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Popular Culture

This guide is intended to help students find resources and scholarly works on popular culture. Relevant subjects may include, but are not limited to, film, television, music, genre fiction, advertisements, and gaming

How to use these pages

Rene Magritte, This is Not a Pipe

Use this page to find web sources and books on the critical theories and frameworks (with a focus on Cultural Theory) used in analyzing pop culture. Also listed on the attached subpage are issues that often arise in the critical study of pop culture (race, class, gender, sexuality, etc). The books listed provide more comprehensive lists of theories, analysis techniques, and movements.

Important Figures in Cultural Studies

  • Richard Hoggart
  • Raymond Williams
  • E.P. Thompson
  • Stuart Hall
  • Louis Althusser
  • Antonio Gramsci
  • Pierre Bourdieu
  • Ashis Nandy
  • Donna Haraway
  • Edward Said
  • Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
  • Homi Bhabha
  • Cornel West
  • The Frankfurt School (Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Jürgen Habermas)
  • Frederic Jameson

Subject Headings

  • Semiotics          [communication via signs and symbols]
  • Hermeneutics    [theories of interpretation]
  • Deconstruction   [texts as arenas of contested meanings}
  • Criticism
  • Criticism--History
  • Criticism--History--20th century
  • Symbolism
  • Visual communication
  • Cultural Theory
  • Discourse analysis
  • Language and languages--Philosophy
  • Literary criticism and cultural theory
  • Politics and culture
  • Postmodernism
  • Postmodernism (Literature)
  • Popular culture--Philosophy
  • Structuralism (Literary analysis)

Cultural Studies Books at FSU

Cultural Studies--Links

Textual/Content Analysis

Includes semiotics, rhetorical analysis, ideological analysis, and psychoanalytic approaches. These types of analysis seek to get beneath the surface (denotative) meanings and examine more implicit (connotative) social meanings. These textual analysis approaches often view culture as a narrative or story-telling process in which particular "texts" or “cultural artifacts” (i.e., a pop song or a TV program) consciously or unconsciously link themselves to larger stories at play in the society.

See also, Cultural's sites on Historical, Audience, and Production analyses


Antonio Gramsci's theory of "hegemony" refers to the way that dominant groups in society develop a "intellectual and moral leadership" that allows them to win the consent of subordinant groups. Hegemony sees popular culture as a site of ideological struggle between dominant and subordinate classes and cultures.

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