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

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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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Editorial Reviews

Howard S. Becker
“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.”
Joshua Gamson
“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.”
Omar Lizardo
“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.”
Matt Wray
“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.”
Jill Stein
“Finally! This is the 'textbook' I’ve been waiting for—Mix It Up is perfect for teaching my classes on media and culture from a sociological perspective. David Grazian has assembled some of the most important scholarship on key themes and topics from a variety of theoretical perspectives. Students are going to love that the book is jam-packed with interesting, relevant and familiar examples, spanning recent history and including up to the very latest moment. Mix It Up is fun, fresh and exciting, and it uses all the right materials to engage students in a deeper examination of the meaning of media and culture in society and their own lives.”
Richard A. Peterson
“Mix It Up deftly unscrambles the diverse and fast changing world of mass media-made popular culture and its place in American society.”
Eric Klinenberg
“Mix It Up is the real deal. David Grazian’s sweeping analysis of popular culture is witty, worldly, smart, and sophisticated. It’s more than an 'un-textbook,' it’s downright fun.”
Karen Sternheimer
“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.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393929522
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/15/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 249
  • Sales rank: 127,658
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

David Grazian is associate professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of Blue Chicago: The Search for Authenticity in Urban Blues Clubs and On the Make: The Hustle of Urban Nightlife.

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