"Michael R. Real is one of our best writers in the arena of critical studies in mass communication, and he has made his most significant contribution to date with Exploring Media Culture. The book is insightful, thought-provoking, and authoritative yet is highly accessible to undergraduate and graduate students alike. Professor Real knows where to find his college readers, and he meets them where they live. His explanations are candid, his examples timely, and his positions compelling. The case studies afford some of the best exemplars of the intersection of ritual participation and media texts in everyday life ever published. Exploring Media Culture is no ordinary textbook. It is a primer for life in the information age. In fact, this may be the first media criticism book that students will want to keep on their bookshelves long after they have graduated from college."
--Robert K. Avery, Professor of Communication, University of Utah
"Exploring Media Culture is a beautifully written, intellectually challenging, and highly readable exploration of the mysterium of contemporary mass media and popular culture. Michael R. Real does a masterful job of empowering his readers--teaching them how to make sense of everything from Madonna to postmodernism. Students will find this book - which deals with texts that many of them are familiar with -- fascinating, and in some cases terrifying."
--Arthur Asa Berger, Broadcast & Electronic Communication Arts Department,
San Francisco State University
Providing a timely, fresh interpretation of media analysis, Exploring Media Culture is an engaging alternative to the typical mass communication text. Expanding on the approach used in his previous work, author Michael R. Real examines the interplay between popular culture and the media. Each chapter uses an aspect of popular culture to explicate a variety of complex topics such as ritual, postmodernism, identity, and political economy. Real includes analysis of such cultural phenomena as:
- Hollywood films, the Superbowl, and presidential elections
- MTV, video games, and the Internet
- Music, aerobics classes, and the Olympics
By staying close to texts, narratives, interpretations, and rituals of actual people, readers can "lay open" great ranges of media culture without getting lost in the most esoteric, though important of scholarly debates today. Exploring Media Culture is a guide for those who expect to attend to film, television, popular music, and similar media culture or conduct formal research on media. Students in communication, media studies, mass communication sociology, cultural studies, and popular culture will find this text is ideal for the classroom; it synthesizes a wide range of recent scholarship in an understandable format.