Book Reviews -- Popular Culture and Political Change in Modern America Edited by Ronald Edsforth and Larry Bennet
Machiorlatti, Jennifer, Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA)
Ronald Edsforth and Larry Bennet, eds. Popular Culture and Political Change in Modern America. Albany: SUNY Press, 1991. $14.95 paperback, 211 pp.
This collection of essays historically trace the ways in which popular media, mass consumer products and popular movements affect politics and political culture in the United States. From grass roots movements to conglomerate-owned media organizations, popular culture can ideologically motivate mass audiences to desired political results. Popular culture is placed in an historical perspective parallel with political change illustrating the uses of power, rebellion and mass communication in the political realm. The book seeks to create a new relationship: popular culture is political culture and popular culture cannot be ignored when studying political communication (i.e., President Reagan's administration being clearly a producer and product of popular culture and the 1992 "Family Values" rhetoric of Bill Clinton and George Bush as a partial backlash to the fictional families of prime time television).
The essays, although covering vast historical gaps and a variety of cultural artifacts, "reveal popular culture to be a realm of history where power is always being used an contested" (12), thus we can understand popular culture to be inherently a political form of communication for a mass audience/constituency. …