Unplugging Popular Culture showcases youth and young adult characters from film and television who defy the stereotype of the "digital native" who acts as an unquestioning devotee to screened technologies like the smartphone. In this study, unplugged tools, or non-digital tools, do not necessitate a ban on technology or a refusal to acknowledge its affordances but work instead to highlight the ability of fictional characters to move from high tech settings to low tech ones. By repurposing everyday materials, characters model the process of reusing and upcycling existing materials in innovative ways. In studying examples such as Pitch Perfect, Supernatural, Stranger Things, and Get Out, the book aims to make theories surrounding materiality apparent within popular culture and to help today’s readers reconsider stereotypes of the young people they encounter on a daily basis.
"There are a lot of books about digital natives that simplify the complex nature of their experience with culture, technology and how that defines their lives. Professor Howard skilfully illustrates the complex nature of digital natives and their love for both their own tech savvy lives and the wonders of the glitches and DIY projects that are as meaningful today as ever before." --Brian Cogan, Molloy College, USA
Introduction Unplugging: "It Forces You to Play Differently"
Chapter One "My Charade is the Event of the Season:" Celebrating Supernatural with Materiality, Music, and Generations X to Z
Chapter Two Beca as Bricoleur: How Pitch Perfect Characters Embrace Materiality and Music
Chapter Three Analog Dinosaurs and Abandoned Kids in Jurassic World
Chapter Four "Don’t Adjust Whatever Device You’re Hearing This On:" (Dis)embodiment and Analog Technology in 13 Reasons Why
Chapter Five Complicating Materiality and Generational Labels: Get Out and the Role of the Collector
Chapter Six Solving Z for X: Extending Generational Paradigms in Stranger Things
Conclusion Blooming (and Burning) Where You Are Planted: The Optimism of Generation Z