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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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3. “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose”—Finding the God-Terms in Friday Night Lights



“Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose”—Finding the God-Terms in Friday Night Lights

Gerald J. Hickly III

Imagine a small Texas town largely left behind by the post-industrial age. A town where the primary centers of commerce are the local auto dealership, Garrity Motors, and the strip club, The Landing Strip, refurbished from a closed airport. A town where everything screeches to a complete halt and all troubles can be forgotten once a week for a season. A town that is singularly and totally consumed by one thing, one name: Dillon Panthers. This is the world of Dillon, Texas, as painted by NBC’s Friday Night Lights, a critically acclaimed television drama. This series was inspired by H. G. Bissinger’s thought-provoking book of the same name.

Because of its complexity and its realistic depiction of contemporary issues, Friday Night Lights is a reflection of human communication. It is a helpful text to explore communication theories you may not have studied before. Relying on the work of Kenneth Burke, this chapter hopes to illuminate the concepts of god-terms and Cluster Analysis, by looking at how those ideas make themselves apparent in Friday Night Lights.

Kenneth Burke—The Outsider on the Inside

Kenneth Burke is one of the discipline’s great enigmas. He lacks the credentials that would permit his work to have any serious sway by today’s standards. Despite being revered as one of the greatest rhetorical scholars of...

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