory identifications with popular culture, the contributors ensure that the volume as a whole reflects the immediacy and vibrancy of its objects of study. Hop on Pop will appeal to those engaged in the study of popular culture, American studies, cultural studies, cinema and visual studies, as well as to the general educated reader.

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