Materiality and Popular Culture: The Popular Life of Things, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Materiality and Popular Culture

The Popular Life of Things, 1st Edition

Edited by Anna Malinowska, Karolina Lebek


272 pages | 9 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138657809
pub: 2016-09-01
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315621166
pub: 2016-08-12
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This book critically approaches contemporary meanings of materiality and discuses ways in which we understand, experience, and engage with objects through popular culture in our private, social and professional lives. Appropriating Arjun Appadurai’s famous phrase: "the social life of things", with which he inspired scholars to take material culture more seriously and, as a result, treat it as an important and revealing area of cultural studies, the book explores the relationship between material culture and popular practices, and points to the impact they have exerted on our co-existence with material worlds in the conditions of late modernity.


"Conceptually eclectic and empirically wide-ranging, this book provides an expansive and sophisticated exploration of the complex, shifting and emergent relations between the material and the popular."Mike Michael, University of Sydney, Australia

"Approaching the growing research field of material and popular culture from a range of perspectives and through many relevant and up-to-date case studies, this anthology adds to our understanding of the materiality of our everyday encounters with the popular." - Karin Fast, Karlstad University, Sweden

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Popular Life of Things 

[Anna Malinowska and Karolina Lebek]

Part 1: Theorizing the Popular and the Material

1. Culture: The ‘Popular’ and the ‘Material’ 

[John Storey]

2. Cultural Materialisms and Popular Processes of Late Modernity 

[Anna Malinowska]

3. The Secret Life of Things: Speculative Realism and the Autonomous Object

[Grzegorz Czemiel]

Part 2: From Material Media to Digital Materiality

4. The Representation of Book Culture in ItNarratives

[Joanna Maciulewicz]

5. The Intimacy of Writing – Lost in a Digital Age? 

[Mayannah N. Dahlheim]

6. Popular Digital Imaging: Photoshop as Middlebroware

[Frédérik Lesage]

7. When You Are Not What You Do Not Have: Some Remarks on Digital Inheritance 

[Marcin Sarnek]

Part 3: The Agency of Things and the Negotiation of Meaning

8. I See Faces: Popular Pareidolia and the Proliferation of Meaning 

[Joanne Lee]

9. From Piss-Communication to GraffARTi: Hegemony, Popular Culture and the Bastard Art

[David Walton]

10. From Performance to Objects and Back: London’s Inter-ion

[Lucia Vodanovic]

11. Bohemian Bourgeoisie and Subversive Commodities 

[Bartosz Stopel]

Part 4: Popular Narratives and Material Culture

12. Objects Don’t Lie: The Truth and the Things in Detective Stories

[Joanna Soćko]

13. Emotional Territories: An Exploration of Wes Anderson’s Cinemaps

[Nicolas Llano Linares]

14. The Poetics of Objects in True Detective

[Karolina Lebek]

15. Mapping the Daytime Landscape: World-Building on US Soap Opera

[C. Lee Harrington and Byron Miller]

Part 5: Material Culture and the Creative Self 

16. In Reverse: Declining Automobility and the Accidents of Progress

[Marcin Mazurek]

17. Living Dolls – A Food Studies Perspective 

[Nina Augustynowicz]

18. Contemporary Toys, Adults and Creative Material Culture: from Wow to Flow to Glow

[Katriina Heliakka]

19. From Stuff to Material Civilization – Towards a Materiality of Childhood 

[David James]

About the Editors

Anna Malinowska is Assistant Professor at the Institute of English Cultures and Literatures (IECL), University of Silesia, Poland. Her research interests embrace critical theory, popular culture, material culture and love studies. She is particularly interested in the formation of social and cultural norms and social-aesthetic codes of cultural production

Karolina Lebek is Assistant Professor at the Institute of English Cultures and Literatures (IECL), University of Silesia, Poland. She specializes in early modern studies, specifically in the study of objects as well as material cultures, i. e. theorizing and representing things in cultural and literary practices.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Cultural and Media Studies

Cultural and media studies are now well-established as important academic disciplines and are inspiring new research into a wide range of pertinent issues. This series presents outstanding research in these subjects, helping to shape the direction of future inquiry.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies