Pop Culture for Beginners promotes reflective engagement with the world around us and provides a set of tools for thinking critically about how meaning is created, reinforced, and circulated. Privileging a semiotic approach, the book’s first part, “The Pop Culture Toolbox,” outlines the development of pop culture studies; explains the semiotic framework; introduces students to a variety of critical lenses including Marxism, feminism, postcolonialism, and Critical Race Theory; and then offers an overview of several pop culture “pivot points” including authenticity, convergence culture, intersectionality, intertextuality, and subculture. The book’s second part provides a series of units, prepared in consultation with subject area experts, built around topics central to popular culture studies: television and film, music, comics, gaming, social media, and fandom.
Each chapter includes “Your Turn” activities and discussion questions, as well as possible assignments and suggestions for further reading. The unit chapters in part two also include enabling questions as beginning points for thinking critically and sample readings demonstrating relevant scholarly approaches to popular culture; important vocabulary terms throughout are included in a substantive glossary at the end.