Unplugging Popular Culture: Reconsidering Analog Technology, Materiality, and the “Digital Native

Unplugging Popular Culture

Reconsidering Analog Technology, Materiality, and the “Digital Native", 1st Edition

By K. Shannon Howard


166 pages

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pub: 2018-12-11
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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

Table of Contents

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

About the Author


K. Shannon Howard is Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Philosophy at Auburn University Montgomery, USA

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:
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / History & Criticism
PERFORMING ARTS / Television / History & Criticism
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Children's Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies