Studying Change in Popular Culture

A “Middle-Range” Approach

Authored by: Stuart Cunningham , Jon Silver

The Routledge Companion to Global Popular Culture

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415641470
eBook ISBN: 9780203081846
Adobe ISBN: 9781136175961


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The broad architecture of approaches in media, communication and cultural studies to the analysis of popular cultural phenomena is by now well established. The main struts are: political economy of industry and firm structure (e.g. corporate power, state regulation); production cultures, organizations and processes (e.g. conditions of labor, production regimes); texts and content (e.g. genre, style, innovation or progressivity); and audiences/readers/users (e.g. active audiences, user agency, thresholds or indicators of popularity). What is hotly contested in the discipline field is how to account for change in popular cultural industries. This is especially the case in debates around the rates and effects of digitally-influenced change. Indeed, a central issue in our discipline field today is the proposition that we are in the middle of a rapid process of change which is seeing established or “old” media being challenged for primacy in audiences’ and users’ attention by new modes and types of production, dissemination and display.

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