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The Spike Lee Enigma

Challenge and Incorporation in Media Culture

Bill Yousman

The Spike Lee Enigma is an exploration of ideology and political economy in the films and career of one of America's most controversial filmmakers. Since the 1980s Spike Lee has created numerous films that are socially challenging, some would even say radical, while simultaneously maintaining a collaborative relationship with mainstream Hollywood and the global advertising industry. Lee, thus, seemingly represents an enigma – operating on the margins of both hegemonic and counter-hegemonic cultural production.
This book incorporates multiple perspectives, ranging from media effects theories, critical cultural studies, and the political economy of media, to semiotics and ideological, auteurist, and feminist approaches to film theory and analysis. Early chapters provide a clear explanation of these theoretical and methodological approaches while later chapters explore several of Lee’s films in great depth. In a social environment where popular culture has supplanted education and religion as a primary force of socialization and enculturation, this book demonstrates why a popular filmmaker such as Spike Lee must be taken seriously, while introducing readers to ways of viewing, reading, and listening that will allow them to achieve a new understanding of the mediated texts they encounter on a daily basis.
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Prime Time Prisons on U.S. TV

Representation of Incarceration

Bill Yousman

In the current era of rampant incarceration and an ever-expanding prison-industrial complex, this crucial book breaks down the distorted and sensationalistic version of imprisonment found on U.S. television. Examining local and national television news, broadcast network crime dramas, and the cable television prison drama Oz, the book provides a comprehensive analysis of the stories and images of incarceration most widely seen by viewers in the U.S. and around the world. The textual analysis is augmented by interviews with individuals who have spent time in U.S. prisons and jails; their insights provide important context while encouraging readers to critically reflect on their own responses to television images of imprisonment. Appropriate for both undergraduates and postgraduates, Prime Time Prisons on U.S. TV is useful for courses in media criticism, media literacy, popular culture, television studies, and criminology.