Disciplines of Delight: The Psychoanalysis of Popular Culture

Authors: Richards, B.

Publisher: Free Association Books

Place of Publication: London


In recent times it has seemed to many that the unifying impact of mass forms of popular culture has been overshadowed by the cultural pluralism,identity politics, niche marketing and lifestyle diversity of the 'postmodern' world. Using insights from psychoanalysis this book suggests that powerful forces may still be at work extending and deepening their hold on popular experience through the unifying forms of modern culture.

In a series of extended illustrations, Barry Richards explores the emotional underpinnings of the rise of football as the 'people's game', the appeal of the motor car and other consumer goods, the strategies of advertising, the cultural predominance of pop music, and popular images of the countryside. While each phenomenon has a range of meanings of its own, the ilustrations reveal the common positive side of these cultural forms, and how they can serve as vehicles for psychological integration.

At the core of the book is the idea that the pleasures of popular culture are at their strongest and best when they confirm our sense of belonging in the social order. Despite the constraint and disappointment inevitably involved in this, the reconciliation with authority wich it brings is vital for the containment of the anxieties with which we all struggle.

'Disciplines of Delight' reveals how psyhoanalytic thinking can add to social understanding, and is an original contribution to debates on the nature of contemporary society.


Source: Manual

Preferred by: Barry Richards