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Popular Culture and Democratic Practice NADINE DOLBY Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois In this introduction to the study of popular culture in education, Nadine Dolby offers an insightful review of the literature informing this work. Her essay sets the tone and theme for this Special Issue, and begins to address why educators and educational re- searchers should pay particular attention to popular culture. Discussing the relevant literature and introducing readers to historical debates in the field, Dolby distin- guishes between various understandings of popular culture and approaches to study- ing its relationship to education. Ultimately, Dolby argues, the importance of popular culture and its connection to education lies in the role it plays as a site for engaging in the process of democratic practice. She encourages educators to engage young people in a deep exploration of the multiple dimensions of popular culture and the public sphere, and highlights examples of this kind of engagement. Popular culture is a central force in the United States: it reaches into our homes, cars, and classrooms, and it influences what we buy, wear, listen to, watch, and think about. Popular culture can be immensely pleasurable, con- troversial, offensive, annoying, even addictive, but it is difficult, if not impossi- ble, to avoid. 1 In many instances, it is tricky to draw a line between popular cul- ture and the rest of our lives, so embedded is it in our daily patterns. Given popular culture’s considerable role in U.S. society, I argue in this essay that it should be understood as a cultural practice that has its own power to create so- cial change — to alter social conditions and the very foundation of people’s lives. I particularly discuss here how popular culture can be mobilized by and with youth to bring about what I term democratic practice — everyday actions that move us toward a more just and equitable society. Popular culture is hard to avoid because it is at the center of the public sphere in U.S. society. Of course, popular culture is largely driven by commer- cial interests, which are private and concerned with profit. Nevertheless, pop- 258 Harvard Educational Review Vol. 73 No. 3 Fall 2003 Copyright © by the President and Fellows of Harvard College

Nadine Dolby

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Popular Culture and DemocraticPractice

NADINE DOLBYNorthern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois

In this introduction to the study of popular culture in education, Nadine Dolby offersan insightful review of the literature informing this work. Her essay sets the tone andtheme for this Special Issue, and begins to address why educators and educational re-searchers should pay particular attention to popular culture. Discussing the relevantliterature and introducing readers to historical debates in the field, Dolby distin-guishes between various understandings of popular culture and approaches to study-ing its relationship to education. Ultimately, Dolby argues, the importance of popularculture and its connection to education lies in the role it plays as a site for engaging inthe process of democratic practice. She encourages educators to engage young people ina deep exploration of the multiple dimensions of popular culture and the publicsphere, and highlights examples of this kind of engagement.

Popular culture is a central force in the United States: it reaches into ourhomes, cars, and classrooms, and it influences what we buy, wear, listen to,watch, and think about. Popular culture can be immensely pleasurable, con-troversial, offensive, annoying, even addictive, but it is difficult, if not impossi-ble, to avoid.1 In many instances, it is tricky to draw a line between popular cul-ture and the rest of our lives, so embedded is it in our daily patterns. Givenpopular culture’s considerable role in U.S. society, I argue in this essay that itshould be understood as a cultural practice that has its own power to create so-cial change — to alter social conditions and the very foundation of people’slives. I particularly discuss here how popular culture can be mobilized by andwith youth to bring about what I term democratic practice — everyday actionsthat move us toward a more just and equitable society.

Popular culture is hard to avoid because it is at the center of the publicsphere in U.S. society. Of course, popular culture is largely driven by commer-cial interests, which are private and concerned with profit. Nevertheless, pop-


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ular culture is a site where people have a voice, a stake, and an interest.2 Ex-cept on rare occasions (national tragedies, presidential elections), popularculture is the conversation starter at school, at work, and at social occasions. Itoften serves as both a social “glue” and a social divider: friendships solidifyaround a shared love for a particular band, music video, or television show,and being outside of the currents of the popular can lead to social isolation.3

Popular culture is also integral to the public sphere: politicians campaign onlate-night talk shows, and The West Wing and other television programs pro-duce episodes that address terrorism and themes related to September 11.Thus, popular culture is not simply fluff that can be dismissed as irrelevantand insignificant; on the contrary, it has the capacity to intervene in the mostcritical civic issues and to shape public opinion.

But what exactly is popular culture? Though I use the phrase repeatedly inthis essay, its meaning is at best vaguely defined. In his discussion of the con-cepts of popular culture, the popular, and the people, Tony Bennett, one ofthe central figures in British cultural studies, comments, “The meanings ofthese terms and our understanding of the relations between them are not mat-ters that can be resolved by definitional fiat. The most that one can do is topoint to a range of meanings.”4 While I acknowledge Bennett’s concerns, myfirst task for the purposes of this essay is to create a working definition of pop-ular culture through a historical overview of the field. As I discuss, popularculture can be understood as a “text” that is received by people and acted on,or as a “lived experience” that is created by people. The two approaches differin emphasis: in the first case, the focus is on the text, interpretations of thetext, and how individuals receive and interact with the text. In the secondcase, the focus is on youth and the worlds they create.

In the following section, I take up the ideas of agency, democracy, and citi-zenship, and discuss the potential links that can be forged between popularculture and democracy. In the final sections, I consider the possibilities of en-gaging the idea of cultural citizenship as a way of analyzing young people’spractices for their democratic possibilities, and discuss examples from recentyouth culture research that demonstrate popular culture’s potential to alterthe politics of the public sphere.

Defining Popular Culture and Its Role in Society

To study popular culture, researchers and scholars first have had to strugglewith the task of defining what it is and, by extension, what it is not. Definitionsare of course historically and culturally bound (and created) phenomena, andthe answer to “what is” popular culture has changed significantly in the pastfifty years. From the 1860s until the 1950s, Matthew Arnold’s concept of cul-ture, which in turn helped define popular culture, was the most significantand influential. In an often-quoted phrase, Arnold defined culture as “thebest that has been thought and said in the world.”5 This definition, combined

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with Arnold’s pronounced beliefs that the British aristocracy and middle classwere not only superior to the working class but also further along the evolu-tionary path, led to a valorization of so-called high culture as opposed to theculture of the common or working class. Of course, Arnold simply declaredhis class, and by extension himself, the bearers of all that was civilized, right,and good — and what the working class thought of this was none of his con-cern. Arnold’s legacy shaped the paradigm that dominated the study of popu-lar culture for almost one hundred years — a paradigm that accepted as natu-ral and commonsense the division between popular (or low) and high culture.From this perspective, that which is “popular” does not have as much value, isnot as meaningful, and is less refined than that which constitutes “high” cul-ture. For example, going to the opera, reading Shakespeare, or attending anart gallery opening are considered to be the province of purveyors of high cul-ture, while Hollywood movies, Harlequin novels, and monster truck shows areexamples of popular, or low, culture.

Despite adamant critiques of this position, the distinction between popularand high culture lingers in everyday practice. For example, the culture wars ofthe late 1980s and early 1990s went to the core of Arnold’s philosophy, askingwhat parts of our culture were the best and thus most deserving of survivalinto the next generation. E. D. Hirsch, William Bennett, and other conserva-tive critics fought against what they saw as the dilution of high culture (almostexclusively upper-class, Anglo-Saxon practices) by popular culture. Hirsch’sinfamous attempts to codify and quantify culture through lists, and his ironi-cally popular success, are powerful examples of the lingering influence of Ar-nold’s philosophy.6

Yet what objective criteria exist to distinguish between the value of an operaand a monster truck show? As Pierre Bourdieu has argued, such cultural divi-sions are merely a way of perpetuating class distinctions — anchoring such dis-tinctions in fields that go beyond the economic.7 These practices provide fur-ther closure to class categories: culture becomes a barrier to upward mobilityand status, even if money is not. Furthermore, recent theorizing points outthat such distinctions between high and popular culture do not hold; Shake-speare was popular culture in his time, but is now considered high culture.8 AsStuart Hall discusses, similar challenges can be raised about the novel: whilein some contexts it is considered bourgeois, in others it is not.9 More recently,Russell Watson’s success as “the people’s tenor” collapses manufactured dis-tinctions, American youth of all class backgrounds are rap music fans, andboth the wealthy and the working class go to Hollywood movies.

While Arnold, Hirsch, and Bennett are relatively unified in their critiquesof popular culture, there is more disagreement among those who populatethe radical, often Marxist-influenced side of the debate. First, there are thosewho might be labeled, as Greg Dimitriadis and Cameron McCarthy suggest,“anti-populist.”10 Despite differing political philosophies, the anti-populistsare as dismissive of popular culture as conservatives, arguing that it intention-

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ally dominates and controls people’s minds, making it impossible for them toact. The best-known advocates of such a position are critical theorists TheodorAdorno and Max Horkheimer of the Frankfurt School, who dismissed massculture as manipulative and stupifying. In Adorno’s words, mass culture “im-pedes the development of autonomous, independent individuals who judgeand decide consciously for themselves.”11 While such perspectives dominatedGerman critical theory in the 1930s and 1940s,12 there was also some dissentfrom this position, most notably the work of Walter Benjamin, whose “TheWork of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” explored the potentialof art as a space of political resistance.13

While Benjamin represents what Dimitriadis and McCarthy call a “pro-pop-ulist” tradition within the broader framework of German critical theory, thereis a separate, Anglo-American tradition of scholarship that is similarly pro-populist. As Henry Giroux notes, this tradition has its roots in both historyand sociology, and is exemplified in the work of scholars who are concernedwith valorizing and celebrating the culture of the working class, which is deni-grated in the conservative divide between high and low.14 Spurning Arnold’scelebration of high culture, such scholars — often referred to as “people’s”historians, sociologists, or folklorists — elevate what they term folk culture tothe real and noncommercial, as opposed to the commercial mass culture thatconstitutes most of popular culture.15

Both positions, the “anti-” and “pro-” populist, have been criticized for over-simplifying and distorting the relationship between popular culture and soci-ety.16 First, critics associated with the field of cultural studies have examinedthe limitations of the determinism of anti positions. For example, Hall andMcCarthy have critiqued Adorno and Horkheimer’s position as one that de-nies the working class any agency or the ability to think for themselves. Hallnotes that viewing “the people as purely passive” is a “deeply unsocialist per-spective.”17 McCarthy similarly comments that

I deliberately set myself in opposition to the subordination of third world peoplein determinist social theories by reasserting the agency of the oppressed and thedecisive importance of popular culture in the ongoing struggle for political sov-ereignty in the third world.18

Second, while cultural studies theorists are centrally concerned with theconcept of agency — or the idea that people can and do act, despite the forcesthat attempt to structure their existence — they are also hesitant to simply“celebrate” popular culture, as those associated with “the people’s” perspec-tive tend to do.19 From the people’s vantage point, the working class is viewedas authentic, uncontaminated by influences from outside of itself, and a stableentity. Most problematic from the cultural studies perspective is the idea thatthe working class is unified, unshaken by divisions of race or gender (for ex-ample), and exists as a preformed identity. As cultural studies theorists likeHall have observed, no identity (including class) is natural, innate, and inevi-

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table. Instead, identities are formed and reformed within (and in resistanceto) structures of power, and do not exist before societal conditions.20 So, forexample, the working class in the United States in 2003 is substantially differ-ent from the working class in the United States in the 1970s, or the workingclass in Britain.21 E. P. Thompson, considered one of the founders of Britishcultural studies, brilliantly demonstrates this point in his seminal work, TheMaking of the English Working Class.22 Thus, cultural studies theorists contendthat it is impossible to celebrate working-class culture (or even the workingclass) because such an entity cannot be discussed without noting breaks, rup-tures, fragmentation, and continual reformation.

Ultimately, neither the anti- nor the pro- position is particularly helpful intrying to understand the way popular culture functions as a site of power in so-ciety. Popular culture is not uniformly imposed on people from above, nordoes it magically bubble up fully formed from the ground of the preformedworking class. The work of Raymond Williams was enormously influential inreshaping the study of popular culture in the 1950s and 1960s, and assistedthe field in moving beyond the reductionist analyses that predominated.23

Williams’ approach to the study of culture is inherently democratic: he re-stores cultural agency to the working class, while understanding that the work-ing class is made, not found. Williams argues that the “culture” produced bythe British working class is the legacy of trade unions, democratic practices,and collective solidarity. While “bourgeois” culture recognizes and rewardsthe individualistic accomplishments of the solitary artist or musician, working-class culture rests in communal ties and collective creativity. As Williams ar-gues, this form of cultural production is no less valuable than the bourgeoisform. Williams’ enormous contribution through such books as The Long Revo-lution has solidified the connection between cultural practices and democracy,and definitively uprooted the distinction between high and popular culture,opening up the analysis of popular culture to the field of political theory, par-ticularly the work of Antonio Gramsci.

Numerous scholars have drawn on Gramsci’s theory of hegemony to pro-vide a more complex, nuanced, and ultimately more useful way of analyzingthe role of popular culture.24 As Gramsci argued, the dominant classes do notmaintain control through the use of force or through blatant manipulation (àla Adorno and Horkheimer). Instead, Gramsci describes a process of hege-mony, or winning the consent of the subordinated. The struggle to gain thisconsent is played out in multiple fields of civil society, and though Gramsci didnot write specifically about popular culture, it is clear that in contemporary so-ciety it is one of the main arenas of struggle for consent.

Given Gramsci’s insights into how hegemony works in society, scholarsmoved away from an either/or analysis of popular culture. Instead, popularculture became important because it was a field of struggle — a place whereconsent was made, unmade, and remade. One of the central tenets ofGramsci’s philosophy is that the struggle for consent is always ongoing and

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shifting, never complete. Because there is never closure on political control —control is not solely a matter of subordination — there is always room to ma-neuver: small places and spaces have the power to create significant change,or to shift the field, so that consent moves in a different direction.25 LawrenceGrossberg, one of the most prominent scholars in the field of cultural studiesand popular culture, underlines some of the central implications of examin-ing popular culture as an open field of struggle. From Grossberg’s work, sev-eral themes become important in contemporary research on popular culture.First, Grossberg invokes Gramsci’s idea of “commonsense” to underline thenotion that popular culture is the site where our taken-for-granted interpreta-tions of the world are made: what we “know” about the world is largely formedthrough our interactions with popular culture. Second, Grossberg under-scores that popular culture is a major affective force in people’s lives: we expe-rience joy, pain, pleasure, and sorrow (think of the emotional investment insports, for example). Finally, Grossberg argues that popular culture is whereour identities are produced and, by extension, it is the location of consider-able struggle for consent. 26

Gramsci’s insights into hegemony also allowed scholars to understand thatpopular culture is not static, where meanings are decided with finality. AsBennett comments, “A cultural practice does not carry its politics with it, as ifwritten on its brow for ever and a day.”27 Hall has also written extensively aboutthis phenomenon, noting that, for example, a folksinger who is considered arebel and nonconformist one day might be on the cover of a major magazinethe next day.28 Similar observations can be made about many other types ofmusic, musicians, and fashion trends; the critical point is that these shifts arenot necessarily inevitable, nor are they meaningless. However, what is impor-tant is not the cultural forms, but, as Hall argues, “the state of play in culturalrelations.”29 In other words, how does popular culture reflect and produce po-litical, cultural, economic, and social relations in the larger society? How doesit function as the ground of struggle?

Studying Popular Culture: Text or Lived Experience?

Broadly speaking, scholars have answered the questions raised at the end ofthe previous section in two ways. Some scholars have studied the texts pro-duced by popular culture. Others have researched — often throughethnographic and/or qualitative methods — how youth make meaning of, ne-gotiate, resist, and remake popular culture.

The ubiquity of popular culture texts in U.S. culture has spawned extensivestudy, research, analysis, and critique. Most of these texts — soap operas, mov-ies, advertisements, comics, sports teams, music lyrics, video games, super-heroes, websites — are produced by the media industry, with some limited ex-ceptions (such as some websites). The study of popular culture texts haspervaded virtually every discipline and field in the academy, from religion to

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English to history.30 In education, perhaps the most prolific author in this areais Henry Giroux, whose work analyzing the texts of popular culture spans sev-eral decades.31 Roger Simon, Cameron McCarthy, Shirley Steinberg, JoeKincheloe, Anne Haas Dyson, and Peter McLaren have also made substantialcontributions to understanding how popular culture texts shape young peo-ple’s world.32 In broad terms, these scholars engage and critique the raw prod-ucts of popular culture as they roll out of Hollywood, New York, and other ven-ues. They embrace popular culture as a critical site of struggle over meaningand, most vitally, as a pedagogical site. In other words, popular culture is a placewhere youth learn about the world and, as Grossberg comments, where theyabsorb their taken-for-granted understandings about life, its possibilities, andits limits. As ethnographer and cultural theorist Paul Willis and others have ar-gued, popular culture is a more significant, penetrating pedagogical force inyoung peoples’ lives than schooling:

The field of education is likely to come under even more intense pressure. It willbe further marginalized in most people’s experience by common [read “popu-lar” or “everyday”] culture. In so far as educational practices are still predicatedon traditional liberal humanist lines and on the assumed superiority of high art,they will become almost totally irrelevant to the real energies and interests ofmost young people and have no part in their identity formation. Common cul-ture will, increasingly, undertake, in its own ways, the roles that education has va-cated.33

A related body of scholarship within education and media studies focuseson critical media literacy, or teaching youth how to analyze and critique themessages they are bombarded with from media sources. Though there aresome significant variations, many of these critics are overwhelmingly negativeabout the effects of popular culture on youth, and on society more broadly(see Trend in this issue). Such critics are representative of the “anxiety” half ofwhat McCarthy and his colleagues term the anxiety or celebration approachto the study of popular culture.34 In their paradigm, popular culture is eitherwholly rejected as a dangerous influence on youth (i.e., the considerable anxi-ety over rap music in the United States in the 1990s) or uncritically em-braced.35 Despite the visceral appeal of critical media studies, it is unrealisticto expect that youth will reject popular culture because of its commercial na-ture, or its potentially racist, sexist, violent, or homophobic content. AsGrossberg constantly reminds us, popular culture is a source of pleasure, andhuman desire for pleasure will constantly draw us back to it, despite our intel-lectual critiques. Furthermore, neither “anxiety” nor “celebration” adequatelyengages the reality that popular culture can create multiple, and sometimescontradictory, effects and that what is important to focus on is not what is pop-ular at a particular moment, but the relations that are struggled over, bothwithin the public debate surrounding the practice and in its very performance(see Buckingham in this issue). For example, popular culture theorists are lessconcerned with the fact that Tommy Hilfiger — or any other designer for that

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matter — became embroiled in a conflict over race as much as they are withhow and why fashion and popular culture play a central role in the struggleover race and racial identity among U.S. youth.36

Finally, there is a considerable and influential body of work that is oftencharacterized as reception studies. Reception studies, as a field, provides abridge between the textual analysis of popular culture and the study of popu-lar culture as a lived experience. Janice Radway’s Reading the Romance, one ofthe most significant works in this field, is an in-depth examination of howwomen read romance novels. Despite the tirades against romance novels asantifeminist and disempowering, Radway discovers that the women who readthe novels have a totally different experience: they find within them sources ofstrength and pleasure. While Radway is reluctant to assert that romance novelshave no role in reproducing patriarchy, she is clear that readers’ responses areimportant and result in uneven and often contradictory effects.37 Similar workon how people receive and interpret popular culture abounds. One of themost significant areas of study examines how people outside of the UnitedStates interpret American television, and the different meanings that aregiven to Dallas and other American cultural exports in varying national con-texts.38

Scholars who use a textual approach in their work are often quite con-cerned with individual and community agency; with the exception of a smallbranch of critical media studies, they are not apt to dismiss popular culture asa negative and enervating force. Yet, they only investigate this agency in lim-ited ways. It is certainly important to analyze and critique the products of pop-ular culture and to dissect them for the messages that they might impart toyouth. But, as reception studies demonstrate, textual analysis of popular cul-ture, despite its value, can only move the discussion and research so far. AsHall has brilliantly illustrated, there is no direct line between the encodedmessage and the message that individuals receive, or decode.39 Hall’s insight issupported by the empirical research conducted by Radway and others work-ing in the field of reception studies. A less developed though promising line ofeducational research focuses squarely in this arena: on youth’s agency andwhat they do with popular culture in their everyday lives.

From Popular Culture to Youth Culture: Emphasizing Agency

The “Birmingham School,” which was influenced by the groundbreakingwork of Raymond Williams and the Gramscian turn in social science analysis,became the most significant site of the production of youth culture researchin the twentieth century. Based at the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Stud-ies (CCCS) at the University of Birmingham in Britain during the 1960s and1970s, researchers probed the intersection between youth and popular cul-ture. Unlike popular culture researchers, however, youth culture researcherstend to begin with youth. They focus on young people’s lives and experiences,

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and emphasize popular culture as a site of struggle and (for the Birminghamresearchers particularly) of resistance. Prior to the work of the BirminghamSchool, youth research was almost exclusively located within work on the soci-ology of deviance, which portrayed youth as criminals determined to under-mine society.40

Birmingham School researchers were interested in the connection betweenideology and form, detailed in Dick Hebdige’s book, Subculture: The Meaningof Style, and Stuart Hall and Tony Jefferson’s Resistance through Rituals: YouthSubcultures in Post-War Britain. Instead of deviance, Birmingham researchersinvestigated youth subcultures in Britain — Teddy Boys, Rockers, Punks, Skin-heads, and others — as forms of working-class resistance.41 Suddenly, clothes,hair, makeup, and music were not signs of typical adolescent rebellion (follow-ing the “storm-and-stress” models popularized by psychology) or criminal be-havior, but of resistance to a class structure that determined their lives and fu-tures.42 For example, as Christine Griffin notes, the storm-and-stress model,“constructs youth as a period of inevitable psychological and social turmoilmid-way between the dependency of childhood and the mature stability ofadult status.”43 In such a model, young people’s outrageous clothes or prefer-ence for seemingly bizarre music become simply signs of a transitional stage.But Birmingham researchers rejected this model, arguing that these signs, orforms, did not simply express resistance — they were resistance. Critically, theywere not signs of resistance to the adult world, but to the specific class struc-tures and entrenched hierarchies of a highly stratified British society. For ex-ample, the Teddy Boys’ style exaggerated, and thus mocked, the stuffy dressand manners of the British upper class.44 In turn, the Teddy’s mocking shiftedthe cultural meaning of the clothes and styles favored by the British upperclasses, thus changing the naturalized configurations of power. In this way,young peoples’ style became a site of political struggle, as the notion of “poli-tics” expanded well beyond Parliament, the courts, and street protests.

The original youth subculture researchers focused on class analysis, but thefield quickly expanded to include gender and race.45 By the late 1970s, re-searchers were also beginning to push beyond the relatively narrow world ofyouth subcultures to more expansive analysis of youth cultural practices andproduction, and how these practices perpetuated or challenged existing so-cial formations. Most influential in this arena is Willis’ landmark book, Learn-ing to Labour, an ethnographic study of working-class boys in a secondaryschool in an industrial area of England.46 Willis demonstrates how the “lads”in his study actively resist the institution of schooling; however, their resistancealso reproduces their position in the working class. Willis underlines the factthat youth have agency and that they function in the world as legitimate politi-cal actors. As he demonstrates, however, this agency is not necessarily liberat-ing for the lads. They exercise agency in resisting the structures and hierar-chies of schooling, but this resistance ensures that they follow their fathersinto manual labor jobs on the shop floor. Feminist researchers, such as Angela

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McRobbie, later critiqued Willis’ work for its failure to analyze the lads’ resis-tance within models that took gender into account. As McRobbie and othersargued, their actions had implications not only for class relations, but for gen-der and race as well.47 Willis’ work spawned new interest in youth culture re-search, and soon researchers were investigating youth’s cultural agency inmultiple arenas and along numerous axes: race, class, gender, sexual orienta-tion, age, and ability.48

The tradition of youth culture research both coincided with and shifted thetraditional foci of popular culture analysis. Because it focuses squarely on thelives of youth, youth culture research is able to probe the minutiae of actionsand to analyze these actions as forces capable of making change in society. AsWillis’ work demonstrates, resistant acts do not necessarily lead to liberation:they only hold its potential. But Willis reminds us that we must take the worldof young people — their priorities, their interests, and their affective plea-sures — seriously, for these actions are, at core, educational:

Making (not receiving) messages and meanings in your context and from mate-rials that you have appropriated is, in essence, a form of education in the broad-est sense. It is the specifically developmental part of symbolic work, an educationabout “the self” and its relation to the world and to others in it.49

Despite the importance of this line of research for understanding youth,political struggle, democratic change, and education, it has been largelymarginalized in an academy dominated by more mainstream research thatdoes not take a critical perspective. As Griffin notes, the rise of the “NewRight” in Britain and the United States in the 1980s sidelined radical voicesand made it more difficult to obtain funding for the in-depth ethnographicwork often required. Other problems surfaced within the academy itself, asthe legitimacy of ethnography was questioned by the emergent theoreticalparadigms of poststructuralism, postmodernism, and postcolonialism.50 De-spite these difficulties, critical youth culture research is an important avenuefor researchers interested in understanding the intersection between youthand popular culture, and resituating youth as active agents in the continualprocess of remaking democracy.

Agency, Democracy, and Citizenship

Thus far in this essay, I have briefly reviewed the history of popular culture re-search and argued for understanding popular culture as a site of political im-portance and struggle. Following Gramsci, my argument significantly expandsthe commonsense notion of the political as being limited to the narrow spacesof the state. Instead, as Gramsci demonstrates, multiple sites have the capacityto create change; they are also political. Popular culture researchers empha-size the importance of interrogating the meaning of texts. In contrast, youthculture researchers begin with young peoples’ lives, and then reposition youth

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from passive receptors of popular culture to pedagogical actors who reshapethe world through their everyday practices. As Lawrence Grossberg com-ments, “Agency involves relations of participation and access, the possibilitiesof moving into particular sites of activity and power, and of belonging to themin such a way as to be able to enact their powers.”51 This agency can lead inmultiple directions. As Willis aptly demonstrates in Learning to Labour, thechoice is not simply reproduction or resistance; youth’s practices can do bothsimultaneously and are not simply part of a process of reproduction or resis-tance. Agency does not necessarily lead in the wished for or expected direc-tions. It does, however, always transform the social, cultural, and political land-scape, creating new terrain that then must be negotiated (see Willis in thisissue).

In this section, I focus on a particular type of transformation — that of radi-cal democracy — and its connections to young peoples’ everyday practices. Aradical model of democracy diverges significantly from the more common-place, and well-entrenched, liberal democracy. In the liberal democracymodel, citizens assert agency within the public political sphere. This agency,in practice, is largely limited to voting and participation in electoral politics.Such participation, as evidenced in the contested results of the 2000 U.S. pres-idential election in Florida, is uneven and sometimes unavailable.52 The per-sistence of an unequal social order in the United States — the tenacity of rac-ism, sexism, and other forms of oppression — is a persuasive argument againstthe efficacy of liberal democracy, despite its promises. Liberal democracy isalso limited; it is a very slow process of change, and if citizens hope for theiractions to have an effect, they must curtail those actions to a narrow band ofelectoral activities. This approach to democracy also eschews the institutionsof civil society as sites of agency and power, a significant drawback. As CornelWest argues, “Culture is as much a structure as the economy or politics; it isrooted in institutions such as families, schools, churches, synagogues,mosques, and communication industries (television, radio, video, music).”53

Radical democratic theories, in contrast to the liberal theories outlinedabove, explode the idea that electoral politics is the only site of agency andpower within society.54 Instead, many sites become potential loci of changeand transformation, including people’s small, often discounted, everydayacts. Within radical democratic theory, people are actors and players in everyrealm — cultural, political, economic, and social. Recently, radical democratictheorists have been concerned with the growing privatization of democracyand citizenship, and the narrowing scope and definition of citizenship. In theimmediate post–World War II era, citizenship expanded to include socialrights, following the influential work of T. H. Marshall in Britain.55 Marshallconvincingly argued that in order to exercise political and civil rights, citizenshad to be accorded basic social rights. Without a safety net that provided food,shelter, clothing, medical care, and education for everyone, citizenship wasnot equally available. In more recent years, however, industrialized countries

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have experienced a sharp curtailment of social rights, which has had an im-pact on the free exercise of political and civil rights.56

At the same time, contemporary citizenship is reshaped by the increasinglyglobalized nature of human and economic relations (see McCarthy in this is-sue). While nation-states still control and police national borders, the necessarycorrelation between citizenship and a particular territorial space have changed.For example, Katharyne Mitchell argues that today’s realities challenge ideasabout democracy, including John Dewey’s, that are limited by national bound-aries.57 Global environmental movements are premised on the very real princi-ple that pollution knows no borders, and that democratic citizenship actionmust, by definition, exceed the limits of the nation-state. The cross-border flowof people and capital has also caused some nation-states to reconfigure govern-ment bodies so that citizens living outside of the national borders still maintainofficial representation and a voice in their democracy, so critical is their finan-cial contribution to the economic health of the nation.58

The above shifts in the reality of citizenship have created serious challengesfor radical democracy, particularly its commitment to the role of the state andthe public sphere. However, they have also created untapped possibilities.While liberal democracy embraces the division between the public and privatespheres, radical democracy presumes that private acts (of consumption, ofcultural production, of identity) are inherently part of the public domain —which reaches far beyond the strictures of state politics. Individuals who donot have access to substantial political, civil, or social rights still exerciseagency in the cultural realm, and this agency can have far-reaching implica-tions for social relations. Moreover, cultural sites are pedagogical — oftenmore so than political ones. For example, it is clear that youth learn moreabout race through sites of cultural production (television, movies, music,etc.) than they do through state apparatuses (presidential declarations, na-tional commissions, and the like).59 Youth act on this information — exercisetheir agency, their citizenship, and their creative production — and contrib-ute to multiple sites in society: their homes, families, schools, and communi-ties. In this way, young people are not just refashioning private spheres andprivate identities, but are contributing to the transformation of publicspheres, citizenship, and democracy.

As citizenship is reconfigured, its possibilities increase to include spheresthat are not normally considered constitutive. As Chantal Mouffe demon-strates, these spheres can be conceptualized as “new political spaces,” whichare outside of government and go beyond the accepted confines of civil soci-ety.60 Undoubtedly, one of these spaces is popular culture, as it plays a signifi-cant pedagogical and political role in contemporary society. Popular culturecan thus become a prominent political space for the negotiation and enact-ment of a new dimension of citizen: cultural citizenship. Cultural citizenship,as Toby Miller discusses, is largely unconcerned with the traditional discussionof “rights and responsibilities,” which is both idealistic and disconnected from

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the realities of how citizenship is actually defined today.61 As Cindy Patton andRobert Caserio comment, Miller’s work “goes a long way towards solving theproblem of citizenship’s invidious distinctions by reminding us that the ideasand practices of citizenship are themselves more various than definite, morefruitfully indistinct than are the distinctions made in citizenship’s name.”62

Thus, the idea of cultural citizenship suggests that citizenship has changed innumerous ways. First, the formal, political arena is not the only place that weneed to look to find expressions of citizenship: participation in the publicsphere, in democracy, also occurs outside of these formal structures, in loca-tions such as popular culture, schools, and the structures of civil society. Sec-ond, citizenship is no longer solely defined a priori to its practices. In otherwords, states do not necessarily say, “This is what citizenship is,” and expect allto conform. Instead, states actively investigate how people act (people’s prac-tices), and redefine citizenship to accommodate these new realities.

While not directly linked to the study of popular culture, Peggy Levitt’s re-search graphically illustrates how economic, cultural, and social practices ac-tively shape the ways in which a state defines citizenship. In the case of the Do-minican Republic, the nation is considering reconfiguring “citizenship” (andparliamentary representation) to accommodate the reality of everyday prac-tices: that Dominican communities occupy a transnational space that exists inboth the Dominican Republic and the United States, and that the economicvitality of the Dominican Republic is dependent on the work of its “citizens”who reside abroad. Such redefinitions of citizenship have also been imple-mented in varying ways in Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, and Portugal.63 In these in-stances, the practices of citizenship define the reality of its implementation;similarly, youth’s practices in the context of popular culture can be a startingplace for redefining democratic practice, and for looking at enduring ques-tions through new paradigms.

One of the inevitable challenges to embracing popular culture as a poten-tially democratic space is its location within the bounds of privatized con-sumption. As Michael Apple notes, the American citizen is often equated withthe American consumer, and freedom is redefined as a “set of consumptionpractices.” As Apple argues, this couplet has a long history in the UnitedStates and, more recently, citizenship has been sharply and specificallyequated with consumption.64 For example, in the immediate aftermath of theterrorist attacks in September of 2001, U.S. citizens were exhorted to consumein the name of patriotism and citizenship: the U.S. economy, and thus its de-mocracy, was dependent not on the display of flags alone, or on the willing-ness to bomb Afghanistan, but on citizens’ commitment to dine at restaurants,go to movies, and buy new washing machines, big-screen televisions, and cars.The intertwining of consumption and democracy in the public imagination isevident in Moby’s (a popular musician) reflections on the role of his music inthe public sphere: “The role of popular music is democratic. . . . I feel I have todo everything in my power to at least make what I’ve done available to people

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and then trust the wisdom of the democratic consumerist process to sort itout.”65 Moby marries “democratic” and “consumerist” in a manner that is trou-bling to many critics, despite its resonance in contemporary society.

Apple labels this trend “conservative modernization” and rightly decriesthe loss of a vibrant, public democracy, and of relationships that exist outsidethe sphere of consumption, specifically in education and social policy. Despitethese critical and valid concerns about consumption, there are ways that con-sumption can potentially serve democratic discourse and be a central,transformative component of the public sphere. Social and cultural historianshave demonstrated that the paradigm of “citizen consumers” has often beenmobilized to progressive ends. At the turn of the twentieth century, the Na-tional Consumers League organized women consumers both to secure theirown interests and to lobby for protective legislation for workers.66 Private con-sumption has also, at times, created opportunities for the growth of the publicsphere. For example, the growth of department stores in the early twentiethcentury allowed middle-class women to participate in a public sphere — en-couraged by the department stores’ wish that they dawdle, chat, and partakeof tea and lunch in order to increase their exposure to the stores’ wares. Whiledepartment store barons did not intend to advance middle-class women’s par-ticipation in the public sphere, that was exactly the consequence.67

Despite attempts to draw a sharp line of distinction between “citizen” and“consumer,” they have always been intertwined, if understudied, identities inthe United States. As these examples demonstrate, consumption is not neces-sarily and inherently a private practice with no radical democratic possibili-ties. Individuals and communities have been mobilized as citizens within theframework of consumption, and consumption practices have changed thespaces of democracy. As I will discuss in the following section, a similar argu-ment can be made about the relationship between youth and popular cultureat the turn of the twenty-first century: young people can be mobilized as citi-zens within a framework of consumption, and consumption practices can anddo change the spaces of democracy.68

Cultural Citizenship, Youth, and Democratic Practice

In this section, I discuss research that takes up the radical potential of engag-ing with popular culture as an emergent element of democratic practice.While no practice is inherently democratic, using a framework of democracy toanalyze cultural practices can enlarge our understanding of how what youngpeople do on a daily basis forms and reforms the political landscape. Such anapproach is a central component of what Henry Giroux terms a “practical cul-tural politics,” which maps the workings of power as a productive force beyondthe dynamics of reproduction and resistance.69

Yet, as I have argued, it is not enough to analyze the representations ofyouth in popular culture. While important, this approach cannot in and of it-

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self provide a basis for change. In addition, the base established by youth cul-ture research needs to be linked in more fruitful ways to political, social, andeconomic structures. As Meg Jacobs has commented, popular culture andconsumption practices have often been studied within an identity frameworkby scholars in cultural studies.70 What is often missing in this work, as insight-ful as it is, is a meaningful connection to larger, and often urgent, issues aboutpolitics and the economy — the “gritty materialities” exemplified in the workof Michael Apple.71 The concept of “cultural citizenship” helps to bridge thisgap. It underscores the fact that everyday cultural practices are not discon-nected from pressing economic and political issues about the future of de-mocracy in an increasingly privatized, globalized world. Instead, those cul-tural practices are a force in shaping and reshaping that world.

I turn now to concrete examples of the type of research that I believe sup-ports a move toward analyzing youth’s popular culture practices within a cul-tural citizenship model. The authors whose work I discuss here do not use thisparadigm in their work and may not necessarily agree with my analysis. Butthese approaches suggest the potential of identifying spaces where youth’spopular culture practices contribute to shifts in the public sphere, in the cre-ation of knowledge, and ultimately to the practice of democracy. The exam-ples I discuss are specifically concerned with the relationship between race,popular culture, and cultural citizenship, although they take up these issues indifferent ways.72 However, race is certainly not the only aspect of public lifethat is affected and changed by youth’s engagement with popular culture.There are undoubtedly many aspects of public life that have been researchedand that merit further investigation. Maisha T. Fisher’s essay (in this issue) isanother example of how we might think about using the practices of popularculture to expand, not only our notions of literacy and cultural identity, butcitizenship.

In her book Shades of White: White Kids and Racial Identities in High School,Pamela Perry looks at how White students in two high schools — one majorityWhite,73 one minority White — construct White racial identities within thesediffering circumstances.74 Perry does not avoid popular culture, but insteadaccords it prominence in her research and analysis. Perry demonstrates thatwhile White students at the two schools both use and consume African Ameri-can popular culture, the meanings and practices they produce are not identi-cal, because of the differing contexts. For example, White students at the ma-jority White school tend to ignore the “Blackness” of African Americanpopular culture, instead positioning it as “tough,” “urban,” and “cool”.75 Incontrast, White students at a school where they are in the minority are com-pelled to negotiate their relationship with these popular cultural formsthrough their personal, everyday encounters with African American students.Perry’s insights imply that we cannot understand the significance of AfricanAmerican popular culture on the formation of White identities solely throughan analysis of its representations in the mass media culture. Perry is able to ex-

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plore the contradictions in White identity through her reading of Whiteyouth’s everyday practices with African American popular culture. In herwork, we can see clearly that White youth’s engagement with African Ameri-can popular culture is not simply a private matter without public consequence— on the contrary, their practices are formative of the new public space of raceas we begin the twenty-first century. In this way, they are engaged in culturalcitizenship, using their agency and the abundant resources of popular cultureto reshape the contours of perhaps (still) the most significant and pressingpublic matter in American life: race. It is evident that, in this instance, popularculture is a vital political space.

Sunaina Marr Maira demonstrates the same potential in her recent book,Desis in the House: Indian American Youth Culture in New York City. Maira’s analy-sis of second-generation immigrant youth centers on the cultural practicesthat define their identity. Maira forefronts youth’s agency and their use ofpopular culture (including African American popular culture) in their con-struction of what it means to be a second-generation American. Again, theseperformances of identity are not merely private and personal affairs; they re-shape the meaning of race and the boundaries of racial relations in theUnited States. For example, as Maira illustrates, while in Britain bhangra musichas created solidarities among Black communities, young people in theUnited States have not taken up the music in the same way. In this example,we see that music, and the alliances formed by music, can have radical demo-cratic potential; that it does not in the U.S. context Maira investigates is an is-sue that requires greater exploration.76

In my own work at Fernwood, a multiracial high school in South Africa, I in-vestigate the connections between race, popular culture, and the potential forreshaping the public sphere through young peoples’ practices of cultural citi-zenship.77 One of the most significant findings from my study is the way that alli-ances formed through popular culture change the public racial alliances in theschool. For example, the politics of rave produce divergent racial politics at dif-ferent grade levels of the school:78 in grades eleven and twelve, rave is exclu-sively a White youth cultural practice, and Indian, Colored, and African youthare united in their opposition to rave.79 However, in grade eight, rave unitesWhite, Indian, and Colored students. African students are excluded from thepractice and, significantly, from their sense of solidarity with Indian and Col-ored students. While popular culture is not the only factor contributing to thisshift, it is a significant one, both analytically and in the minds of the students.The shifts in the practices related to popular culture produce changes in the pub-lic sphere of the school. Young people exercise their agency, a form of culturalcitizenship, to reorganize racial life at Fernwood and, as this pattern is re-peated, at schools even more broadly throughout the Durban metropolitanarea. Again, such reconfigurations cannot be predicted from analyzing the textsof popular culture, but only from engaging with how youth actually use it intheir everyday life. In the case of Fernwood, the changes I detail may be detri-

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mental to the future of racial relations, for the break signals a weakening of Afri-can, Indian, and Colored alliances — the very alliances that brought down theapartheid system. While in this case I cannot claim that youth’s practices aredemocratic, they are still significant if there is a desire to understand, and thentry to reverse, the racial patterns of South African society.

Finally, Greg Dimitriadis’ important research on African American youthand hip-hop opens up still another trajectory for investigating how we mightuse youth’s cultural practices as a way of deepening radical democracy. In hisbook, Performing Identity/Performing Culture: Hip Hop as Text, Pedagogy, and LivedPractice, Dimitriadis examines how African American youth at a communitycenter use rap texts in their daily lives. As Dimitriadis argues, while there havebeen innumerable studies of the text of rap music (and here I use “text” tomean not solely the actual lyrics, but multiple forms of representations ofrap), there are no studies that examine how African American youth actuallyengage with rap. Dimitriadis’ methodological approach is critical, because hedemonstrates that reality “on the ground” opens up possibilities buried withina purely textual approach. For example, he explores the claim that the “hip-hop” generation has little awareness of the history of Black oppression in theUnited States or current political struggles. Dimitriadis contrasts the teens’ re-action to two texts that examine Black power and the civil rights movement:Panther (a popular film about the Black Panther party), and the well-knowndocumentary, Eyes on the Prize.80 Perhaps surprisingly for an adult audience,the teens view Panther as more “realistic” than Eyes on the Prize. While Eyes on thePrize is rejected because it is boring and in black and white, the teens are ableto engage with the lively, narrative-based Panther. From this, Dimitriadis con-cludes that it is unfair to claim that the teens are apolitical; they do under-stand and engage the political import of Panther. However, they have grown upsurrounded by particular popular culture forms and conventions, and thus itis not surprising that they would find those narrative structures more appeal-ing. It is not that the teens are apolitical — it is that the definition of politicalneeds to shift. Like the other authors, Dimitriadis insists that we must look atpopular culture as a site not just of young people’s identities, but as a placewhere new political forms and potentials can occur.

All of the above authors provide glimpses of what is possible when we studyhow youth use popular culture in daily life through a framework that insiststhat private acts have public consequences. What youth do with “race” in theirprivate lives, how they reify it, remake it, or question its borders, is not sepa-rate and distinct from the debates about race that occur in the public arena.Nor are their practices solely reactions to what occurs in the public sphere. Incontrast, what youth do with race has the potential to actively impact the waydebates are framed, issues are examined, and policy is shaped. The line be-tween a private cultural act and a public political one is eliminated within theparadigm of cultural citizenship. Instead, cultural citizenship assumes that the

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site of the public sphere can be transformed, in multiple ways, by what we asindividual actors do in our own lives.

It is clear that the shifting, discursive nature of race as a public sphere haschanged significantly over the past decade, both within the United States andelsewhere. These young peoples’ engagements with race, through the me-dium of popular culture, represent what Lois Weis and Michelle Fine term“subterranean spaces, some in school, many not, within which youth work outthe politics of mind, body, soul, and pleasure. Within these spaces we witnessdeeply educative pedagogies, politics, moves toward self and community, a re-shaping of borders, fractures, and social realignments.”81 These spaces are of-ten private, but, as I have argued, they bleed into the public sphere, both re-shaping it and indicating paths of movement that were not previously visible.Fine and Weis, along with the authors included in the collection, are commit-ted to resuscitating the political and democratic potential by looking in newplaces and recognizing the energy and dynamism that may lurk in unex-pected corners, including the ubiquitous, if not fully explored, site of popu-lar culture.

Conclusion: The Possibilities of Popular CultureToby Miller writes that cultural citizenship pierces the zone “where the popu-lar and the civic brush up against one another.”82 Contemporary youth andpopular culture researchers are, of course, not the first to mark this area as acritical space of action and possibility. C. L. R. James, the renowned critic andscholar, forcibly defended the popular as a central component of the politicaland gave it prominence in his analysis in American Civilization.83 James Baldwinsimilarly marked popular culture as critical political terrain.84 More recently,Andrew Ross’ No Sweat: Fashion, Free Trade, and the Rights of Garment Workers tapsinto the core sentiment of cultural citizenship — the need to connect the pri-vatized world of consumption to pressing public concerns about workers’rights, globalization, free-trade zones, and child labor. The victories of theantisweatshop campaigns over the past five years demonstrate that it is possi-ble to reposition private acts into public discourse.85 Benjamin Barber echoesthis idea when he writes,

If a privatizing ideology and a consumerist culture have turned citizens into con-sumers, we need to go to where the consumers are and try to turn them backinto citizens. . . . If they go to the mall in search of public space and are seducedinto privatized shopping behavior, we need to confront and transform themall.86

The project suggested by Barber’s insight is not solely, or even primarily, aproject of critique. Instead, it is a project akin to that of youth culture re-searchers: to examine how people use popular culture in their everyday lives,to illuminate the connections between everyday acts and the public sphere,

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and to map the new terrain of politics that opens from this exploration. Theproject does not wholly give up on the state and electoral politics, but it takesseriously the reality that people rarely see themselves as agents within thatarena, and that politics happens in multiple sites simultaneously. The phe-nomenal success of Naomi Klein’s No Logo, which has become a central text ofthe antiglobalization movement, reveals both the incredible power of corpo-rations, consumerism, and popular culture in our lives, and the enormouschanges that are possible when youth comprehend the connections betweentheir consumption and the exploitation of fellow human beings.87 If, as Appleobserves, “democracy has been reduced to consumption practices,” then oneof the tasks of researchers is to probe those consumption practices and workto make links back to democracy.88 Democracy cannot be imposed as a set ofprinciples coming from above to which individuals must subscribe. It muststart within the core of people’s dreams and desires, and from where peopleare, even if they are at the mall.

For educational researchers concerned with democracy, this means that theterrain of inquiry needs to extend well beyond the schoolhouse. Education asa public sphere has severely contracted over the past two decades. The threatsto its future must be met with resistance and a firm commitment to demo-cratic public schooling that ensures equality of access and opportunity. At thesame time, however, we cannot afford to ignore the popular as a site whereyouth are invested, where things happen, where identities and democraticpossibilities are worked out, performed, and negotiated, and where new fu-tures are written. As much as some would like us to believe that the publicsphere is doomed, that privatization and neoliberalism have won, and thatradical democracy will never recover, we know that cannot be true. Closure isnever total; openings, cracks, and fissures always exist. By closely studyingyoung peoples’ engagement with popular culture, we can tap into the existingcurrents of change, recognize the power of the everyday, and work to reshapeand rebuild a citizenship that embraces us all.

Notes1. On pleasure and popular culture, see Lawrence Grossberg, “Pedagogy in the Present:

Politics, Postmodernity, and the Popular,” in Popular Culture, Schooling and Everyday Life,ed. Henry Giroux and Roger Simon (Toronto: OISE Press, 1989), 91–115; and HenryGiroux, Disturbing Pleasures: Learning Popular Culture (New York: Routledge, 1994).

2. Throughout this essay, I often refer to popular culture as a “site.” Following the work ofMichel Foucault, I do this deliberately to signal, as I have written elsewhere, “that popu-lar culture . . . is not a solid, fixed object, but instead an ever-changing network ofmovement, which is structured by and through apparatuses of power and is itself a re-sult of struggle.” Nadine Dolby, Constructing Race: Youth, Identity, and Popular Culture inSouth Africa (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2001), 14. On Foucault, dis-course, and the concept of site, see Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge and theDiscourse on Language, trans. A. M. Sheridan Smith (New York: Pantheon, 1972).

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3. See Chris Richards, “Live through This: Music, Adolescence and Autobiography,” inSound Identities: Popular Music and the Cultural Politics of Education, ed. Cameron McCar-thy, Glenn Hudak, Shawn Miklaucic, and Paula Saukko (New York: Peter Lang, 1999),255–288.

4. Tony Bennett, “The Politics of the ‘Popular’ and Popular Culture,” in Popular Cultureand Social Relations, ed. Tony Bennett, Colin Mercer and Janet Woollacott (MiltonKeynes, Eng.: Open University Press, 1980), 8. John Storey presents a more compre-hensive and detailed historical overview of popular culture than is possible here in AnIntroductory Guide to Cultural Theory and Popular Culture (Athens: University of GeorgiaPress, 1993).

5. Matthew Arnold, Culture and Anarchy: An Essay in Political and Social Criticism (London:Smith, Elder and Co., 1869), viii.

6. See for example, William Bennett, The Book of Virtues (New York: Simon and Schuster,1994); Henry Louis Gates, Loose Canons: Notes on the Cultural Wars (New York: OxfordUniversity Press, 1992); E. D. Hirsch, Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs toKnow (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987); Cameron McCarthy, “Multicultural Dis-courses and Curriculum Reform: A Critical Perspective,” Educational Theory, 44 (1994),81–98; and Cameron McCarthy, The Uses of Culture: Education and the Limits of Ethnic Af-filiation (New York: Routledge, 1998).

7. On taste, see Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, trans.Richard Nice (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984). For analysis ofBourdieu and taste, see David Swartz, Culture and Power: The Sociology of Pierre Bourdieu(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997); and Mark Fenster, “The Problem of Tastewithin the Problematic of Culture,” Communication Theory, 1 (1991), 87–105.

8. On the creation of “high” and “low” culture in the American context, see Lawrence Le-vine, Highbrow/Lowbrow: The Emergence of Cultural Hierarchy in America (Cambridge, MA:Harvard University Press, 1988).

9. Stuart Hall, “Notes on Deconstructing ‘the Popular,’” in People’s History and SocialistTheory, ed. Raphael Samuel (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1981), 227–240.

10. Greg Dimitriadis and Cameron McCarthy, Reading and Teaching the Postcolonial: FromBaldwin to Basquiat and Beyond (New York: Teachers College Press, 2001), 18. Dimitri-adis and McCarthy’s text is an excellent introduction to postcolonial perspectives, andthe relationship between art, culture, and society. The significance of critical theory(and other theoretical positions) to educational thought is thoroughly discussed inRaymond Morrow and Carlos Torres, Social Theory and Education: A Critique of Theories ofSocial and Cultural Reproduction (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995).

11. Theodor W. Adorno, “Culture Industry Reconsidered,” New German Critique, 6 (1975),18. See also Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, Dialectics of Enlightenment(1944; rpt. New York: Herder and Herder, 1972). Horkheimer and Adorno’s writingson mass culture are also widely excerpted and reprinted in introductory texts and ed-ited collections. See, for example, Nigel Gibson and Andrew Rubin, eds., Adorno: A Crit-ical Reader (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2002).

12. While the Frankfurt School of critical theory began in Germany, many of its key figureswere forced to flee to the United States and elsewhere in the 1930s.

13. Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” in Illumi-nations: Essays and Reflections, trans. H. Zohn (New York: Schocken Books, 1968),217–242.

14. See Henry Giroux, Border Crossing: Cultural Workers and the Politics of Education (NewYork: Routledge, 1992), particularly chapter eight, coauthored with Roger Simon.

15. As Giroux rightly notes in Border Crossing, the most significant example of this type ofscholarship can be found in the Journal of Popular Culture, published by the Center forPopular Culture Studies at Bowling Green State University.

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16. Dimitriadis and McCarthy also discuss a third position, postmodernism. See Readingand Teaching the Postcolonial, 18–19.

17. Hall, “Notes on Deconstructing ‘the Popular,’” 232. Emphasis by the author.18. McCarthy, The Uses of Culture, 37.19. The concept of “celebration” is discussed later in the essay, and in Cameron McCarthy,

Glenn Hudak, Shawn Miklaucic, and Paula Saukko, Sound Identities: Popular Music andthe Cultural Politics of Education (New York: Peter Lang, 1999).

20. On identity in cultural studies, see Stuart Hall, “The Question of Cultural Identity,” inModernity and Its Futures, ed. Stuart Hall, David Held, and Anthony McGrew (Cam-bridge, Eng: Polity Press), 273–325; Stuart Hall and Paul duGay, eds., Questions of Cul-tural Identity (London: Sage, 1996); and The Identity in Question, John Rajchman, ed.(London: Routledge, 1995).

21. A similar point could be made about other identifications, such as race. See StanleyAronowitz, “Reflections on Identity,” in Rajchman, The Identity in Question, 111–144.Lois Weis’ work also examines the ruptures and differences in the working class in anAmerican context. See Working Class without Work: High School Students in a De-industrial-izing Economy (New York: Routledge, 1991), and, more recently, “Revisiting a 1980s‘Moment of Critique’: Class, Gender and the New Economy,” paper presented at theannual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans,April 2002.

22. E. P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (Harmondsworth, Eng.: Pen-guin, 1980).

23. Raymond Williams is perhaps the most influential scholar of this century in the field ofcultural studies. A full examination of his work is beyond the scope of this essay. See,for example, The Long Revolution (Harmondsworth, Eng.: Penguin, 1965) and Cultureand Society (Harmondsworth, Eng.: Penguin, 1963). In addition to the work of Williamsand Thompson, Richard Hoggart’s The Uses of Literacy (Harmondsworth, Eng.: Pen-guin, 1965) is also considered a founding text of cultural studies.

24. Most notably, Stuart Hall, Dick Hebdige, Tony Bennett, and Henry Giroux. See, for ex-ample, Hall, “Notes on Deconstructing ‘the Popular’”; Dick Hebdige, Subculture: TheMeaning of Style (London: Methuen, 1970); Bennett, “Introduction: Popular Cultureand the Turn to Gramsci,” in Popular Culture and Social Relations, ed. Tony Bennett,Colin Mercer, and Janet Woollacott (Milton Keynes, Eng.: Open University Press,1980), xi–xix; Henry Giroux, “Rethinking Cultural Politics and Radical Pedagogy inthe Work of Antonio Gramsci,” Educational Theory, 49 (1999), 1–19. Gramsci was also aprimary influence on the work of scholars associated with the Birmingham School, dis-cussed later in this article. The literature on Gramsci is extensive, and has been influen-tial in the vast majority of fields in the social sciences and humanities. Ernesto Laclauand Chantal Mouffe are perhaps the most prominent Gramscian scholars. Amongother publications, see Laclau and Mouffe, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards aRadical Democratic Politics (London: Verso, 2001). Gramsci’s own writings have beenpublished and reprinted in numerous publications, most prominently, AntonioGramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1970). Seealso David Forgacs, ed., An Antonio Gramsci Reader (New York: Schocken, 1988), and Da-vid Forgacs and Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, eds., Antonio Gramsci: Selections from CulturalWritings (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1970).

25. Within cultural studies, this type of analysis is often referred to as articulation. SeeJennifer Daryl Stack, “The Theory and Method of Articulation in Cultural Studies,” inStuart Hall: Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies, ed. David Morley and Kuan-Hsing Chen(London: Routledge, 1996), 112–127; and Lawrence Grossberg, “On Postmodernismand Articulation: Stuart Hall and Cultural Studies,” also in Morley and Chen, StuartHall, 131–150.

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26. Grossberg, “Pedagogy in the Present,” 94.27. Bennett, “Introduction: Popular Culture and the Turn to Gramsci,” xvi.28. Hall, “Notes on Deconstructing ‘the Popular,’” 235.29. Hall, “Notes on Deconstructing ‘the Popular,’” 235.30. In religion, for example, see Wade Roof, Spiritual Marketplace (Princeton, NJ: Princeton

University Press, 1999); and Marjorie Garber and Rebecca Walkowitz, eds., One NationUnder God: Religion and American Culture (New York: Routledge, 1999). The literature inEnglish is extensive, and includes a significant percentage of the field of cultural stud-ies. For examples, see Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson, and Paula Treichler, eds., Cul-tural Studies (New York: Routledge, 1992); and Rob Nixon, Homelands, Harlem and Holly-wood: South African Culture and the World Beyond (New York: Routledge, 1994). bell hookshas also published widely on popular culture, including Black Looks: Race and Representa-tion (Boston: South End Press, 1992) and Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representation (NewYork: Routledge, 1994). Girls’ culture has also become a significant focus in the field ofEnglish, though collected works often span the humanities. See, for example, SherrieA. Inness, ed., Millennium Girls: Today’s Girls around the World (Lanham, MD: Rowman &Littlefield, 1998). Much of the writing on popular culture in history can be located inthe growing field of consumer culture studies. See, for example, Lawrence Glickman,ed., Consumer Society in American History: A Reader (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press,1999). The Journal of Popular Culture also often includes historical analysis of popularculture. See also George Lipsitz, Time Passages: Collective Memory and American Culture(Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1990). Three strong collections that spanseveral fields are Nicholas B. Dirks, Geoff Eley, and Sherry Ortner, eds., Culture/Power/History: A Reader in Contemporary Social Theory (Princeton, NJ: Princeton UniversityPress, 1994); Gina Dent, ed., Black Popular Culture (Seattle: Bay Press, 1992); and An-drew Ross and Tricia Rose, eds., Microphone Fiends: Youth Music & Youth Culture (NewYork: Routledge, 1994). Significant journals in the field include Cultural Studies; SocialText; Public Culture; Media, Culture, and Society; Screen; and New Formation.

31. A representative sample of Giroux’s work includes Disturbing Pleasures, Fugitive Cultures:Race, Violence, and Youth (New York: Routledge, 1996); Impure Acts: The Practical Politics ofCultural Studies (New York: Routledge, 2000); The Mouse That Roared: Disney and the Endof Innocence (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999); Channel Surfing: Racism, theMedia, and the Destruction of Today’s Youth (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997); and “Do-ing Cultural Studies: Youth and the Challenge of Pedagogy,” Harvard Educational Re-view, 64 (1994), 278–307.

32. Shirley Steinberg and Joe Kincheloe, eds., Kinderculture: The Corporate Construction ofChildhood (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1997); McCarthy, The Uses of Culture; McCarthy,et al., eds., Sound Identities: Popular Music and the Cultural Politics of Education; Girouxand Simon, eds., Popular Culture, Schooling, and Everyday Life; McCarthy et al., “Dangerin the Safety Zone: Notes on Race, Resentment, and the Discourse of Crime, Violenceand Suburban Security,” Cultural Studies, 11 (1997), 272–295; Anne Haas Dyson, Writ-ing Superheroes (New York: Teachers College Press, 1997) and The Brothers and SistersLearn to Write: Popular Literacies in Childhood and School Cultures (New York: Teachers Col-lege Press, 2002) (see also Dyson in this issue); and Peter McLaren, Rethinking MediaLiteracy: A Critical Pedagogy of Representation (New York: Peter Lang, 1995). See alsoJames Schwoch, Mimi White, and Susan Reilly, Media Knowledge: Readings in Popular Cul-ture, Pedagogy, and Critical Citizenship (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992).Though not located solely in the field of education, both Angela McRobbie andDouglas Kellner have had significant influence on educational scholars. SeeMcRobbie, Postmodernism and Popular Culture (New York: Routledge, 1994) and Back toReality? Social Experience and Cultural Studies (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997), andKellner, Media Culture: Cultural Studies, Identity, and Politics between the Modern and the

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Postmodern (New York: Routledge, 1995) (see also Trend in this issue). There is also, ofcourse, a significant emphasis on the analysis of popular culture in media and commu-nication studies. See, for example, Marsha Kinder, ed., Kids’ Media Culture (Durham,NC: Duke University Press, 1999) and Buckingham in this volume.

33. Paul Willis, Common Culture (Milton Keynes, Eng.: Open University Press, 1990), 147.34. “Anxiety” critics can be found across the political spectrum in the United States, not

just among conservatives. For example, mainstream liberal Democrat Tipper Gore andthe Parents’ Music Resource Center attempted to regulate rock music in the 1980s. SeeJonathan Sterne, “Going Public: Rock Aesthetics in the American Political Field,” inMcCarthy et al., Sound Identities, 289–313. From the perspective of the Left, anxiety isevident in some of the essays in Steinberg and Kincheloe, Kinderculture, and in the jour-nal Rethinking Schools. Anxiety is not an irrelevant perspective, particularly when it isconnected to larger structural issues. However, the “discovery” of racism, sexism, andother forms of oppression in popular culture is no longer news, and it appears that cri-tique is doing little to actually change that reality. Grossberg and others argue that thissuggests that reality is messier and more complicated than anxiety positions allow. For asustained discussion of the various theoretical positions exemplified in Sound Identities,see Nadine Dolby’s book review of Sound Identities: Popular Music and the Cultural Politicsof Education, Harvard Educational Review, 71 (2001), 742–751.

35. John Fiske is often cited as an example of the celebratory, noncritical approach to thestudy of popular culture. See, for example, Understanding Popular Culture (Boston:Unwin Hyman, 1989).

36. For an example of this type of analysis, see Greg Dimitriadis and Cameron McCarthy,“Stranger in the Village: James Baldwin, Popular Culture, and the Ties that Bind,”Qualitative Inquiry, 6 (2000), 171–187.

37. Janice Radway, Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature (ChapelHill: University of North Carolina Press, 1984).

38. See Ien Ang, Watching Dallas: Soap Opera and the Melodramatic Imagination (London:Methuen, 1985). Similar analyses abound in journals such as Media, Culture, and Societyand Cultural Studies.

39. Stuart Hall, “Encoding and Decoding in the Media Discourse,” Stencilled Paper, 7 (Bir-mingham, Eng.: Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, 1973). The essay has beenreprinted in numerous collections, including Simon During, ed., The Cultural StudiesReader (London: Routledge, 1993), 90–103.

40. See, for example, “The Delinquents: Censorship and Youth Culture in Recent U.S. His-tory,” History of Education Quarterly, 37 (1997), 251–270. In addition to delinquency,there was concern that youth cultural practices would lead to moral trangressions, suchas premaritial and interracial sexual relationships. The history of rock’n’roll is cer-tainly one instance of this. See Michael Sturma, “The Politics of Dancing: WhenRock’n’Roll Came to Australia,” Journal of Popular Culture, 25 (1992), 123–146. AsSturma argues, rock’n’roll was seen as transgressive until the arrival of television, whichdomesticated the music and associated practices.

41. An excellent visual resource that describes, analyzes, and represents the range of sub-culture styles throughout the twentieth century is Ted Polhemus, Streetstyle: From Side-walk to Catwalk (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1994). Originally written as a compan-ion to the exhibit “Streetstyle” at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in1994–1995, the book is an invaluable overview of forty youth subculture styles fromzoot suits to technos and cyberpunks. The book also includes a visual timeline and fur-ther reading on each subculture.

42. Dick Hebdige, Subculture: The Meaning of Style (London: Routledge, 1979); Stuart Halland Tony Jefferson, eds., Resistance Through Rituals: Youth Subcultures in Post-War Britain(Milton Keynes, Eng.: Open University Press, 1975). For a comprehensive overview of

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the field of youth culture research in the British and European context, see ChristineGriffin, “Imagining New Narratives of Youth: Youth Research, the ‘New Europe’ andGlobal Youth Culture,” Childhood, 8 (2001), 147–166. From an anthropological per-spective, see Mary Bucholz’s literature review, “Youth and Cultural Practice,” AnnualReview of Anthropology, 31 (2002), 525–552.

43. Griffin, “Imagining New Narratives of Youth,” 148.44. See Polhemus, Streetstyle.45. A representative collection, which encompasses multiple fields, genres, and theoretical

perspectives, is Ken Gelder and Sarah Thornton, eds., The Subcultures Reader (London:Routledge, 1997). Rooted in the Birmingham School, Gelder and Thornton also an-thologize writings by the Chicago School and link its tradition of sociological researchto youth subculture analysis.

46. Paul Willis, Learning to Labour: How Working Class Kids Get Working Class Jobs(Farnborough, Eng.: Saxon House, 1977).

47. Angela McRobbie, Feminism and Youth Culture: From Jackie to Just Seventeen (London:Macmillan, 1991); Angela McRobbie and Jenny Garber, “Girls and Subcultures,” in Re-sistance through Rituals, ed. Stuart Hall and Tony Jefferson (Milton Keynes, Eng.: OpenUniversity Press, 1975), 209–222.

48. Christine Griffin’s study, Typical Girls? Young Women from School to the Job Market (Lon-don: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1985), followed closely on the publication of Willis’Learning to Labour. In the United States, Lois Weis’ Working Class without Work examinedthe lives of working-class youth in a markedly different economic environment thanthe one studied by Willis. For overviews of contemporary youth culture research, seeVerad Amit and Helena Wulff, Youth Cultures: A Cross-Cultural Perspective (London:Routledge, 1995); and Tracey Skelton and Gill Valentine, Cool Places: Geographies ofYouth Culture (London: Routledge, 1997). A contemporary example of subculture re-search is Sarah Thornton, Club Cultures: Music, Media and Subculture Capital (Oxford,Eng.: Polity Press, 1995). Christine Griffin’s Representations of Youth: The Study of Youthand Adolescence in Britain and America (Oxford, Eng.: Polity Press, 1993) also provides auseful introduction. For a historical perspective on American youth cultures, see JoeAustin and Micheal Nevin Willard, eds., Generations of Youth: Youth Cultures and Historyin Twentieth-Century America (New York: New York University Press, 1998), and SherrieA. Inness, ed., Delinquents and Debutantes: Twentieth-Century American Girls’ Culture (NewYork: New York University Press, 1998).

49. Willis, Common Culture, 136.50. See Griffin, “Imagining New Narratives of Youth,” for discussion. In short, both post-

structuralism and postmodernism questioned the “master narratives” that underlieMarxism and other systems of analysis, and the search for “truth” in the social sciences.Ethnographic and qualitative research was further shaken by postcolonial challengesto the validity of studying “the other,” and questions about the legitimacy of the re-searcher’s voice and perspective. These issues continue to be valid and important chal-lenges to social science research today.

51. Lawrence Grossberg, “Identity and Cultural Studies: Is That All There Is?” in Questionsof Cultural Identity, ed. Stuart Hall and Paul du Gay (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1996),100.

52. In this case, democracy was “unavailable” as many voters, largely African American,were denied the right to vote. Such patterns of discrimination and limited democraticaccess have a long history in American politics.

53. Cornel West, Race Matters (New York: Vintage Books, 1994), 19.54. For critiques of liberal democratic theory, discussions of radical democratic theory,

and comparisons between the two, see Anna Marie Smith, Laclau and Mouffe: The Radi-cal Democratic Imaginary (London: Routledge, 1998), Chantal Mouffe, The Democratic

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Paradox (London: Verso, 2000), and David Trend, Radical Democracy: Identity, Citizenship,and the State (New York: Routledge, 1996), especially Chantal Mouffe, “Radical Democ-racy or Liberal Democracy?” 19–26.

55. Marshall was concerned with the expansion of social rights and argued that, in order toactively participate in society, all citizens have a right to basic needs, without which theycannot exercise their civil and political rights. See Martin Bulmer and Anthony Rees,eds., Citizenship Today: The Contemporary Relevance of T. H. Marshall (London: UCL Press,1996). For a basic introduction to citizenship in Western societies, see Keith Faulks, Cit-izenship (London: Routledge, 2000). On citizenship and globalization, see StephenCastles and Alastair Davidson, Citizenship and Migration: Globalization and the Politics ofBelonging (New York: Routledge, 2000); Jeremy Brecher, John Brown Childs, and JillCutler, eds., Global Visions: Beyond the New World Order (Boston: South End Press, 1993);and Pheng Cheah and Bruce Robbins, eds., Cosmopolitics: Thinking and Feeling beyond theNation (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998).

56. Cutbacks in social services and state funding are part of the ascendancy of neo-liberalism. For a discussion of neoliberalism in relationship to education, see MichaelApple, Educating the “Right” Way: Markets, Standards, God, and Inequality (New York:Routledge, 2001), and Henry Giroux, “Educated Hope in an Age of Privatized Vi-sions,” Cultural Studies/Critical Methodologies, 2 (2002), 93–112. Much of the writing onglobalization and education also addresses the global retreat of the state from its com-mitment to social rights. See Nicholas Burbules and Carlos Torres, eds., Globalizationand Education: Critical Perspectives (New York: Routledge, 2000), and Globalization andEducation: Integration and Contestation across Cultures (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Little-field, 2000).

57. Katharyne Mitchell, “Education for Democratic Citizenship: Transnationalism, Multi-culturalism, and the Limits of Liberalism,” Harvard Educational Review, 71 (2001),51–78.

58. Peggy Levitt, The Transnational Villagers (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001).59. Henry Giroux, for example, has argued this point in numerous publications, as have

numerous other authors. See references in notes 22 and 23.60. Quoted in David Trend, Cultural Democracy: Politics, Media, New Technology (Albany:

State University of New York Press, 1997), 3. See also Chantal Mouffe, “Radical Democ-racy or Liberal Democracy?” in Radical Democracy: Identity, Citizenship, and the State, ed.David Trend (New York: Routledge, 1996).

61. Toby Miller, Technologies of Truth: Cultural Citizenship and the Popular Media (Minneapo-lis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998), and “Exchange-Value Citizenship,” Social Text,56 (1997), 43–48.

62. Cindy Patton and Robert L. Caserio, “Introduction: Citizenship 2000,” Cultural Studies,14 (2000), 1.

63. Levitt, Transnational Villagers, 19.64. See Michael Apple, Official Knowledge: Democratic Education in a Conservative Age, 2nd ed.

(New York: Routledge, 2000), xiii, and Apple, Educating the “Right” Way.65. Greg Kot, “Who Sells Out?” Chicago Tribune, October 6, 2002, Sec. 7, p. 9, West Subur-

ban edition.66. See Lizabeth Cohen, “Citizens and Consumers in the United States in the Century of

Mass Consumption,” in The Politics of Consumption: Material Culture and Citizenship in Eu-rope and America, ed. Martin Daunton and Matthew Hilton (Oxford, Eng.: Berg Press,2001), 203–221. The example of the National Consumers League is drawn fromKathryn Kish Sklar’s work, among others.

67. Meg Jacobs, “The Politics of Plenty in the Twentieth-Century United States,” inDaunton and Hilton, The Politics of Consumption, 223–239.

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68. There is a vast literature on consumption, society, and democracy. For a representativehistorical collection, see Lawrence Glickman, ed., Consumer Society in American History:A Reader (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999). A strong collection of key worksin consumption studies is Juliet B. Schor and Douglas B. Holt, eds., The Consumer SocietyReader (New York: New Press, 2000). For a global perspective, see David Howes, ed.,Cross-Cultural Consumption: Global Markets, Local Realities (London: Routledge, 1996).For an approach grounded in cultural studies, see Hugh Mackay, ed., Consumption andEveryday Life (London: Sage, 1997).

69. See Henry Giroux, Impure Acts: The Practical Politics of Cultural Studies (Routledge: NewYork, 2000), and Michel Foucault, Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings,1972–1977 (New York: Pantheon, 1980).

70. Jacobs, “The Politics of Plenty,” 203–221.71. Apple, Educating the “Right” Way, 63–65. On the concept of “gritty materialities,” Apple

observes, “While the construction of new theories and utopian visions is important, it isequally critical to base these theories and visions in an unromantic appraisal of the ma-terial and discursive terrain that now exists” (p. 64).

72. I use examples that focus on race, as that is one of my areas of research and scholar-ship. However, one can certainly find parallel examples in other arenas.

73. Harvard Educational Review editorial policy is to capitalize racial identifiers such asWhite, Black, and Coloured. From my perspective, such a practice perpetuates the reifica-tion of “race” and fails to engage the historical, political, social, and cultural contingen-cies of power that surround the concept. While I encourage the HER Editorial Board toreconsider this policy, usage in this article reflects their current practice. I express asimilar concern in my book review essay of Sound Identities: Popular Music and the Cul-tural Politics of Education, Harvard Educational Review, 71 (2001), 742–751, as doesWendy Luttrell in her article, “‘Good Enough’ Methods for Ethnographic Research,”Harvard Educational Review, 79 (2000), 499–523.

74. For a more developed discussion of Pamela Perry, Greg Dimitriadis, and SunainaMaira’s research, see Nadine Dolby, “Youth, Culture, and Identity: Ethnographic Ex-plorations,” Educational Researcher, 31 (2002), 37–42. And see Perry, Shades of White(Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002); Maira, Desis in the House (Philadelphia:Temple University Press, 2002); and Dimitriadis, Performing Identity/Performing Culture(New York: Peter Lang, 2001); Amy Best’s Prom Night: Youth, Schools, and Popular Culture(New York: Routledge, 2000); Amira Proweller’s Constructing Female Identities: MeaningMaking in an Upper Middle Class Youth Culture (Albany: State University of New YorkPress, 1998) and Kathleen Hall, Lives in Translation: Sikh Youth as British Citizens (Phila-delphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002) are other recent books that similarlylook at youth’s cultural practices as productive spaces of democracy. See also ArunSaldanha, “Music, Space, Identity: Geographies of Youth Culture in Bangalore,” Cul-tural Studies, 16 (2002), 332–350.

75. Perry, Shades of White, 124.76. George Lipsitz examines this critical dynamic in his book, Dangerous Crossroads: Popular

Music, Postmodernism, and the Poetics of Place (London: Verso, 1994).77. For more detailed discussions of my research at Fernwood, see Nadine Dolby, Construct-

ing Race: Youth, Identity, and Popular Culture in South Africa (Albany: State University ofNew York Press, 2001); “Changing Selves: Multicultural Education and the Challengeof New Identities,” Teachers College Record, 102 (2000), 898–912; and “Making White:Constructing Race in a South African High School,” Curriculum Inquiry 32 (2002),7–29.

78. “Rave” has its roots in the acid house dance club culture of the 1980s in Britain. By themid-1990s, rave arrives in Fernwood and it becomes a site of public racial negotiation

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among young people. Rave is often portrayed historically as a genre of music favoredby White youth, although it has its roots in the Black music and communities of De-troit. On rave and club cultures, see Sarah Thornton, Club Cultures: Music, Media andSubcultural Capital (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England/Wesleyan Press,1996).

79. Under apartheid, individuals were classified as African, Indian, Colored, or White. De-spite the legal demise of these categories in 1994, they continue to be significant waysthat youth define themselves. However, as I demonstrate throughout my research, thecategories and meanings are never static.

80. Panther, dir./prod., Mario Van Peebles, Gramercy, 1995, and Eyes on the Prize, prod.Blackside, Public Broadcasting Service, 1987.

81. Lois Weis and Michelle Fine, “Construction Sites: An Introduction,” in ConstructionSites: Excavating Race, Class, and Gender among Urban Youth, ed. Lois Weis and MichelleFine (New York: Teachers College Press, 2000), xii.

82. Miller, Technologies of Truth, 4.83. C. L. R. James, American Civilization (Oxford, Eng.: Blackwell, 1993). For critical com-

mentary on James, see Grant Farred, ed., Rethinking C. L. R. James (Cambridge, MA:Blackwell, 1996).

84. See Dimitriadis and McCarthy, “Stranger in the Village”85. Andrew Ross, No Sweat: Fashion, Free Trade, and the Rights of Garment Workers (New York:

Verso, 1997).86. Benjamin Barber, “Malled, Mauled, and Overhauled: Arresting Suburban Sprawl by

Transforming Suburban Malls into Usable Civic Spaces,” in Public Space and Democracy,ed. Marcel Hénaff and Tracy B. Strong (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press,2001), 201–220, 211.

87. Naomi Klein, No Logo (New York: Picador, 2002).88. Apple, Official Knowledge, xi–xii.


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