Of particular interest in Stacy Takacs’ ‘interrogation’ of popular culture is the notion of ‘incorporation’ (the ways consumers are coopted into the reigning social order via their use of cultural commodities) vs. ‘excorporation’ (how consumers take these commodities and use them in unique ways). Indeed, theories such as Mass Culture, though partially relevant, ultimately prove flawed due to their refusal to appreciate the profound variety that emerges from countless consumers using commodities in equally countless ways. Whilst incorporation can prove critical in the way texts are received, it is in no way able to define the way every consumer receives such texts. One need only observe the Game of Thrones phenomenon in order to realise the variety inherent in excorporation. While some consumers may watch this Adventure/Drama/Fantasy solely to witness the tensions that unfold within its runtime, others may instead ‘binge-watch’ the series in an effort to adhere to the ‘Water Cooler Theory’; meaning that workplace or classroom conversations abuzz with phrases like ‘Red Wedding’ and ‘I hate Joffrey’ can now be interpreted and responded to in a way likely to gain the approval of, and subsequent involvement with, those partaking in said conversation. These are just some of the nigh-on-countless demonstrations of excorporation, and to brush such a vital stage in consumption to one side is to neglect an integral aspect of popular culture’s uses and effects on the societies it permeates.
Takacs, S. (2015) ‘Interrogating Popular Culture: Key Questions’, “What is Popular Culture?” (Chapter One), Routledge: New York, pp. 1-17.
IMDB: Game of Thrones Overview: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0944947/
Originally published on davidzita.net on 12th March, 2015