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Popular culture shapes how we think and feel, how we relate to one another; in short, how we imagine and live our lives. This subject examines the dynamics between popular culture, media consumption, and our social worlds. It will draw on students’ own consumption of popular culture as entry points to explore the various roles mass-mediated popular culture plays in our lives. From pop music and blockbuster films to viral videos, memes and selfies, this course interrogates: How can we define what is ‘popular’? What do debates about popular culture tell us about current political anxieties? And how does popular culture maintain, reproduce or challenge our existing social and political formations within and across cultures in an increasingly globalized world? The subject is organized around a series of questions about production, regulation and consumption that will introduce students to a range of key concepts in cultural studies. The goal is to familiarise students with debates in cultural studies about the politics of mass culture, popular culture and viral culture, drawing from examples of both twentieth century and contemporary computer-mediated cultural practices.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject, students should be able to:
- Demonstrate a developing knowledge in current research on a range of specific instances of or practices in popular culture.
- Understand the importance of the ways in which Cultural Studies has theorized popular culture.
- Engage critically with scholarly approaches to the circuit of culture model covering the production, regulation and consumption of mass cultural forms
- Demonstrate developing understanding of the relationships between particular examples of popular cultures and broader cultural and political formations in an increasingly globalized world
- Effectively use research skills to produce a research essay based on a case study in the field of popular culture that demonsrates the capacity for detailed description and reflective analysis.
- Understand the disciplinary specificity of Cultural Studies approaches to popular culture and popular media their inter-relationship with approaches in related disciplines.
- Apply critical and analytical skills and methods to the identification and resolution of problems within complex changing social contexts.
- Apply an independent approach to knowledge that uses rigorous methods of inquiry and appropriate theories and methodologies that are applied with intellectual honesty and a respect for ethical values;
- Articulate the relationship between diverse forms of knowledge and the social, historical and cultural contexts that produced them;
- Act as informed and critically discerning participants within the community of scholars, as citizens and in the work force.
Last updated: 15 February 2024