Cultural Theory and Popular Culture : An Introduction book cover
9th Edition

Cultural Theory and Popular Culture
An Introduction

ISBN 9780367820602
Published February 26, 2021 by Routledge
310 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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

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.

Table of Contents

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


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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