Recommended: Cultural Geography Going Viral – provocation By @ProfGillian

Another interesting article out in the ‘Online Early’ section of Social & Cultural Geography is by Gillian Rose, from the “Provocations of the Present” OU event, way back in 2014(!).

Gillian gave an interesting talk on the day, which resonated with things I’ve written, and it’s interesting to read the ‘final’ version, entitled “Cultural Geography Going Viral“.

Using the example of Emily Thorberry’s injudicious tweet concerning white vans and the St George’s cross, Gillian explores how the techniques of analysis of such an image and how it is audienced, interpreted, circulated, and so on and, provocatively, discusses how “the skills of the cultural geographer are now widespread”:

In fact, they are probably no more widespread than they ever have been, but social media and online commentary is making them more visible than ever before. Everyone is reading cultural texts and coming to conclusions about their meaning and sharing their interpretations, it seems – and if they can’t understand what’s going on, they ask and they get an answer. Those answers unpack both the symbolism of specific cultural texts but also the production and circulation of those texts by specific forms of media institutions. In other words, cultural interpretation has gone viral.

This resonates in many ways with some of what I argue in my own ‘provocation‘, in which I argue that we (cultural geographers, and others) need to attend to the various ways on understanding mediation when discussing popular culture (and that we need to discuss popular culture more!)

Anyway, all this is simply to say that I recommend reading Prof. Rose’s article.

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2 Replies to “Recommended: Cultural Geography Going Viral – provocation By @ProfGillian”

  1. This ‘reading’ of popular culture was (and is) the bread and butter of media and cultural studies–a disciplinary field widely dismissed today in the academy of employability.

  2. Hi Patrick, thanks for this – the importance of Cultural Studies in cultural geography has been widely acknowledged and Gillian has been one of those to point this out. Likewise, in my own ‘provocation’ I talk about the influence of Cultural Studies to understanding pop culture. Nevertheless, I totally agree with your observation.

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