Christmas, Ideology and Popular Culture
How do we understand Christmas? What does it mean? This book is a lively introduction to the study of popular culture through one central case study. It explores the cultural, social and historical contexts of Christmas in the UK, USA and Australia, covering such topics as fiction, film, television, art, newspapers and magazines, war, popular music and carols. Chapters explore the ways in which the production of meaning is mediated by the social and cultural activities surrounding Christmas (watching Christmas films, television, listening or engaging with popular music and carols), its relationship to a set of basic values (the idealised construct of the family), social relationships (community), and the ways in which ideological discourses are used and mobilised, not least in times of conflict, terrorism and war. Packed with examples ranging from Charles Dickens’ seminal text, A Christmas Carol, Coca-colonisation and Santa Claus, Victorian cartoons and Christmas cards, to Dr Who, The Office, ‘A Fairy Tale of New York’, ‘Happy Christmas (War is Over)’, and such dystopian films as Jingle All the Way and All I Want For Christmas, the case studies offer an incisive account of the ways in which Christmas relates to social change, and how such recent events as 9/11 and the continuing conflict in Iraq focus attention on traditional themes of community and family. Christmas, Ideology and Popular Culture offers students and scholars alike an opportunity to explore the hidden agendas of the world’s most popular festival and what it means to the outsider looking in.