Unmasking Hegemony with The Avengers: Television Entertainment as Public Pedagogy

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14 Scopus citations


It’s the power of the press, baby, and there’s nothing you can do about it. -Umberto Eco (2007, p. 164) Maybe not everything I know I learned from TV-but a lot of it was. -Mark Rowlands (2005, p. 1) In this chapter, I emphasize that people learn from popular television no matter what the intent of the writers, producers, actors, commercial sponsors, or audience. Just as teachers teach as much by example as by implementing lesson plans, television fills our imaginations with information and models-for good or ill, whether intended or not. While I can recall very little factual information from my K-12 schooling, I can detail the storylines from many of my favorite television shows during the same period. Growing up in rural Appalachia, I found that television, together with literary fiction, poetry, and rock ʼn' roll, offered glimpses of a larger world missing from the brutally boring days of school, especially high school. What I learned from television has stayed with me because, as Jenkins (1992) explains, popular culture fans “read intertextually as well as textually and their pleasure comes through the particular juxtapositions that they create between specific program content and other cultural materials” (p. 37). So I learned to dress like Rhoda (Mary was too establishment), imagined myself as a Police Woman working for social justice, and practiced Cher-style sarcasm, in the all-White, working-class world that constrained me. Inspired by books, music, and television, my imagination enabled me to experience new possibilities and, unbeknownst to me at the time, to equip myself to challenge dominant ideologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Public Pedagogy
Subtitle of host publicationEducation and Learning beyond Schooling
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781135184193
ISBN (Print)9781135002480
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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