Postmodernism and Popular Culture

By Epstein, Jonathon S | Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA), Summer 1996 | Go to article overview

Postmodernism and Popular Culture


Epstein, Jonathon S, Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA)


Postmodernism and Popular Culture. Angela McRobbie. London and New York. Routledge. 1994. 225 pp.

Over the past two decades, Angela McRobbie has been the most vocal proponent of sociological inquiry among her British cultural studies colleagues, and has continually insisted that the ultimate grounding of all cultural studies must be in the everyday, lived, experience of the subject. Postmodernism and Popular Culture, an extraordinary and curious text, is McRobbie's most lucid and complete position statement to date.

Postmodernism and Popular Culture is broken into three sections. Part I, "Postmodernity and Cultural Studies," traces the ways in which postmodernism, both as a theoretical orientation and as a cultural phenomenon, has imposed itself on the field of cultural studies. Neither dismissing nor embracing, McRobbie ultimately grounds the sociology of postmodernism within a Baudrillardian conception of culture, and a poststructuralist orientation towards the research act.

Part II, "Key Figures in Cultural Theory," can be best read as an exegesis in which McRobbie sketches her own engagement with the works of three cultural critics, Susan Sontag, Walter Benjamin, and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, in light of the shift towards the postmodern in cultural studies. …

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