Slippery Pastimes: Reading the Popular in Canadian Culture

Slippery Pastimes: Reading the Popular in Canadian Culture

Slippery Pastimes: Reading the Popular in Canadian Culture

Slippery Pastimes: Reading the Popular in Canadian Culture


Sixteen essays, written by specialists from many fields, grapple with the problem of a popular culture that is not very popular - but is seen by most as vital to the body politic, whether endangered by globalization or capable of politically progressive messages for its audiences.

Slippery Pastimes covers a variety of topics: Canadian popular music from rock 'n' roll to country, hip-hop to pop-Celtic; television; advertising; tourism; sport and even postage stamps! As co-editors, Nicks and Sloniowski have taken an open view of the Canadian Popular, and contributors have approached their topics from a variety of perspectives, including cultural studies, women's studies, film studies, sociology and communication studies. The essays are accessibly written for undergraduate students and interested general readers.


Cultural activity belonged to leisure time, to the amateur. It existed on
Mount Olympus far away from the masses, from commerce, from the
music, folk dances, and plays of New-Canadian cultural groups, and
from the American forms of popular culture upon which ordinary
Canadians, according to Bernard K. Sandwell, had become “absolutely
dependent” by 1913.

—Maria Tippett, Making Culture


This collection of essays on the Canadian “popular” brings together varied research representing several fields of cultural and media studies. As co-editors we have endeavoured to elicit strong, accessible writing that is analytical and engaging for both academic and culturally interested readers. All but three of the essays (and these three have been revised) are original pieces for this publication. The book’s overall focus is largely, though not exclusively, on EnglishCanadian topics, addressing historical, theoretical, and ideological issues, and effectively attempting a cultural reading of the Canadian popular. The purpose is serious, though not necessarily dry or antiseptic, exploration. The collection is analytical and reflective, avoiding mere celebration of, indifference towards, or disavowal of the Canadian popular.

We have given priority to examinations of popular culture that address primary artifacts and their contexts in order to enlarge interest in and understanding of, for better or for worse, something beyond what is deemed to be current or, on the other hand, passé, as media ploys would have us believe. Some of the artifacts analyzed by the . . .

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