From entertainment to citizenship

Politics and popular culture

The relationship between politics and popular culture is often seen to take one of two forms. Either popular culture is seen to disengage or passify citizens; or it is portrayed as a source of political knowledge and expression. Such claims are rarely subjected to detailed scrutiny. From Entertainment to Citizenship is an attempt to make up this deficit by examining carefully how popular culture’s politics is understood and used. Focusing on the lives and experiences of 17-18 year olds in the UK, it explores the extent to which these young people use popular culture to think about and engage with politics. The book compares the political role of different forms of popular culture (video games, music and entertainment television), and it considers different dimensions of the relationship. It looks at the phenomenon of the ‘celebrity politician’, at popular culture as a source of knowledge about the ‘real world’ and at the group identities forged around the pleasures of music, TV and video games. We conclude that popular culture is an important source of knowledge about the world, that it helps forge identities and the interests associated with them, and it gives form to the evaluations of power and its exercise. Rarely, though, does this interplay of politics and popular culture happen in neat or straightforward ways.

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‘Undoubtedly, From Entertainment to Citizenship is a very important book and will be of interest for scholars in political education, sociology of youth, media ethics, citizenship studies, cultural studies and public opinion.'
Yves Laberge
Political Studies Review14 (3)
July 2016

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