The Madonna Connection: Representational Politics, Subcultural Identities, and Cultural Theory

Cathy Schwichtenberg, Editor Westview Press $67 (336p) ISBN 978-0-8133-1396-2
This hefty collection of Material Girl scholarship is enough to satisfy even the most insatiable and intellectual fan. The authors of these academic essays--professors in philosophy, rhetorical studies, marketing, cultural studies and the like--see the entertainer and her relationship to modern culture in interesting ways, but some of the connections they make are tenuous. Roseann M. Mandziuk's assertion that Madonna's inarticulate presence on Nightline ``spoke loudly for a feminist realist epistemology'' is backed up by scanty evidence, and it is hard to take seriously Melanie Morton's comparison of Madonna and Jean Genet. The strictly theoretical essays are less compelling than those that view popular culture through the lens of contemporary sociology, such as the observations of Laurie Schulze, Anne Barton White and Jane D. Brown on perceptions of Madonna as a bad role model, and Thomas K. Nakayama and Lisa N. Penaloza's survey of how members of different racial and ethnic groups interpret Madonna's attitudes toward race and ethnicity. Schwichtenberg, a professor of speech communication at the University of Georgia, provides a unifying introduction, in which she manages to draw parallels among the widely varied pieces without generalizing overmuch . (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/29/1993
Release date: 12/01/1993
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-8133-1397-9
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