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Communication Theory and Millennial Popular Culture

Essays and Applications

Edited By Kathleen Glenister Roberts

Theories help to troubleshoot gaps in our understanding, and to make sense of a world that is constantly changing. What this book tries to do, in part, is blur the lines between the differences between today’s college students – the millennial generation – and their professors, many of whom hail from the Boom Generation and Generation X.
In the following chapters, contributors build upon what both parties already know. Writing in a highly accessible yet compelling style, contributors explain communication theories by applying them to «artifacts» of popular culture. These «artifacts» include Lady Gaga, Pixar films, The Hunger Games, hip hop, Breaking Bad, and zombies, among others. Using this book, students will become familiar with key theories in communication while developing creative and critical thinking. By experiencing familiar popular culture artifacts through the lens of critical and interpretive theories, a new generation of communication professionals and scholars will hone their skills of observation and interpretation – pointing not just toward better communication production, but better social understanding.
Professors will especially enjoy the opportunities for discussion this book provides, both through the essays and the «dialogue boxes» where college students provide responses to authors’ ideas.

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Table of Contents

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Introduction: Editor’s Note ....................................................................... 1 Kathleen Glenister Roberts Part I: Rhetoric .................................................................................... 9 1. Improving Your Speech Delivery with Modern Family and Friends ............................................................................................ 11 Nancy Bressler 2. Life as Performance—Dramatism and the Music of Lady Gaga ....... 23 Jake Dionne & Joe Hatfield 3. “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose”—Finding the God-Terms in Friday Night Lights .......................................................................... 35 Gerald J. Hickly III 4. Understanding Ceremonial Speech through Fantasy Literature ......... 45 Kathleen Glenister Roberts 5. Winning Isn’t Everything—Credibility, Leadership, and Virtue in HBO’s Game of Thrones ................................................................... 59 Elena C. Strauman Part II: Culture .................................................................................. 71 6. “Let it go, let it go”—Hegemony and Counter-Hegemony in Disney’s Frozen ............................................................................... 73 Janelle Applequist 7. Mockingjays and Silent Salutes—Introducing Semiotics through The Hunger Games ........................................................................... 85 Claudia Bucciferro 8. Understanding Stuart Hall’s “Encoding/Decoding” Model through TV’s Breaking Bad ........................................................................... 95 Garret Castleberry 9. Postmodern Theory and Hip-Hop Cultural Discourse .................... 107 Hunter H. Fine 10. Seen but Not Heard—Exploring Muted Group Theory in Pixar’s The Incredibles, WALL-E, and Brave ............................................... 119 Bruce W. Finklea & Sally Bennett Hardig 11. Knope vs. Pope: A Fantasy Theme Analysis of Scandal vs. Parks & Recreation .................................................................................. 131 Krystal Fogle Table of Contents viii Part III: Media and Technology ..................................................... 143 12. The Smartphone as Permanent Substitute Teacher ....................... 145 Brian Gilchrist 13. Media and Technology—Metal and Mutation in the X-Men Films ......................................................................................... 157 Paul A. Lucas 14. Hashtag Television Advertising—The Multistep Flow of Millennial TV Usage, Commercial Viewing, and Social Media Interaction...................................................................................... 167 Andrew Sharma & Chrys Egan 15. Zombie Apocalypse, Haitian Vodou, and Media Ecology—A...

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