The Journal of Popular Culture

Published by Wiley

Online ISSN: 1540-5931


Print ISSN: 0022-3840


"A Big Step to Oblivion for Las Vegas?" The "Battle of the Bare Bosoms," 1957-59
  • Article

October 2010


101 Reads

Larry Gragg

Reimagining Aboriginality in the Circus Space

June 1999


28 Reads

The A. explores the politics of Australian Aboriginal identity as mediated and reconstructed by the circus in the late nineteenth century. He explores the complex and multifaceted readings of racial positioning in nineteenth century Australia through the life of Harry Cardella - his great-grandfather - and the politics of his position with regard to the circus where, it could be argued, he became a commodity as the exotic other. On the one hand his race made him available to be taken by the circus and exploited on that basis; but on the other hand, the circus provided a space for relative freedom for Cardella which may not have otherwise been possible in the social context of that time . Cardella's marriage to a white Australian woman, who as a circus performer herself used the circus as a space in which to renegotiate her own gender role, contributes to a better understanding of ways in which identities of gender and race can be re-imagined. The A. will also touch on the implications of this history for himself as the descendant of these two circus artists.

Crime, Suicide, and the Anti-Hero: "Waltzing Matilda" in Australia
  • Article
  • Full-text available

February 2001


1,709 Reads

Chanson emblematique de l'identite nationale australienne, Waltzing Matilda raconte l'histoire d'un ouvrier agricole vagabond, qui vole un mouton, et qui, confondu par les autorites, se suicide. Cependant, ce recit ne correspond guere a l'ideologie sociale dominante, les paroles de la chanson etant anti-autoritaires, valorisant potentiellement le vol et le suicide. L'A. examine ce recit a la lumiere de la these d'Eric Hobswam sur le banditisme social. Il soutient que la nature universelle des mythes de bandits s'explique moins par la difference de classe (d'apres la these de Hobsbawm), que par les cadres narratifs de la societe qui opposent des ideaux juste et injuste du pouvoir. Finalement, il suggere que l'on peut interpreter le vagabond de Waltzing Matilda, et d'autres antiheros, comme une manifestation de la figure universelle du decepteur

Ethos Groceries and Countercultural Appetites: Consuming Memory in Whole Foods' Brand Utopia

February 2011


179 Reads

The essay discusses the role of the Whole Foods supermarket chain in the rise of ethical food consumption ideology in the U.S., specifically focusing on the way the grocery chain has appropriated this counter-cultural ideal as a means to increase profit. The increased popularity of the store among U.S. baby boomers is extensively analyzed. Broadly, the author is concerned with the ways in which such health food stores connect consumer culture with larger globalizing economic trends.

Living Dolls: The Fashion Model in Australia

June 1999


12 Reads

L'industrie de la mode semble s'efforcer de controler l'image des femmes. L'A. estime qu'elle defend une vision irrealiste de la feminite de plus en plus remise en question par les femmes notamment en Australie. Celles-ci paraissent rejeter avec toujours plus d'acuite les idees de mode, de ligne et la valorisation de la minceur. Malgre tout le public reste submerge par des images qui promeuvent une vision mythique de la femme mise en scene comme un objet passif d'amour. L'A. rappelle que l'apparence feminine fait l'objet d'une codification qui consacre un standard social homogene. Il montre que l'organisation des defiles de modes et des presentations de lingeries, au debut du siecle, a impose un mode specifique de codification de l'apparence physique, des attitudes corporelles, particulierement des mouvements, et du maquillage, renforce avec l'avenement de la photographie de mode. L'A. souligne que le mannequin doit s'efforcer de rendre attractif le vetement. Il doit paraitre detache, desinteresse. C'est la raison pour laquelle les mannequins donnent souvent l'image de femmes desincarnees. L'A. analyse la signification de la notion de «modele»

FIGURE 1. A Music Party in the Tang Palace 唐人宮樂圖. c. AD 900. Collection of National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China.
FIGURE 2. Liu Songnian ’ s 劉松年 . Market Competition in a Tea Garden 茗園賭市 . c. AD 
Between Classical and Popular: The Book of Tea and the Popularization of Tea-Drinking Culture in the Tang China

February 2011


3,824 Reads

TEA, LIQUID JADE OR GREEN GOLD, IT IS CALLED, is the most consumed substance on the planet with the exception of water. And indeed, when one thinks of applying the adjective ‘‘popular’’ and at the same time ‘‘civilized’’ there is probably no other form of cultural practice in China that is more representative and taken for granted than tea drinking. It is perhaps difficult for modern cultural industry entrepreneurs to imagine how a simple green leaf could have conquered the entire Chinese empire early in the eighth and nineth centuries (and a millennium later even the rest of the world) in the absence of three modern pillars of popular culture—electronic media, capitalist markets, and consumerism. How did these bitter camellia tree leaves make their way out of the remote forests of Yunnan and the Sichuan region and enter into almost every household in China during the Tang period (AD 618 – 907)? To understand this popularizing process of tea and tea-drinking culture in China, one cannot afford to dismiss probably the most influential historical piece: the Book of Tea, or Chajing (literally the Tea Classic, c. AD 780) by Lu Yu , the first book that is specialized on the knowledge of tea, tea processing, tea making, tea drinking and tea legends. Be it coincidence or not, in the decades that followed the publishing of the Book of Tea, tea-drinking practice became widely accepted by the Chinese people (Yao 14; Zhu and Shen 39). To study the content, context and influence of the Book of Tea is to probe into two central issues of modern popular culture studies. First, under what historical conditions could the tea-drinking culture be considered ‘‘popular’’? The differences in its agents, area of practice, and its function or usage before and during Tang times identify the benchmarks of popularity. Second, how could an elitist academic book contribute to the popularization of a daily cultural practice for commoners and thus become both popular and classical? Should the intimate relations between the Book of Tea and Chinese tea-drinking culture be seen as a process of popularization of a classic? Or is it the canonizing, aestheticizing and civilizing process of an already popular culture? Analyses of the content and influences of the historical piece clearly exhibit Nobert Elias’s long-standing statement for process sociology, which involves the interaction between such interdependent social groups as nobles, scholar gentry, and commoners, and Pierre Bourdieu’s analytical distinction on social critique of the judgment of taste and concept of ‘‘cultural capital’’.

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