Who's bad?: disrupting cultural (re)production through representations of Michael Jackson

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


The dynamic process of producing and consuming commodities shapes not only individuals but also their relations with each other and their societies. Although popular culture theorists have often attributed to popular music the effect of securing the consent of subordinated people for their own domination, Michael Jackson's pop music has the opposite effect: it opens up dominant norms to critique and allows consumers to see the ideological relations portrayed in music as constructs rather than as normal or natural. While several of the songs on Jackson's Bad subvert dominant norms, some of the songs try to sustain the fixity of the relationships they portray, and thus work to appropriate Jackson's suvbersions into the service of dominant ideologies. Yet Jackson's embodied responses to such appropriations make clear the subversive and political power of the body to disrupt the unquestioned (re)production of dominant culture.




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