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Popular Culture and Working-Class Taste in Britain, 1930-39A Round of Cheap Diversions?$
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Robert James

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780719080258

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719080258.001.0001

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Popular film and literature: textual analyses

Popular film and literature: textual analyses

(p.191) 9 Popular film and literature: textual analyses
Popular Culture and Working-Class Taste in Britain, 1930-39

Robert James

Manchester University Press

This chapter provides close analysis of a number of films and novels known to have been popular with working-class consumers during the 1930s, and explores the cultural competence of working-class consumers by assessing what the producer expected them to know, and also what they took from their choice of leisure product. A representative sample of films and novels has been considered because they were among the most popular in the period, revealing the varied nature of working-class taste, and drawing attention to the wide-ranging choices working-class consumers made when deciding which films to watch and what types of novel to read. The traditional methods of visual, literary and discourse analysis are deployed, rather than simple plot paraphrase. In diverse ways, authors and filmmakers responded to the tastes of Britain's working-class consumers, and sought to challenge and comfort, and to influence and encourage. The success of films and novels with the working classes suggests that they were achieving their aim.

Keywords:   cultural competence, leisure product, consumers, working-class taste, traditional methods

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