Informative and entertaining introduction to the study of popular culture. As the “culture of the people,” popular culture provides a sense of identity that binds individuals to the greater society and unites the masses on ideals of acceptable forms of behavior. Lessons Learned from Popular Culture offers an informative and entertaining look at the social relevance of popular culture. Focusing on a wide range of topics, including film, television, social media, music, radio, cartoons and comics, books, fashion, celebrities, sports, and virtual reality, Tim Delaney and Tim Madigan demonstrate how popular culture, in contrast to folk or high culture, gives individuals an opportunity to impact, modify, or even change prevailing sentiments and norms of behavior. For each topic, they include six engaging and accessible stories that conclude with short life lessons. Whether you’re a fan of The Big Bang Theory or Seinfeld, the Beatles or Beyoncé, Charlie Brown or Superman, there’s something for everyone.
The notion of common sense and abiding by its implications is something that, seemingly, everyone agrees is a good way of making behavioral decisions and conducting one's daily activities. This holds true whether one is a liberal, moderate, or conservative; young or old; and regardless of one's race and ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. If utilizing common sense is such a good idea, why then, do so many people seem to violate it? This is just one of many significant questions surrounding the idea of common sense explored and discussed in this book. This volume presents common sense as a ‘paradigm of thought’ and as such, compares it to other major categories of thought — tradition, faith, enlightened and rational. Combining a balance of practical, everyday approaches (through the use of popular culture references and featured boxes) and academic analysis of core and conceptual methodological issues, Delaney demonstrates: The limitations of common sense and its place in everyday social interactions How we learn about common sense Why common sense is so important Common Sense as a Paradigm of Thought introduces readers to a rich variety of sociological authors and will appeal to students and researchers interested in fields such as: sociology, philosophy, social psychology, cultural studies, communications and health studies.
Why do billions of people around the world love sports? The popular media is increasingly dedicated to the heated rivalries of sports teams, academic institutions are held in its thrall, sports metaphors are commonplace in our language, and most individuals participate in athletics or follow a team sport in some variation. This entertaining and informative book attempts to find out why—by examining sports in all its facets. The authors provide an overview of the history of sports, with a constant focus upon the social conditions through which sport arises and by which it continues to thrive.
In this amusing and informative appreciation of The Simpsons, sociologist Tim Delaney looks at the many ways America’s longest-running sitcom and animated TV program reflects American culture. For more than fifteen years, the Simpsons have touched upon nearly every aspect of the American social scene—from family dynamics and social mores to local customs and national institutions. With over four hundred episodes aired so far, Delaney finds a goldmine of insights couched in parody on any number of perennial topics: • On television’s influence on American culture, Krusty the Clown says, "Would it really be worth living in a world without television? I think the survivors would envy the dead." • On New Age religion, Homer says, "To think, I turned to a cult for mindless happiness when I had beer all along." • On the thorny issue of gun ownership and home security, Homer purchases a pistol at "Bloodbath and Beyond" and then tells Marge, "I don’t have to be careful, I got a gun." • On the theme of community spirit, Bart thoughtlessly signs up with a local Boy Scout troop while on a sugar rush from eating a "Super-Squishee." The next day he realizes what he has done: "Oh, no. I joined the Junior Campers!" To which his sister, Lisa, responds: "The few, the proud, the geeky." Delaney finds many more episodes relevant to major sociological issues such as environmentalism, feminism, romance and marriage, politics, education, health, aging, and more. Students of popular culture and laypersons alike will learn basic sociological concepts and theories in a refreshing, jargon-free work that offers plenty of entertainment.