Few would disagree with the idea that good teachers ground curriculum in the lives of their students. But what happens when the lives of children and youth are thoroughly saturated by corporate influences that promote values of consumption, competition, hierarchy, sexism, homophobia, racism, and contempt for equality?
Rethinking popular culture and media pdf file
Rethinking Popular Culture and Media seeks to answer these questions. In many ways, popular culture is the Polaroid snapshot or Facebook photo page that documents our lives in the social world; it is a backdrop of day-to-day life.
And its power is both diffuse and indisputable. From Disney to Barbie to MySpace, youth today navigate a range of popular culture and media. The reality that children and youth interact with a vast amount of media—books, toys, video games, advertisements, etc. Corporate interests and marketing activities aimed at youth are nothing new; however, young people today are the objects of a corporate media landscape that circulates messages with an intensity and range that is increasingly sophisticated.
They are also targeted with advertising on the internet, cell phones, MP3 players, video games, school buses, and in school. It is important to note that time reading books has actually increased slightly rather than declined over the past 10 years—revealing some complicated connections between books and other texts.
And as the authors in this collection demonstrate, the relationship among pop culture, media, and corporations, more broadly, is a messy one.
Given the increasing amount of media with which youth interact, Rethinking Popular Culture and Media is an important collection largely written by and for teachers. The decision to pull together this collection came out of our own experiences in classrooms and as teacher educators. The articles in Rethinking Schools have framed our own work with children, youth, and adults as they offer examples that critically examine and reimagine popular culture and media in relationship to education.
The articles collected here complicate the idea that popular culture is either bad or good and instead invite readers to look at familiar movies, books, games, and so on as spaces where meanings are made and contested. Authors in this collection complicate the idea that children and teens are naive, agent-less, or disengaged.
Rather, children and youth in these articles are actors who view, read, watch, play, and often instruct their teachers about popular culture and media. Most importantly, this book illustrates that young people are capable of critical analyses that disrupt the limited representations of race, class, gender, and sexuality offered up in mainstream popular culture and media. What Exactly Is Popular Culture?
Writing a book about popular culture is an even trickier proposition given that culture is constantly changing and renders what was once popular soon to be outdated and perhaps quaint. With this collection, we offer an approach to popular culture. Even though the stuff of popular culture becomes dated almost as quickly as it is produced, this book focuses on the questions educators ask and the pedagogies they use to approach popular culture and media.
The articles in this collection help us to see the relationship between the many forms of popular culture and education.
Cross-marketing between and among corporately structured partners has become the norm.
Many movies especially those targeting young audiences are released not simply as movies, but rather as carefully orchestrated campaigns of online, print, television promotions, soundtracks, clothing lines, toys, keychains—and in the case of Hannah Montana, even shoelaces and granola bars. In response to these challenges, the teachers in this collection share examples of their strategies to remain engaged.
What to Do with Popular Culture and Media? Throughout this collection, readers are encouraged to think about popular culture and media in all its complexity.
Critiquing media is not simply an intellectual activity but often a larger social standpoint of resistance against corporate-produced popular culture. The articles in this collection make visible the limits and possibilities of teacher autonomy and the increasing role of corporations in classrooms.
Rethinking Popular Culture and Media
They also highlight the challenges of facilitating dialogue with students about the politics of popular culture and media. How can teachers resist the pedagogies and corporate interests of popular culture and media in which the social world is simplified in ways that limit our understandings of complex social histories, identities, and structural inequities? One of the key approaches to understanding the relationship between popular culture and media has been media literacy.
Media literacy is a term that often comes up in educational contexts and has several different meanings.
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In short, these issues are commercialism and democracy. It should include a critical examination of the production and circulation of media, as well as analysis of the motivations for distribution.
The educators in this collection recognize the importance of using and engaging with popular culture and media. We define this approach as a critical media literacy approach. Writers here use a critical media perspective in which texts including blogs, film, music, and so on are up for critique to uncover power and commercialism as well as embedded messages. For instance, Barbara Ehrenreich critiques Disney princess products, but she also highlights how corporate power and interests obscure problematic capitalist dynamics.
In this and other articles collected here, teachers and students ask critical questions about the relationship between power, media, and schooling.
In each of these articles the authors critique and rethink the connections among race, class, gender, sexuality, power, and schooling. From this framework, the articles in this book are grouped around five ways to do critical media literacy with popular culture and media.
The articles do not fit neatly nor exclusively into each category, but the categories provide a useful organizational framework. According to a Canadian national survey, many schools receive additional income by entering into exclusive product sale agreements.
This financial support from corporations rarely comes in the form of an anonymous donation; rather, teachers and students are bombarded with product placement within the school from corporations such as Coca-Cola and media conglomerates such as Fox.
In a time of ongoing school budgetary cuts, these relationships are increasingly complicated. Specifically, they question whether or not to take up these media as objects of curriculum as well as the pedagogical dilemmas that emerge when popular cultural texts enter the classroom.
Rethinking Popular Culture and Media - 2nd Edition
In casting the government boarding schools in a positive light, popular narratives elide the effects of residential schooling on native peoples and the obligations to redress and remedy the history of colonization in North America and around the globe. In the articles collected here authors use a range of media—poetry, graffiti, film, and anime—to teach about and encourage resistance.
Watson ties this to the contemporary murder of African American Sean Bell, a year-old; police shot 50 bullets at the unarmed Bell and his two friends. The middle school students create their own poems about Sean Bell that put to paper the marginalized perspectives and experiences of kids of color as they are consistently targeted by law enforcement. In this way, the authors give us examples of a critical media literacy in which critique makes way for revision and protest and where students and teachers have access to and power over the everyday media we consume, read, and view.
While corporations have quickly jumped to the blackboard to school youth in lessons of consumption, in many ways educators have been playing catch-up.
The realities of the classroom and school politics—not to mention the spotlight on standardized testing that often results in more heat than light—make doing critical media literacy work challenging. We believe this collection of essays offers strong conceptual critiques and relevant pedagogical strategies for educators at every level to engage with the popular. Login Join. In particular, mainstream popular culture and media offer a space where new meanings are made through tactics such as culture jamming.
Culture jamming refers to the rewriting or reimagining of media such as corporate logos or advertisements in a way that subverts or overturns taken-for-granted ideas. Adbusters www. What economic and political forces have helped make a particular text, toy, film, or game popular?
How is it marketed? To whom? What are the implications of this for concepts such as agency, citizenship, and consumer action? How might teachers work with, and simultaneously critique, the texts that youth find pleasurable? Part 1: Study the Relationship Among Corporations, Youth, and Schooling The line between education and big business has become increasingly blurry. Part 2: Critique How Popular Culture and Media Frame Historical Events and Actors Popular culture and media are an important place to critique the politics of seemingly straightforward storylines, plots, characters, and images.
For many of us, popularized accounts of history are familiar.
Rethinking Popular Culture and Media
Part 3: Examine Race, Class, Gender, Sexuality, and Social Histories in Popular Culture and Media Popular culture and media relentlessly reproduce existing relationships between dominant and subordinate groups. In this way, culture produced for mass consumption seeks to erase difference and make certain sexist, racist, classist, and colonial representations seem natural.
Because much of this representation is widely circulated as normal and natural, the authors in this section attempt to make visible the ideas about race, class, and gender that masquerade as authoritative and fixed. Authors challenge gender stereotypes and racist representations in various media locales such as music videos, movies, toys, and cartoons and connect these discussions to existing curricular goals.
Contributors also offer a variety of strategies, including sending students on a toy store field trip, giving students surveys, and offering content analysis of popular texts, and guiding discussion questions.
By sharing strategies and explanations for how this work occurs with students, the authors in this section do not simply uncover bias; they also illustrate how this type of work can occur with students as they model the kinds of critical engagements that can be taken up in classrooms. These are familiar stories in which a caring—usually white—teacher saves students in an under-resourced school.
Kids in popular film and television are usually presented as uncivilized, uneducated, and in need of adult protection. The critiques offered in this section are important because they draw our attention to the political nature of schooling as a place of ideological struggle. Part 5: Take Action for a Just Society Popular culture and media present an opportunity for teachers and students to take action in and beyond the classroom.
In this section, authors describe the ways that teachers and students resist corporate incursions into everyday life as well as how educators might use popular culture and media to examine issues such as exploitation, violence, power, and privilege. We believe that this collection offers such a grounding for any critical media literacy and resistance work teachers may want to take up in their classrooms.
Part 6: Use Popular Culture and Media to Transgress In this section, the authors examine how popular culture and media provide the space and materials to break the rules and challenge the status quo. Media such as zines, fan fiction, blogs, graffiti, and so on offer avenues to represent transgressive ideas and identities.
To provide just one example, on fan fiction sites authors, illustrators, and filmmakers revise familiar storylines and images from popular cultural texts.