Dancing in Spite of Myself

Essays on Popular Culture

Dancing in Spite of Myself

Book Pages: 320 Illustrations: Published: April 1997

American Studies, Cultural Studies, Music

In Dancing in Spite of Myself, Lawrence Grossberg—well known as a pioneering figure in cultural studies—has collected essays written over the past twenty years that have also established him as one of the leading theorists of popular culture and, specifically, of rock music. Grossberg offers an original and sophisticated view of the growing power of popular culture and its increasing inseparability from contemporary structures of economic and political power and from our everyday lives.
In the course of conducting this exploration into the meaning of "popularity," he investigates the nature of fandom, the social effects of rock music and youth culture, and the possibilities for understanding the history of popular texts and practices. Describing what he calls "the postmodernity of everyday life," Grossberg offers important insights into the relation of pop music to issues of postmodernity and inton the growing power of the new cultural conservatism and its relationship to "the popular." Exploring the limits of existing theories of hegemony in cultural studies, Grossberg reveals the ways in which popular culture is being mobilized in the service of economic and political struggles. In articulating his own critical practice, Grossberg surveys and challenges some of the major assumptions of popular culture studies, including notions of domination and resistance, mainstream and marginality, and authenticity and incorporation.
Dancing in Spite of Myself provides an introduction to contemporary theories of popular culture and a clear statement of relationships among theories of the nature of rock music, postmodernity, and conservative hegemony.


“Larry Grossberg’s exposition of the history and structure of the problems defining cultural studies, the debate about postmodernism, and contemporary approaches to popular culture is exemplary.” — Meaghan Morris

“These essays constitute a distinctive and impressive body of work by a leading cultural studies scholar and theorist. Dancing in Spite of Myself significantly adds to the literature of cultural studies and provides a valuable service in bringing together a rich body of theory and criticism.” — Tony Bennett

“These essays represent an original contribution to and sustained reflection on the central debates in critical cultural theory by one of its leading practitiioners and most engaged and distinctive voices.” — Stuart Hall


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Lawrence Grossberg is Morris Davis Professor of Communication Studies at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author and editor of numerous books, including We Gotta Get Out of This Place and Cultural Studies.

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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1917-7 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-1912-2
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