Departmental Papers (ASC)

Review of Inventing Popular Culture: From Folklore to Globalization

Barbie Zelizer, University of Pennsylvania

Document Type Review

Zelizer, Barbie. (2004). Review of the book Inventing Popular Culture: From Folklore to Globalization(Blackwell Manifestos), by J. Storey. Popular Communication, 2(4), 257-259. doi: 10.1207/s15405710pc0204_4

This is an electronic version of an article published in Popular Communication, Volume 2, Issue 4, 257-259. Popular Communication is available online at:


John Storey's Inventing Popular Culture is a book that at first startles its readers. This is because as an idea, looking at popular culture as an invented phenomenon rather than a naturally occurring one goes against the grain of the generally accepted notion that popular culture emerged as the authentic groundswell of populist expression. Not so, argues Storey, who offers the alternative interpretation that popular culture was an idea strategically crafted and recrafted from the eighteenth century onward in conjunction with the reigning intellectual debates of the time. In each of its manifestations, popular culture was less a reflection of actual circumstances than a boundary mechanism set in place by those with something to gain by its maintenance.


Date Posted: 01 May 2012