This book provides a novel understanding of current thought and enquiry in the study of popular culture and communications media. The populist sentiments and impulses underlying cultural studies and its postmodernist variants are explored and criticized sympathetically. An exclusively consumptionist trend of analysis is identified and shown to be an unsatisfactory means of accounting for the complex material conditions and mediations that shape ordinary people's pleasures and opportunities for personal and political expression.
Through detailed consideration of the work of Raymond Williams, Stuart Hall and ‘the Birmingham School', John Fiske, youth subcultural analysis, popular television study, and issues generally concerned with public communication (including advertising, arts and broadcasting policies, children's television, tabloid journalism, feminism and pornography, the Rushdie affair, and the collapse of communism), Jim McGuigan sets out a distinctive case for recovering critical analysis of popular culture in a rapidly changing, conflict-ridden world. The book is an accessible introduction to past and present debates for undergraduate students, and it poses some challenging theses for postgraduate students, researchers and lecturers.