Latham, Kevin. 2007. Pop Culture China!: Media, Arts, and Lifestyle. Santa Barbara, Denver, Oxford: ABC Clio.
I’m doing some research on Chinese pop culture, so this seemed like a good book to read. When I received it, I immediately noticed the heavy, textbook feel to it.EVen the layout seems very textbook-ish. It really is a reference work for libraries and maybe specialists. The author is a lecturer in anthropology and sociology at the University of London. The book is thorough, and as one might expect from this kind of book, the writing is academic in nature. It is best used as a reference work, and would be a bit heavy to read through from cover to cover. However, I did read it all the way through and found it to be well written and well organized.
Anyone who is interested in such things as the development of rock music in China, the evolution of film, the role of newspapers in Chinese society, how Chinese spend their leisure time, and so on, will find this book a valuable resource. Each chapter ends with a section called “A to Z” which serves as a kind of review of the major names, terms, and events discussed in the chapter. I found this useful. It is obvious that the book is well researched and a valuable contribution to our understanding of pop culture in an ever changing China. It’s a welcome addition to my library, but for most people I would recommend you check it out at your local library.
Chinese pop culture isn’t a topic I’m super familiar with but have always been interested in it. It seems as if this book is mostly used as an educational reference found in libraries and for the use of specialists. In this way, the book is probably more tailored for academics rather than the average tourist. However, this book seems to provide a lot of detail about media and culture in China as well as references to other texts for more information which could prove to be very useful.