9th Edition

Cultural Theory and Popular Culture An Introduction

By John Storey Copyright 2021
    310 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    310 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In this ninth edition of his award-winning introduction, John Storey presents a clear and critical survey of competing theories of, and various approaches to, popular culture. Its breadth and theoretical unity, exemplified through popular culture, means that it can be flexibly and relevantly applied across a number of disciplines.

    Retaining the accessible approach of previous editions and using appropriate examples from the texts and practices of popular culture, this new edition remains a key introduction to the area.

    New to this edition:

    • updated throughout with contemporary examples of popular culture
    • revised and expanded sections on Richard Hoggart and Utopian Marxism
    • brand new discussions on Black Lives Matter and intersectionality
    • updated student resources at www.routledge.com/cw/storey

    This new edition remains essential reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students of cultural studies, media studies, communication studies, the sociology of culture, popular culture and other related subjects.

    1. What is popular culture?



    Popular culture

    Popular culture as other

    The contextuality of meaning


    Further reading

    2. The ‘culture and civilization’ tradition

    Matthew Arnold


    Mass culture in America: the post-war debate

    The culture of other people


    Further reading

    3. Culturalism into cultural studies

    Richard Hoggart: The Uses of Literacy

    Raymond Williams: ‘The analysis of culture’

    E.P. Thompson: The Making of the English Working Class

    Stuart Hall and Paddy Whannel: The Popular Arts

    The Centre of Contemporary Cultural Studies


    Further Reading

    4. Marxisms

    Classical Marxism

    The English Marxism of William Morris

    The Frankfurt School



    Post-Marxism and cultural studies

    Utopian Marxism


    Further Reading

    5. Psychoanalysis

    Freudian psychoanalysis

    Lacanian psychoanalysis


    Slavoj Žižek and Lacanian fantasy


    Further Reading

    6. Structuralism and post-structuralism

    Ferdinand de Saussure

    Claude Lévi-Strauss, Will Wright and the American Western

    Roland Barthes: Mythologies


    Jacques Derrida

    Discourse and power: Michel Foucault

    The panoptic machine


    Further reading

    7. Class and class struggle

    Class and popular culture

    Class in cultural studies

    Class struggle

    Consumption as class distinction

    Class and popular culture

    The ideological work of meritocracy


    Further reading

    8. Gender and Sexuality


    Women at the cinema

    Reading romance

    Watching Dallas

    Reading women’s magazines


    Men’s studies and masculinities

    Queer theory



    Further reading

    9. ‘Race’, racism and representation

    ‘Race’ and racism

    The ideology of racism: its historical emergence



    Anti-racism and cultural studies

    Black Lives Matter


    Further reading

    10. Postmodernism

    The postmodern condition

    Postmodernism in the 1960s

    Jean-François Lyotard

    Jean Baudrillard

    Fredric Jameson

    Postmodernism and the pluralism of value

    The global postmodern



    Further reading

    11. The materiality of popular culture


    Materiality as actor

    Meaning and materiality

    Materiality without meaning

    Material objects in a global world


    Further reading

    12. The politics of the popular

    The cultural field

    The economic field

    Post-Marxist cultural studies: hegemony revisited

    The ideology of mass culture


    Further reading



    John Storey is Emeritus Professor of Cultural Studies at the Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Sunderland, UK, and Chair Professor of the Changjiang Scholar Programme at the Comparative Cultural Studies Centre, Shaanxi Normal University, China. He has published widely in cultural studies, including twenty-six books. The most recent is Radical Utopianism and Cultural Studies (2019).

    This classic text explains how we can use cultural theory to understand the kaleidoscope of popular culture that surrounds us and shapes our lives. It is an outstandingly clear, beautifully written and authoritative book - and its breadth and depth will spark connections for old and new readers alike. 

    Professor Jo Littler, City, University of London, UK 

    Since its first publication in 1993 this has been my go-to introduction to cultural theory and popular culture. In part, this is because Storey writes with admirable clarity and concision but also because it is broad-ranging and full of useful and insightful examples that help students see how theory works in practice. Other reasons for choosing this as a course book are that it is constantly updated to take account of developments in cultural studies and that it is linked to a reader in which students can explore some of the texts that are discussed and illustrated in this book.

    Dr David Walton, Universidad de Murcia, Spain