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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $34.75
  • January 2010
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-92952-2
  • 256 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

Mix It Up

Popular Culture, Mass Media, and Society


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David Grazian (Author, University of Pennsylvania)


A “non-textbook” introduction to the social significance of popular culture and mass media.

What accounts for the rise and fall of popular cultural trends? Why do A-list movie stars make so much money? How do television networks decide what programs to air? Do video games encourage violent behavior among young people, or do they make users smarter? Does advertising really work? In Mix It Up, David Grazian answers these questions and introduces students to a sociological perspective of popular culture and mass media.

Based on the author’s popular course at the University of Pennsylvania, Mix it Up focuses on the role of media and popular culture in everyday life, with a particular emphasis on the organization and functioning of the mass media industry; the increasingly blurry relationship between cultural consumption and production; and the social significance of leisure activities, from sports to shopping.

Whether it’s DJ culture, YouTube videos, or mash-ups, Mix It Up takes an empirically driven (yet user-friendly) approach to examining media and pop culture from all corners of society. Writing in a “non-textbook” style, Grazian relies on a variety of theoretical perspectives and fleshes out his discussions with examples from empirical sociological studies as well as excerpts from field notes, face-to-face interviews, and other research materials collected over the last decade.


Endorsements & Reviews

“In Mix It Up, David Grazian pulls off the hat trick, three big scores in one book. He combines an encyclopedic knowledge of popular culture, a deep acquaintance with and understanding of sociological ideas, and a relaxed yet penetrating language to pass on what he knows to his lucky readers.” — Howard S. Becker, author of Art Worlds and Telling About Society

“This is the book I’ve been waiting for. Grazian deftly uses the lens of popular culture to introduce major themes in the sociology of culture, and the sociology of culture to illuminate key features of popular culture. Mix It Up is accessible but never dumbed-down, current while also historically rich, at once wide-ranging and shrewdly organized. Grazian’s text is the best I’ve encountered for undergraduate courses in sociology of culture and pop-culture studies.” — Joshua Gamson, University of San Francisco; Author of Claims to Fame, Freaks Talk Back, and The Fabulous Sylvester

“David Grazian’s book is a godsend for sociologists entrusted with teaching popular culture classes. It is an engaging, scholarly rigorous book. I would certainly recommend it to a colleague.” — Omar Lizardo, University of Notre Dame

“Part fierce intellectual, part exuberant fan, Grazian delves beneath the noisy skim of pop culture to find patterns, meanings, and rituals. Mix It Up uses the power of the sociological imagination to pry the shiny lid off of everyday objects and artifacts, revealing social processes, political ideologies, and cultural mechanisms whirring away underneath. Written with humor and wit, this is a smart and lively book, interesting and accessible to students and useful and inspiring for instructors.” — Matt Wray, Temple University

Mix It Up deftly unscrambles the diverse and fast changing world of mass media-made popular culture and its place in American society.” — Richard A. Peterson, Vanderbilt University

“From Bollywood to Botox, Shakespeare to Second Life, David Grazian uses a wide array of cutting-edge examples to illustrate how popular culture serves as a window into sociological thinking. His conversational writing style takes the reader through a fun and informative journey through the essential topics concerning media culture today.” — Karen Sternheimer, University of Southern California; Editor of the Everyday Sociology Blog

A sociological approach to popular culture and mass media

Grazian discusses both cutting-edge topics in popular culture and media and covers the pillars of older and more foundational work. The book’s ten chapters fall into three parts: theoretical perspectives, production, and consumption.

Mix It Up encourages readers to think sociologically not only about how media industries create the content that we consume, but also about how we participate in the cycle of creating and consuming popular culture.

The best coverage of contemporary popular culture and mass media

Mix It Up features material as diverse as the rise of reality television; the global marketing of Disney, Nike and Starbucks; the excessive media coverage of contemporary celebrities; the blurring of boundaries between news and entertainment; the pervasiveness of advertising in public spaces; and the emergence of new media and popular culture in the digital age.

A “non-textbook” textbook

Grazian integrates abstract concepts with empirical examples and brings a personal voice to the narrative. His point of view comes through on every page.

Brief and affordable

At only ten chapters and affordably priced, Mix It Up is an ideal addition to any mass media and popular culture course.

    Chapter 1: The Straight Story: The Social Organization of Popular Culture

    Chapter 2: Friday Night Lights: A Functionalist Approach to Popular Culture

    Chapter 3: Monsters, Inc.: A Critical Approach to Popular Culture

    Chapter 4: Six Degrees of Separation: An Interaction Approach to Popular Culture

    Chapter 5: Some Like It Hot: Creating Popular Culture

    Chapter 6: Risky Business: Decision Making in the Culture Industries

    Chapter 7: The Rules of the Game: Cultural Consumption and Social Class

    Chapter 8: The Searchers: Audiences and the Quest for Meaning in Popular Culture

    Chapter 9: Scenes from a Mall: Experiencing Popular Culture in Everyday Life

    Chapter 10: Fifteen Minutes: Virtual Reality and the Mediated World