Printed at: 24/07/2014  –  17:55:41

polity cultural studies

About Polity Cultural Studies

Polity has a strong and fast expanding list in the field of cultural studies. We publish many of the key scholars in the field and our list has earned a reputation for innovative, path-breaking publications. We also have a strong list of textbooks in cultural studies which are adopted at colleges and universities around the world.

Our authors include some of the key social and cultural theorists whose works have shaped the discipline of cultural theory, including Theodor W. Adorno, Jean Baudrillard, Walter Benjamin, Pierre Bourdieu, Jacques Derrida, Jürgen Habermas, Paul Virilio and Slavoj Žižek. We have also published some of the leading cultural studies scholars, including David Buckingham, Simon Frith, Douglas Kellner, Joshua Meyrowitz, Mark Poster, Roger Silverstone, John B. Thompson, John Tomlinson and Janet Wasko.

Visit Highlights for all our new and forthcoming publications.

Major Textbooks

Book CoverSterritt: Spike Lee's America

“My admiration for Spike Lee has always been substantial, but thanks to this book I now admire him even more. Although David Sterritt does not blink at the many dilemmas the films present, he has greatly enriched our appreciation as well as our understanding of Spike Lee’s cinema."

Krin Gabbard, Stony Brook University

Spike Lee has directed, written, produced, and acted in dozens of films that present an expansive, nuanced, proudly opinionated, richly multifaceted portrait of American society. This book is a vibrant and provocative engagement both with the work of a great filmmaker and with contemporary America.

Book CoverPomerance: Hitchcock’s America

Alfred Hitchcock brought to the American scene a perspicacity and analytical shrewdness unparalleled in American cinema. Murray Pomerance works from a basis in cultural analysis and a detailed knowledge of Alfred Hitchcock’s films and production techniques to explore how America is revealed and critically commented upon in Hitchcock’s work.

Book CoverBuckingham : The Material Child

The Material Child cuts through the sanctimonious moral rhetorics and panics of contemporary life illuminating the complexities that have made the child consumer the site of unrelenting cultural anxiety. With characteristic insightful and deft analysis, David Buckingham successfully reframes how we might comprehend public debates regarding children and the commercial world and thus how we may forge new responses to ongoing changes in economic and social life. This work immediately takes its place in as a standard and must-read for anyone interested in childhood, politics, media and consumer culture."

Daniel Thomas Cook, Rutgers University

Book CoverAthique: Indian Media

“Despite unprecedented expansion of media and communication in the world’s largest democracy and one of its fastest growing economies, in international scholarship the study of media in India has rarely gone beyond tokenism. Taking a global approach to the study of Indian media, Athique’s accessible and incisive book makes a major intervention in Indian media studies and more broadly contributes to the internationalization of our field. Highly recommended."

Daya Thussu, University of Westminster

The very rapid growth in the Indian media industries and the vibrancy of India’s popular culture are making a working understanding of the Indian scene a prerequisite for any serious study of media in the twenty-first century. Taking an innovative interdisciplinary approach to the complex field of Indian media and society, this book combines a rich descriptive account with critical analysis designed to engender informed debate amongst students, academics and other researchers.

Book CoverLievrouw: Alternative and Activist New Media

“Leah Lievrouw’s Alternative and Activist New Media is a most welcome addition to the literature on digital media. The book treats a relatively overlooked and underappreciated aspect of new media: the politics of resistance to dominant media appropriations of computing. And Lievrouw’s informed and intelligent consideration of the topic constitutes an excellent and accessible introduction. Alternative and Activist New Media should be warmly welcomed and will no doubt become the center of debate on the politics of digital media for some time."

Mark Poster, University of California, Irvine

Book CoverBaym: Peronsal Connections in the Digital Age

“Lively and thought-provoking throughout, this book challenges the myth that ‘cyberspace' dramatically transforms personal connections by revealing, instead, the complex and subtle ways in which people manage social interaction online and offline in response to the affordances of the various modes of communication available."

Sonia Livingstone, London School of Economics and author of Children and the Internet

Book CoverPapacharissi: A Private Sphere

“Papacharissi is a pioneer in the study of democracy and how it is 'practiced' in the digital age. A Private Sphere is a deep, thoughtful exploration of citizenship, information, and technology at a moment of great fluidity. Anyone with an interest in how media shape political culture would do well to engage the arguments of this terrific book."

Susan Herbst, Georgia Tech

Book Cover Armitage: Virilio Now

"John Armitage’s Virilio Now brings together lively and provocative contemporary perspectives on Virilio’s work. The editor’s Introduction and interview with Virilio provide an illuminating overview of this provocative and original thinker, while the articles are engaging and original, providing up-to-date takes on diverse and important themes engaged in Virilio’s multifaceted works."

Douglas Kellner, University of California, Los Angeles

Responding to this growing interdisciplinary interest in Virilio, this book comprises Sean Cubitt’s critical overview of Virilio’s oeuvre, an important newly translated text by Virilio interrogating the impact of contemporary art, and eight other major original essays by noted scholars on the wide scope of Virilio’s writings.

Book CoverOno and Pham: Asian Americans and the Media

“Ono and Pham present a fascinating read on the representational politics of Asian Americans. Using history as a guide to read these images, Ono and Pham underscore the necessity of understanding the cultural politics and social construction of the category ‘Asian American’ itself. By exploring contemporary images, they offer insightful readings and constructive directions for future work in media and communication studies. This is a very important work at the contemporary moment that does not ignore the past.”

Thomas K. Nakayama, Northeastern University

Book CoverConnell: Gender (Second Edition)

“Presenting the leading edge of gender theory and research, the second edition of Gender is the smartest and most compelling introduction to critical gender studies that is currently available. Connell remains a steady and reliable guide for the student of gender and society.”

Steven Seidman, State University of New York at Albany

The second edition of this influential and accessible book brings the review of research up to date and includes new discussions of gender theory in the global periphery, the legacy of colonialism, the intersection of structures, the impact of deconstructionist theory and politics, and understanding transsexual and transgender lives.

Book CoverScott: Making Sense of Everyday Life

“This book is a wonderful introduction to sociology. It makes the reader rethink and re-evaluate the meaning and importance of everyday events such as gardening, shopping and eating out. It makes the familiar strange but not unrecognizable.”

Phil Manning, Cleveland State

This accessible, introductory text explains the importance of studying ‘everyday life’ in the social sciences. Susie Scott examines such varied topics as leisure, eating and drinking, the idea of home, and time and schedules in order to show how societies are created and reproduced by the apparently mundane ‘micro’ level practices of everyday life.

Book CoverHopper: Understanding Cultural Globalization

“Hopper’s book should be required reading for anyone wishing to see globalization’s ‘big picture’.”

Steve Jones, University of Illinois

Paul Hopper leads the reader through the varied issues associated with globalization and culture, including deterritorialization, cosmopolitanism, cultural hybridization and homogenization, as well as claims that aspects of globalization are provoking cultural resistance. In exploring the cultural dynamics of globalization, the book investigates the interrelationship between globalization and culture, seeking in the process to problematize both concepts.

Book CoverRojek: Pop Music, Pop Culture

“Pop' is popular with huge listening audiences and not with many music critics – not even as a category to describe a big segment of popular music. Chris Rojek challenges standard ways of dividing the commercial from the authentic and the light from the serious. He does this by a creative engagement with theory and by systematic analysis of issues from modes of distribution to subcultures, the power of record companies, and the nature of collaborative labor and joint authorship. His book is a must-read intervention for all of cultural studies.”

Craig Calhoun, New York University

This book offers readers a comprehensive guide to understanding pop music today. It provides a clear survey of the field and a description of core concepts. The main theoretical approaches to the analysis of pop are described and critically assessed. The book includes a penetrating investigation of the revolutionary changes in the production, exchange and consumption of pop music that are currently underway.

Book CoverLonghurst: Popular Music and Society 2nd Edition

“A thoughtful and systematic introduction, full of up-to-date information, this book speaks simultaneously to students of socio-musical analysis and to all of us for whom music matters.”

Tia DeNora, University of Exeter

Book CoverElliott: Concepts of the Self, 2nd edition

“No-one writing today has the range and depth of ‘Elliott’s’ understanding of self-theory ... No reader, whether student or scholar, will want to be without this brilliant book – a claim certified by the thousands of students who enjoyed the first edition.”

Charles Lemert, Wesleyan University

Mead, Freud, Goffman, Foucault, Chodorow, Kristeva and Baudrillard are among the figures covered; the new edition also introduces material on Žižek. Elliott also connects debates about the self directly to identity politics, the sociology of personal relationships and intimacy, and the politics of sexuality. Among the traditions of thought discussed are symbolic interactionism; modern sociology; post-structuralist thought; feminist and queer theory; psychoanalysis; and postmodernism.

Book CoverSandvoss: Fans

“A magisterial book, which expands the range of examples in the discussion, opens up a range of new questions, and poses some provocative new conceptual models. Many established scholars (myself among them) are going to spend many hours rebutting or revising some of his claims, but we are also going to appreciate the catalyst he provides for us to question and rethink our own positions. Let the sparks fly!”

Henry Jenkins, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Sandvoss looks at the nature and development of whole fan cultures, but also focuses on the experience and identity of the individual fan. In addition, he proposes a new perspective on fans and popular culture, arguing that the modern self is reflected and constituted through media consumption.

Book CoverLash and Lury: Global Culture Industry

“This pathbreaking study will stimulate the intellectual debate for years to come.”

Manuel Castells, University of Southern California, Los Angeles

Tells the compelling story of how material objects such as watches and sportswear have become powerful cultural symbols, and how the production of symbols, in the form of globally recognized brands, has now become a central goal of capitalism.

Book CoverCartelli and Rowe: New Wave Shakespeare on Screen

“[Cartelli and Rowe] are expert guides to a fascinating range of film adaptations and to subtle and provocative ways of thinking about the motive to adapt Shakespeare, about the strategies these films use, and about the theoretical models we can use to understand them. I learned much from every chapter – and so will my students as they engage in my courses with all that this book so clearly and helpfully encourages them to consider.”

Peter Holland, University of Notre Dame


Polity Book Series

America Through the Lens


Theory and Media

This new series aims to make a wide range of theory relevant and accessible for students of media and communication studies. Each volume draws on a rich body of literature and will consider instances in which theorists have directly discussed media and communication.

Theory Now

Digital Media and Society

New technologies are fundamentally altering the ways in which we communicate. This series from Polity aims to provide a set of books that make available for a broad readership cutting edge research and thinking on digital media and their social contexts. Taken as a whole, the series will examine questions about the impact of network technology and digital media on society in all its facets, including economics, culture and politics.

Polity Short Introductions

A major new series of innovative and lively short introductions to the main areas of the social sciences and humanities. For information on individual volumes please go to the series webpage: www.polity.co.uk/shortintroductions.

Key Contemporary Thinkers

New and published titles of particular interest to media and communication students and lecturers are listed below. Please check other subject pages for further titles in this series.


Key Concepts

Key Concepts is a series of concise and accessible textbooks exploring core concepts in the social sciences. The books focus on concepts that are central to each discipline and have a high degree of complexity surrounding them. For more information on individual titles please see the series webpage: www.polity.co.uk/keyconcepts