Mix It Up: Popular Culture, Mass Media, and Society

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9780393929522: Mix It Up: Popular Culture, Mass Media, and Society

A “non-textbook” introduction to the social significance of popular culture and mass media.

What accounts for the rise and fall of popular cultural trends? Why do A-list movie stars make so much money? How do television networks decide what programs to air? Do video games encourage violent behavior among young people, or do they make users smarter? Does advertising really work? In Mix It Up, David Grazian answers these questions and introduces students to a sociological perspective of popular culture and mass media.

Based on the author’s popular course at the University of Pennsylvania, Mix it Up focuses on the role of media and popular culture in everyday life, with a particular emphasis on the organization and functioning of the mass media industry; the increasingly blurry relationship between cultural consumption and production; and the social significance of leisure activities, from sports to shopping.

Whether it’s DJ culture, YouTube videos, or mash-ups, Mix It Up takes an empirically driven (yet user-friendly) approach to examining media and pop culture from all corners of society. Writing in a “non-textbook” style, Grazian relies on a variety of theoretical perspectives and fleshes out his discussions with examples from empirical sociological studies as well as excerpts from field notes, face-to-face interviews, and other research materials collected over the last decade.

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About the Author:

David Grazian is an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches courses on popular culture and mass media, urban sociology, and ethnographic methods. Over 400 students take his sociology of popular culture and mass media course each semester, making it one of the largest courses at the University of Pennsylvania. In his research he uses ethnographic and other qualitative methods to study the production and consumption of commercial entertainment in cities. His books include Blue Chicago: The Search for Authenticity in Urban Blues Clubs (2003), On the Make: The Hustle of Urban Nightlife (2008), and American Zoo: A Sociological Safari (2015).

Review:

“In Mix It Up, David Grazian pulls off the hat trick, three big scores in one book. He combines an encyclopedic knowledge of popular culture, a deep acquaintance with and understanding of sociological ideas, and a relaxed yet penetrating language to pass on what he knows to his lucky readers.”
- Howard S. Becker, author of Art Worlds and Telling About Society

“This is the book I’ve been waiting for. Grazian deftly uses the lens of popular culture to introduce major themes in the sociology of culture, and the sociology of culture to illuminate key features of popular culture. Mix It Up is accessible but never dumbed-down, current while also historically rich, at once wide-ranging and shrewdly organized. Grazian’s text is the best I’ve encountered for undergraduate courses in sociology of culture and pop-culture studies.”
- Joshua Gamson, University of San Francisco; Author of Claims to Fame, Freaks Talk Back, and The Fabulous Sylvester

“From Bollywood to Botox, Shakespeare to Second Life, David Grazian uses a wide array of cutting-edge examples to illustrate how popular culture serves as a window into sociological thinking. His conversational writing style takes the reader through a fun and informative journey through the essential topics concerning media culture today.”
- Karen Sternheimer, University of Southern California; Editor of the Everyday Sociology Blog

“Part fierce intellectual, part exuberant fan, Grazian delves beneath the noisy skim of pop culture to find patterns, meanings, and rituals. Mix It Up uses the power of the sociological imagination to pry the shiny lid off of everyday objects and artifacts, revealing social processes, political ideologies, and cultural mechanisms whirring away underneath. Written with humor and wit, this is a smart and lively book, interesting and accessible to students and useful and inspiring for instructors.”
- Matt Wray, Temple University

“David Grazian’s book is a godsend for sociologists entrusted with teaching popular culture classes. It is an engaging, scholarly rigorous book. I would certainly recommend it to a colleague.”
- Omar Lizardo, University of Notre Dame

Mix It Up deftly unscrambles the diverse and fast changing world of mass media-made popular culture and its place in American society.”
- Richard A. Peterson, Vanderbilt University

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