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Analysing Politics and Protest in Digital Popular Culture

Analysing Politics and Protest in Digital Popular Culture
A Multimodal Introduction

January 2021 | 224 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
“Gives students the tools they need to uncover for themselves the hidden politics of today’s digital infotainment labyrinth.” - Theo van Leeuwen, University of Southern Denmark and University of New South Wales.

We now increasingly encounter and do politics not through news or broadcast media, but when we scroll through social media feeds, open apps, compose and like posts, and comment on or share videos.

This book explores how to analyse politics and protest in the places we experience it most in our everyday lives – on our phones, tablets and laptops.

It provides a hands-on analytical toolkit, showing you how to critically analyse language, image, video and audio in a way that reveals the discourses, ideologies and power that run through digital popular culture.

From the authoritarianism of Donald Trump, to the protests of Gezi Park, to the campaigns of Extinction Rebellion, to angst against Brexit, Lyndon Way shows you how to analyse the politics in digital everyday life across media including:
  • Online comments
  • Memes
  • GIFs and mash-ups
  • Music videos
  • Parodies and satire.

It is an essential guide for students and researchers across media and communication, politics and discourse studies. 

Chapter 1: Introduction: Aims and key concepts
Chapter 2: Politics in the popular: A variety of perspectives
Chapter 3: Multimodal Critical Discourse Studies: Why this approach? How to do it?
Chapter 4: Analyzing online comments
Chapter 5: Analyzing memes
Chapter 6: Analyzing animations and mash ups
Chapter 7: Analyzing music videos
Chapter 8: Analyzing parodies
Chapter 9: Summary of our approach and findings

Fostering critical insight remains as important an educational goal as ever. This highly accessible and engaging book gives students the tools they need to uncover for themselves the hidden politics of today's digital infotainment labyrinth.

Theo van Leeuwen
University of Southern Denmark and University of New South Wales

This is the methods book I have been waiting for a very long time! Lyndon Way's Analysing Politics and Protest in Digital Popular Culture provides a very knowledgeable and accessible introduction to Multimodal Critical Discourse Studies.

Teaching qualitative and, in particular, critical methods works best using examples, and Way's book provides the examples I need to connect to my students' lifeworld and interests: YouTube comments, memes, mash ups, music videos and parodies related to a wide range of political protests and issues. With each illustrative (and often entertaining!) example, Way successively builds a very useful toolbox for conducting systematic, rigorous and transparent critical analysis of digital popular culture. The systematic integration of different communication modes - lexical, visual and audiovisual 'texts' - within one methodological approach is particularly helpful and convincing.

At the same time, Way also succeeds in summarizing the essential theoretical and methodological underpinnings of Critical Discourse Analysis; his book is an accessible introduction to students unfamiliar with the field, but also a very useful starting point for those aiming to brush up on their knowledge of critical theory and methods.

Nowadays, digital popular culture and politics are closely intertwined, and I do hope that this book will contribute to our better understanding of this by providing undergraduate and graduate students with the means to successfully analyze and tease out power relations and the political in the glittering world of popular culture. Finally, this book simply is an enjoyable read for all those interested in how digital popular culture is handling the current political turmoil of Brexit, Trump, racism and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Katharina Kleinen-von Königslöw
Professor of Journalism and Media Studies, University of Hamburg

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ISBN: 9781526497956

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