Doing Cultural Studies: The Story of the Sony Walkman

Overview

In recent years 'culture' has become a central concern across a wide range of disciplines. This book introduces the main substantive and theoretical strands of this 'turn to culture' through the medium of a particular case study: that of the Sony Walkman. Using the example of the Walkman, this book indicates how and why cultural practices and institutions have come to play such an important role in our lives, and introduces some of the central ideas, concepts and methods of analysis involved in conducting ...
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Overview

In recent years 'culture' has become a central concern across a wide range of disciplines. This book introduces the main substantive and theoretical strands of this 'turn to culture' through the medium of a particular case study: that of the Sony Walkman. Using the example of the Walkman, this book indicates how and why cultural practices and institutions have come to play such an important role in our lives, and introduces some of the central ideas, concepts and methods of analysis involved in conducting cultural studies. This unique book offers not only an introduction to key issues and debates in contemporary cultural studies but also a practical illustration of how cultural studies can be used to make sense of our everyday lives.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Introduces the main substantive and theoretical strands of cultural studies through the medium of a particular case study: that of the Sony Walkman. In discussing the Walkman, the authors indicate how and why cultural practices and institutions have come to play such an important role in life, and introduce some of the central ideas, concepts, and methods of analysis involved in conducting cultural studies. Five cultural processes are discussed<-->representation, identity, production, consumption, and regulation<-->which they use to structure the study of a cultural text or artifact such as the Walkman, and to better understand everyday life. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
From the Publisher
In today's world, with economy the central tenet of contemporary culture and popular culture and finance inextricably linked, this exemplary Walkman study will be a template and a source of inspiration for scholars who appreciate the materiality of culture and continuity between production and consumption.
Barbara Czarniawska
Professor of Management Studies, University of Gothenburg

This publication provides a welcome opportunity to return to a classic text of cultural studies pedagogy and to apply its insights to contemporary issues of culture, media and identity and their connections to the production and consumption of technology. The combination of the original Walkman case study with useful 'back to the future' sections provides a great opportunity for students to reflect on the cultural meanings of smart phones, social media and user-generated knowledge.
Dr Richard Elliott
School of Media, Film and Music, University of Sussex

Dr. Yves Laberge

Arguably the most famous book in its field, Doing Cultural Studies: the Story of the Sony Walkman is the text that lead to Cultural Studies becoming a respected and accepted discipline throughout the rest of the world.... Any 21st century observer might object and ask, somewhat perplexed, “who owns a Walkman nowadays?”... 16 years after the first edition, the authors can now write in a comparative fashion between two eras: ‘Comparing the cultural practices associated with the Walkman with the practices related to modern Web-based mobile devices reveals both continuities and changes in the ways such technologies have been represented, identified with, produced, consumed and regulated, and the way they have been discussed in the media as well as in academic debates within the cultural and social sciences’ (p. xii).

In theoretical terms, the legacy of Doing Cultural Studies confirms that this classic read is not just about the Walkman itself, but represents a series of clear observations about the symbolic meanings of culture... This fundamental reading on Cultural Studies should be read not only by students and scholars in this particular field, but by students in a variety of domains including sociology of culture, political economy of culture, popular music studies, media studies, and marketing. Non-scholars will also be able to follow it and appreciate its numerous ideas. Most importantly, those who read this book’s first edition many years ago must read this enriched second edition as it remains timely and relevant for today, in its accurate understanding of how we, collectively, identify and consume culture. The now forgone era of the Walkman serves as a useful comparison about how some things seem to change or can remain the same in subtle ways. That is what academic books are made for.

Read the full review here

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Paul du Gay is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at The Open University

Stuart Hall was born and raised in Jamaica and arrived in Britain on a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford in 1950. In 1958, he left his PhD on Henry James to found the New Left Review, which did much to open a debate about immigration and the politics of identity. Along with Raymond Williams and Richard Hoggart he established the first Cultural Studies programme at a British university in Birmingham in 1964, bringing the study of popular culture into the understanding of political and social change.

After spending more than four decades as one of the UK’s leading public intellectuals, Hall retired from formal academic life in 1997 and since then has continued to devote himself to questions of representation, creativity and difference. He became the chair of two foundations, Iniva, the Institute of International Visual Arts, and Autograph ABP, which seeks to promote photographers from culturally diverse backgrounds, and championed the opening of Iniva’s new Rivington Place arts complex in east London in 2007.

Keith Negus entered higher education as a mature student, having spent many years playing keyboards and guitar in a variety of bands after leaving school. He gained a degree in Sociology from Middlesex Universit and then completed a PhD study of the acquisition, production and promotion of recording artists at SouthBank University. He subsequently taught at the Universities of Leicester and Puerto Rico and was based in the Department of Media and Communications prior to moving the Department of Music at Goldsmiths. He is Director of thePopular Music Research Unit, convenor ofBMus Popular Music, convenor of theMA Music (Popular Music Research)and a coordinating editor ofPopular Music(Cambridge University Press).

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Sect. 1 Making Sense of the Walkman 7
Sect. 2 The Production of the Sony Walkman 41
Sect. 3 Designing the Walkman: Articulating Production and Consumption 61
Sect. 4 Sony as a Global Firm 75
Sect. 5 Consuming the Walkman 83
Sect. 6 Regulating the Walkman 111
References 121
Reading A: 'The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction' 125
Reading B: 'Mobile privatization' 128
Reading C: 'Scratching a global dream' 130
Reading D: 'The selling of the "Walkman"' 131
Reading E: 'How Sony Corporation became first with kids' 133
Reading F: 'Listening otherwise, music miniaturized: a different type of question about revolution' 135
Reading G: 'A miniature history of the Walkman' 141
Reading H: 'Menace II society' 143
Acknowledgements 146
Index 147
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