Submitted by Henry
on June 16, 2010 - 10:52am
Last week, I was honored to be one of the keynote speakers at the Fiske Matters conference which was held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. John Fiske has been and continues to be one of the most important intellectual influences on my work. His strong defense of popular culture as offering a series of resources through which active audiences struggled over meaning was a foundation for my ongoing investigation of participatory culture and new media literacy. His work was controversial at the time he introduced it - in part because he challenged the tendency of left academics towards cultural pessimism which had motivated so much of American cultural theory in the late 20th century. Fiske struggled to get us to look closer at the lives of ordinary people and the ways that they struggled to assert aspects of their own needs and desires through their relationship with mass produced culture. For Fiske, mass culture was culture produced by commercial industries, while popular culture was culture at the moment it became a resource for ordinary people through the process of consumption.