Contemporary Popular Culture in Germany

Subject 126-487 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2009.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2.5-hour seminar per week
Total Time Commitment: Not available

Usually 37.5 points of 2nd/3rd year subjects in German language.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Leo Kretzenbacher

Subject Overview:

What is popular culture, and what is its purpose? In postwar debates in Germany about popular culture, two main positions can be distinguished. There is the "apocalyptic" view of the Frankfurt School, claiming that popular culture is part of the superstructure of society and imposed by cultural industries to serve as an anaesthetic drug for the masses. An opposing view is offered by exponents of Cultural Studies like the Birmingham School: an "integrated" view, seeing the origins of popular culture in the base of society, where it functions as the "voice of the people" and a form of free expression. Students are introduced to the history and main topics of this debate in Germany. The legacy of the Frankfurt School will be discussed, as well as the German contribution to Cultural Studies. Key concepts of a theory of popular culture will be introduced and discussed (manipulation, ease of consumption, escapism, complicity with the audience, the role of popular culture in the culture industry, popular culture and "Schund und Schmutz"). A close look will also be taken at the multiple relationships between popular culture, society and the media. Examples will be critically discussed. These include songs and videoclips by German pop/rock bands and literary works and pamphlets from Popliteratur. It will be shown how musicians and writers (de-)construct concepts like (Anti-)Americanism, Germanness, national pride/ nationalism and social health in their works.

Objectives: .

A 1000 word class paper 30% (due during the semester), and an essay of 3000 words for 3rd year students, 4000 words for 4th year students 70% (due at the end of the semester).

Prescribed Texts: None
Recommended Texts:

Information Not Available

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • have acquired skills in research, critical thinking and contextualising information;

  • have developed skills in communicating knowledge intelligibly through oral presentations and essays in German.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: German

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