Paperback, 372 pages
Released: July 2002
Popular culture has been a powerful force in the United States connecting disparate and even hostile constituencies. The novels of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the theater and minstrel shows of the mid-nineteenth century, movies, and the introduction of television and computers in the twentieth century are the building blocks that Jim Cullen uses to show how unique and vibrant cultural forms overcame initial resistance and enabled historically marginalized groups to gain recognition from the mainstream.
This updated edition contains a new preface and final chapter which traces the history of contemporary computing from its World War II origins as a military tool to its widespread use in the late twentieth century as a tool for the masses. Cullen shows how the computer is reshaping popular culture, and how that culture yet retains its capacity to surprise and disturb.
The highly acclaimed first edition of The Art of Democracy won the 1996 Ray and Pat Brown Award for Best Book, presented by the Popular Culture Association.
Cullen’s strength comes from his understanding of how the different strands of American society intertwine in imaginative, unpredictable ways… The shape and vitality of pop culture’s next era will depend, at least in part, on commentators like Cullen.
A thorough, engaging look at American culture… Cullen’s articulate prose is spiced with wicked wit and he loves a good story… Demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of complex cultural forces.