What popular culture can teach political theory ? Inventory of theoretical reflections on popular culture, the authors of this dossier intend to participate in the construction of "French" cultural studies and call for more research on marginalized subjects in France . Read More
Introduction. Is popular culture soluble in cultural industry?
Keivan Djavadzadeh, Pierre Raboud
The articles brought together in this volume examine the tension to the dominant culture within popular culture, seeking for continuously changing relationships caught between hegemonic processes (recuperation, commodification and normalization) and counterhegemonic dynamics (subversion, appropriation and recoding, emancipation). This article, rather than imposing a theoretical framework, seeks to review the state of the art in cultural theory. Articulated around key concepts such as hegemony or popular, it highlights the possible dialogue between several theoretical traditions, from Pierre Bourdieu, Claude Grignon and Jean-Claude Passeron's sociology of culture to cultural studies. This volume also intends to make a modest contribution to the French cultural studies ongoing literature.
The Black Masks of White Pop Stars: Miley Cyrus and the Politics of Cultural Appropriation
This article aims at providing an analysis of the politics of cultural appropriation through a study of Miley Cyrus' "transition" away from her former Disney character. The concept of cultural appropriation refers to the practice whereby the dominant group "takes away" the cultural and racial signifiers from a subaltern racialized group through a process of decontextualization, so that former racial markers are no longer perceived as such. I argue that color-blind ideology is crucial for legitimizing cultural appropriation. White pop stars such as Miley Cyrus invest in the myth of a postracial America where race would no longer be an issue, especially in popular culture. I examine the ways in which racial and ethnic difference constitutes a subversive resource for these pop stars, since it enables them to exploit Black cultural forms, both artistically and commercially, while ignoring or denying the Black experience from which cultural productions emerge.
"Darling, you must reveal your femininity!" Rhetoric of choice and emancipation in makeover TV shows in France
This article focuses on two makeover TV shows Nouveau Look pour une Nouvelle Vie and Belle toute Nue broadcasted on M6 Channel in France. It aims at unravelling the normative models of femininity and masculinity promoted by both TV shows when it distinguishes between “good” and “bad” looks. It analyses the discursive production of the subject of makeover and the makeover itself, through the injunction to act and react. We argue that makeover TV shows have ambivalent effects. By inviting the participants to take control over their bodies, they define the look and makeover as a tool of empowerment. Yet, they also reassert in an insidious manner hegemonic conceptions of gender, such as sex difference, the centrality of masculine desire and the sexualisation of the female body. They thus promote new forms of self-discipline and surveillance.
Immanence and transcendence of the cleavage between masculinity and femininity in Quentin Tarantino's cinema
Marie Pierre Huillet
If there is a media attached to popular culture, it’s the cinema. In France, it remains the cultural outing ahead concerts, exhibitions or museums, even today. But like any “technology of power” (Michel Foucault), cinema is a space that contributes to impose social norms, especially those concerning social sex relationships. What in the filmography of the American director Quentin Tarantino ? Throughout the seven features of this last is first a andro-centred world with characters with Gender identity very traditional that appears to the viewer. But this universe is like the arena of approval and opposition as often among Tarantino, characters, unable to really transcend the cleavage usually standardized masculine and feminine, appear worn by this scheme and for a few eager to transcend.
Cinephilia Politics: The Female Voice in 1950s Popular Film Magazines
In order to analyze popular culture, one must explore the relations between its users and the various objects that are being produced and distributed by the cultural industries for mass consumption. To this end, we will examine the reception of mainstream cinema in France during the 1950s, through an analysis of reader’s letters published by Le Film complet, a popular weekly mostly read by female spectators. We will show the expansion of a female kind of cinephilia, caracterised by counter-hegemonic dynamics shaped in reaction to the elitist view of the dominant cinephilic practices as well as to the masculinism of the cinematographic production and to the masculine and patriarchal organization of French society as a whole.
Punk’s high tide! How the French music press seized hold of a novel music phenomenon (1976-1978)
Luc Robène, Solveig Serre
This article seeks to study the reception of punk in the French music press. Through an analysis of the publications of the two music magazines which dominated the coverage of popular music in France between 1976 and 1979 (Rock & Folk and Best), we show how these forms of media played an important role in the diffusion of punk rock which, far from being confined to the listening experience, was a genre of music which was also made up of words and images, reviews and points of view, and thus read. By covering punk, by focussing on some of its features, by exaggerating and sometimes inventing some of its codes because of the way it staged the phenomenon, the music press both brought to wider public attention and helped shape this raucous, edgy new culture of resistance. This study investigates the media mechanisms and processes which accompanied and even determined the transformations that the punk image underwent in France by markedly shifting the boundaries between counter-culture and mainstream.
Using fans’ works to promote TV shows
In an era of technological and cultural convergence, fans, an active and productive audience, are becoming a target audience to set up productions’ strategies. If we rely on Jenkins’ seminal work on the Trekkies (Jenkins, 1992), fans are described as active, producers of contents and part of a social online community, called fandom. Fans’ activities are meaningful and contribute to a reappropriation of the text in the form of a cultural poaching (De Certeau, 1980). It is thus interesting to analyse how producers use these activities and creations and what kind of tension or collaboration emerge from these online activities. For example, producers of Orange Is The New Black invite fans to take selfies dressed in orange every Wednesday and share theirs pictures on social networks. Fans play a marketing role, promoting the show, in a movement called “Fanadvertising”. This paper will try to understand the stakes of this participatory culture in terms of marketing strategies from the producers. How does such a reusing of fans’ creativities play a part in the new relation between producers and receptors?