Toward a new critical theory of Popular Culture

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This is a theoretical paper that tackles the sociological problematic of how popular culture generates sociopolitical impacts. Three sets of solutions were offered. The first is the mass culture theory of the Frankfurt School. As the ‘old critical theory of popular culture,’ it negatively views popular culture as ideology and a part of the superstructure of capitalist society. The second is the cultural studies tradition; it emphasizes that audience agency and multifarious reception contexts help disrupt ideology and facilitate social change. The third is the dozens of recently established bodies of scholarships that rethink the problematic without relying on mass culture theory or cultural studies. They include for example narrative sociology, aesthetic public sphere, sociology of storytelling, affective publics, interactional ritual theory, and carnival theory. I articulate and systematize insights from these various new bodies of scholarship with relational sociology, practice theory, and studies of emotions and affect.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2019
EventHong Kong Sociological Association 21st Annual Conference - Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong
Duration: 30 Nov 2019 → …


ConferenceHong Kong Sociological Association 21st Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryHong Kong
Period30/11/19 → …


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