Now, more than 20 years since its initial release, John Fiske’s classic text Media Matters remains both timely and insightful as an empirically rich examination of how the fierce battle over cultural meaning is negotiated in American popular culture.
Media Matters takes us to the heart of social inequality and the call for social justice by interrogating some of the most important issues of its time. Fiske offers a practical guide to learning how to interpret the ways that media events shape the social landscape, to contest official and taken-for-granted accounts of how events are presented/conveyed through media, and to affect social change by putting intellectual labor to public use.
A new introductory essay by former Fiske student Black Hawk Hancock entitled ‘Learning How to Fiske: Theorizing Cultural Literacy, Counter-History, and the Politics of Media Events in the 21st Century’ explains the theoretical and methodological tools with which Fiske approaches cultural analysis, highlighting the lessons today’s students can continue to draw upon in order to understand society today.
Table of Contents
Learning How to Fiske: Theorizing Power, Knowledge, and Bodies in the 21st Century
Black Hawk Hancock
Chapter One Murphy Brown, Dan Quayle, and the Family Row of the Year
Chapter Two Hearing Anita Hill (and Viewing Bill Cosby)
Chapter Three Los Angeles: A Tale of Three Videos
Chapter Five Technostruggles
Appendix: The John Fiske Reading List
John Fiske is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.
Black Hawk Hancock is an Associate Professor of Sociology at DePaul University, USA.
"Republishing Media Matters could not be more timely, given the ways that the events and trends Fiske discusses here are actively shaping our present moment: from the emergence of a whole new set of "media events" and police violence directed against our ever more multicultural society (Ferguson, #Blacklivesmatter) to the recurring role the Clintons and Joe Bidden play in contemporary politics to the emergence of yet another celebrated black celebrity (Bill Cosby) now accused of unspeakable acts. Add to this Fiske's attention to what politics looks like in an era of proliferating communication platforms and the emergence of grassroots forms of media power. Media Matters is the book of John Fiske's which I reach for most often and am never disappointed. Of Fiske's books, Media Matters is the one most informed by the particularities of his historical moment but also the most prescient in anticipating the world we now inhabit. Black Hawk Hancock's introduction to this new edition places the work in its theoretical and historical context, explaining why the underlying argument still speaks to contemporary readers, and provides us tools for how we, too, can do cultural analysis as would-be public intellectuals."
Henry Jenkins, Provost Professor of Communication, Journalism, Cinematic Arts and Education, University of Southern California
"Media Matters is not only a timeless perspective on media culture, but its re-release is made even better by the perspectives of Fiske disciple sociologist Black Hawk Hancock. The lessons shared by the book still ring true, a point that is both unfortunate as a reflection of our current times, yet fortunate for those seeking an in-depth look at media as text."
Darrell M. Newton, Associate Dean and Professor, The Fulton School of Liberal Arts, Salisbury University