Can television shows like Modern Family, popular music by performers like Taylor Swift, advertisements for products like Samuel Adams beer, and films such as The Hunger Games help us understand rhetorical theory and criticism? The Third Edition of The Rhetorical Power of Popular Culture offers students a step-by-step introduction to rhetorical theory and criticism by focusing on the powerful role popular culture plays in persuading us as to what to believe and how to behave. In every chapter, students are introduced to rhetorical theories, presented with current examples from popular culture that relate to the theory, and guided through demonstrations about how to describe, interpret, and evaluate popular culture texts through rhetorical analysis. Author Deanna Sellnow also provides sample student essays in every chapter to demonstrate rhetorical criticism in practice. This edition’s easy-to-understand approach and range of popular culture examples help students apply rhetorical theory and criticism to their own lives and assigned work.
Chapter 6: A Neo-Marxist Perspective
A neo-Marxist perspective helps expose how material conditions and economic practices shape dominant ideology regarding taken-for-granted assumptions about who “ought to be” and “ought not to be” empowered. This chapter focuses specifically on how popular culture texts reinforce or reject status quo power structures regarding socioeconomic status and materialism as normal and common sense. In other words, we examine ways in which popular culture texts function rhetorically to simultaneously empower and disempower people and groups based on materialism and economic practices.
Sometimes people misinterpret the intent of the neo-Marxist perspective based on negative connotations (e.g., communism) the term can bring to mind. For this very reason, communication scholars continue to debate whether or not to label it as such and ...