Knowledge Goes Pop: From Conspiracy Theory to Gossip by Clare Birchall

By Clare Birchall

A voice on past due evening radio tells you quickly nutrients eating place injects its nutrients with medications that make males impotent. A colleague asks for those who imagine the FBI was once in on 9-11. An alien abductee on the web claims extra-terrestrials have planted a microchip in her physique. "Julia Roberts in Porn Scandal" shouts front web page of a gossip magazine. a religious healer claims he can remedy persistent fatigue syndrome with the energizing strength of crystals . . . What do you think? wisdom is going Pop examines the preferred knowledges that saturate our daily event. We make this data after which it shapes the best way we see the realm. How legitimate is it compared to legitimate wisdom and why does such (mis)information reason quite a bit institutional anxiousness? This e-book examines the diversity of information, from conspiracy concept to standard gossip, and its position and effect in our tradition.

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Additional info for Knowledge Goes Pop: From Conspiracy Theory to Gossip (Culture Machine)

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Likewise for Dant, knowledge is ‘the construal of relations between abstract entities that are taken to represent communication and that can be used by them both to understand their experience of the world and to guide their actions’ (author’s italics) (1991: 5). In light of this levelling of the playing field (in which popular knowledge is just another socially situated knowledge), why would I want to suggest a distinct way of thinking about popular knowledges? Why would I insist on the specificity of popular knowledge?

1) Robert Baron and Nicholas Spitzer read folklore as that which takes place in private – ‘shared by groups in informal settings’ (1992: 1–2) – but which publicly express a collective identity. What is interesting about popular knowledges, I want to suggest, is that they seem to transcend geographically located groupings with a selfreplicating structure that defies an ethnography of one-to-one communication. 4 Barre Toelken actually posits folklore as that which resists mass mediation: ‘In spite of the combined forces of technology, science, television, religion, urbanization, and creeping literacy, we prefer our close personal associations as the basis for learning about life and transmitting important observations and expressions’ (1979: 25).

Have been privileged and included in cultural studies’ interdisciplinary canon, those ‘less legitimate’ discourses and forms of knowledge – hypnosis, for example – that have not been encapsulated by the ‘established’ disciplines have tended to be excluded or ignored. (2002: 15) I would place popular knowledges like conspiracy and gossip alongside Hall’s example of hypnosis as a form of knowledge that has been excluded from the cultural studies canon (not as objects, maybe, but certainly as forms of knowledge that already work ‘within’ cultural studies).

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