Monday 27th March 2017,

Reading List in Communication, Culture and Industry

If I blog only sporadically over the next month it’s because I’m locked in a library reading! I’ll be taking what my graduate program calls “comprehensive exams” in October and I have a ridiculously long list of books to get through. It’s an exciting process in the beginning: it’s great to get a solid historical, theoretical and topic-specific foundation on American media. Something so few people have! (How many people have a few months to just read?).

I’m publishing my reading list to help any other grad students or non-academic/professional aficionados out there who want to find resources. There aren’t many lists out there (Alisa Perren’s great list of recent books on media industries inspired this post). The list is by no means entirely “comprehensive.” A true comprehensive list would probably have well over 1,000 books, and that wouldn’t be very practical, would it?! Also, the list is suited to my personal research needs and interests (gaps in knowledge I need to close, specific topics I need to cover). Some books I’ve read over and over are not included, some are; it’s personally tailored. Finally, this is an almost-final draft, meaning a few of the citations are off/incorrect.

Hope this helps someone out there!

The list is divided into three foci: theory, method and topic.


Qualitative methods. My work is interview-based. For this reading list, I’m focusing on a combination of “how to” and theory with actual ethnographies/studies of media/industries.

Methodological Theory and Practice/Guides:

Cerwonka, A. and Malkki, L.H. 2007. Improvising Theory: Process and Temporality in Ethnographic Fieldwork. Chicago: University of Chicago Press,

Couldry, N. 2004. ‘Transvaluing Media Studies Or, Beyond the Myth of the Mediated Centre’ in J. Curran and D. Morley (eds.) Media and Cultural Theory: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. London: Routledge.

Fabian, J. 2008. Ethnography as Commentary: Writing from the Virtual Archive. Raleigh: Duke University Press.

Fiske, J. 1989. Reading the Popular. New York: Routledge.

Geertz, C. 19973. Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture, in The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books. pp. 3-30.

Glaser, B. & Strauss, A. 2006. The discovery of grounded theory: strategies for qualitative research. New York: Gruyter.

Hammersley, M. and Atkinson, P. 1995. Ethnography: Principles in Practice, 3rd Ed. New York: Routledge.

Havens, T., Lotz, A.D., Tinic, S. 2009. “Critical Media Industry Studies: A Research Approach.” Communication, Culture and Critique. 234-253.

Hine, C. 2000. Virtual Ethnography. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Miller, D. and Slater, D. 2001. The Internet: An Ethnographic Approach. Berg, 2001.

Nader, L. 1982. Up the Anthropologist: Perspectives Gained from Studying Up. In Cole, J.B. (Ed), Anthropology for the Eighties. New York: The Free Press.

Williams, R. 1998. The Analysis of Culture, in Cultural theory and popular culture: A reader, John Storey (Ed). Athens: University of Georgia Press.

Wolcott, H.F. 2008. Ethnography as a Way of Seeing, in Ethnography: A Way of Seeing. AltaMira, 1999. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.

Case Studies: Industry

Ang, I. 1991. Desperately Seeking the Audience. New York: Routledge.

Caldwell, J.T. 2008. Production Culture: industrial reflexivity and critical practice in film and television. Raleigh: Duke University Press.

Dornfeld, B. 1998. Producing Public Television. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Gamson, J. 1998. Freaks talk back: Tabloid Talk Shows and Sexual Nonconformity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Gitlin, T. 1983. Inside prime time. New York: Pantheon Books.

Grindstaff, L. 2002. The Money Shot: Trash, class, and the making of TV talk shows. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Tuchman, G. 1978. Making News: A Study in the Construction of Reality. New York: The Free Press.

Case Studies: Subcultures

Beemyn, B, eds. 1997. Creating a Place for Ourselves: Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Community Histories. New York, Routledge.

Bowser, P. and Spence, Louise. Writing Himself Into History: Oscar Micheaux, His Silent Films, And His Audiences. Newark: Rutgers University Press.

Campbell, J.E. 2004. Getting it on Online: Cyberspace, Gay Male Sexuality, and Embodied Identity. New York: Harrington Park Press. Chapter 2: Getting Online, pp. 21-52.

Chauncey, G. 1994. Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940. New York: Basic Books.

Collins, P.H. 2000. Black feminist thought: knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment. New York: Routledge.

Dávila. A. 2001. Latinos, Inc.: The Marketing and Making of a People. Berkeley: University of California. (particularly: “Doing Fieldwork on a Fieldless Site”).

Gray, H. 1995. Watching race: television and the struggle for blackness. (Chapter 6). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Hall, S. 1997. Representation: cultural representations and signifying practices. London: Sage. (Chapters 1, 4).

Hebdige, D. 1979. Subculture: The Meaning of Style. New York: Routledge.

Jackson, J. 2005. Real Black: Adventures in Racial Sincerity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Jhally, S. and Lewis, J. 1992. Enlightened racism: the Cosby show, audiences, and the myth of the American dream. Boulder: Westview Press.

Johnson, E.P. 2003. Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press.

Lewin, E. and Leap, W.L., eds. 1996. Out in The Field: Reflections of Lesbian and Gay Anthropologists. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

McRobbie, A. 1980. Settling accounts with subcultures. Screen Education.

Newton, E. (1972). Mother Camp: Female Impersonators in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Rubin, G. 2002. Studying Sexual Subcultures: Excavating the Ethnography of Gay Communities in Urban North America, in Out in Theory: The Emergence of Lesbian and Gay Anthropology, Ellen Lewin and William L. Leap, eds. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

Sender, K. 2004. Business, Not Politics: The Making of the Gay Market. New York: Columbia University Press.

Case Studies: New Media

Jenkins, H. 2006. Fans, bloggers, and gamers: exploring participatory culture. New York: NYU Press.

Turkle, S. 1984. The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit. New York: Simon & Schuster.

boyd, d. (2008). Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life. In D. Buckingham (Ed.), Youth, Identity, and Digital Media: The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning (pp. 119-142). Cambridge: MIT Press.

Boellstorff, T. (2008). Coming of age in Second Life: An anthropologist explores the virtually human. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Burgress, J and Green, J. 2009. YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Lange, P. G. (2007). Publicly private and privately public: Social networking on YouTube. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13.1, 18, Retrieved from

Rheingold, H. (2000). The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Media Industries

This section is intended to focus on media industries and their histories, helping me contextualize online video in the lineage of television, radio and advertising, alongside Internet history.

Anderson, C. 2008. The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More. New York: Hyperion.

Anderson, C. 1994. HollywoodTV: the studio system in the fifties. Austin: University of Texas.

Andrejvic, M. 2004. Reality TV: the work of being watched. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.

Auletta, K. 2010. Googled: The End of the World as We Know It. London: Virgin Books.

Babe, R.E. Cultural Studies and Political Economy: Toward a New Integration. Lanham: Roman & Littlefield.

Barnouw, E. 1990. Tube of Plenty: The Evolution of American Television, 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

Barnouw, E. 2004. The sponsor: notes on modern potentates. Transaction Publishers.

Benkler, Y. 2007. The Wealth of Networks. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Bruns, A. 2008. Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From Production to Produsage

Burgress, J and Green, J. 2009. YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Boddy, W. 1992. Fifties television: the industry and its critics. Chicago: University of Illinois.

Boddy. W. 2004. New media and popular imagination: launching radio, television, and digital media in the United States. London: Oxford University.

Buonanno, M. and Radice, J. 2008. The Age of Television: Experiences and Theories. Intellect Books.

Caldwell, J.T. 2008. Production Culture: Industrial Reflexivity and Critical Practice in Film & TV. Raleigh: Duke University Press.

Caldwell, J.T. 1995. Televisuality: Style, crisis, and authority in American television. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

Carter, B. 2007. Desperate Networks. New York: Random House.

Couldry, N. and Curran, J. 2003. Contesting media power: alternative media in a networked world. Lanham: Rowan & Littlefield.

Curtin, M. 1995. Redeeming the Wasteland: Television Documentary and Cold War Politics. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Dayan, D. and Katz, E. 1994. Media Events: the live broadcasting of history. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Dávila. A. 2001. Latinos, Inc.: The Marketing and Making of a People. Berkeley: University of California. (particularly: “Doing Fieldwork on a Fieldless Site”).

Deuze, M. 2007. Media Work. Polity Press.

Douglas, S. 1987. Inventing American Broadcasting, 1899-1922. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Douglas, S.J. 2004. Listening in: radio and the American imagination. Minneapolis. University of Minnesota Press.

Downing, J. 2001. Radical media: rebellious communication and social movements. London: SAGE.

Einstein, M. 2004. Media Diversity: Economics, Ownership and the FCC. Hillsdale, N.J.: L. Erlbaum Associates

Ewen, S. 2001. Captains of consciousness: advertising and the social roots of the consumer culture. New York: Basic Books.

Freedman, D. 2008. The Politics of Media Policy. Polity Press.

Fox, S.R. 1997. The mirror makers: a history of American advertising and its creators. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

Gitlin, T. 1983. Inside prime time. New York: Pantheon Books.

Gray, H. 2004. Watching Race: television and the struggle for blackness. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Hartley, J., ed. 2005. Creative Industries. Wiley-Blackwell.

Hartley, J. and Fiske, J. 2003. Reading television. Psychology Press.

Hilmes, M. 1999.  Hollywood & Broadcasting: From Radio to Cable. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

Hilmes, M. 1997. Radio voices: American broadcasting, 1922-1952. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.

Hindman, M.S. 2009. The Myth of Digital Democracy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Holt, J. and Perren, Alisa. 2009. Media industries: history, theory, and method. New York: Wiley-Blackwell.

Jenkins, H. 2006. Convergence Culture: where old and new media collide. New York: New York University Press.

Kellner, D. 1990. Television and the Crisis of Democracy. Boulder: Westview Press.

Kunz, W. 2007. Culture Conglomerates: Consolidation in the Motion Picture and TV Industries. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.

Lotz, A.D. 2007. The television will be revolutionized. New York: NYU Press.

Lotz, A.D. 2009. Beyond Prime Time: Television Programming in the Post-Network Era. New York: Routledge.

Mann, D. 2008. Hollywood Independents: The Postwar Talent Takeover. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

McDonald, P.D. 2007. Video and DVD Industries. London: BFI Press.

Newcomb, H. “Reflections on TV: The Most Popular Art,” in Thinking Outside the Box: A Contemporary Television Genre Reader.

Schatz, T. 1998. The Genius of the System: Hollywood Filmmaking in the Studio Era. New York, Pantheon Books.

Shirky, C. 2008. Here Comes Everybody: the power of organizing without organizations. New York: Penguin.

Smith-Shomade, B. 2008. Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy: Selling Black Entertainment Television. University of California Press.

Spigel, L. 1992. Make room for TV: Television and the family ideal in postwar America. Chicago: University of Chicago.

Spigel, L. and Olsson, J, eds. 2004. Television after TV: Essays on a medium in transition. Raleigh: Duke University Press.

Streeter, T. 1996. Selling the Air: A Critique of the Policy of Commercial Broadcasting in the United States. Chicago: University of Chicago.

Turow, J. 2006. Niche Envy: advertisers and the new media world. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Turow, J. 1997. Breaking Up America advertisers and the new media world. Chicago: University of Chicago.

Turner, G. and Tay, Jinna. 2009. Television Studies after TV: Understanding post-broadcast television. New York: Routledge.

Wu, T. 2010. The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires. New York: Random House.

Williams, R. 2003. Television: Technology and Cultural Form. Psychology Press.

Wood, J.P. 1958. Story of Advertising. Ronald Press Co.

Cultural Studies/Theory

This day I’d like to focus on how my work could potentially fit into work in cultural studies on cultural and subcultural production, power, hegemony and resistance, and identity. The dissertation will likely have a heavy focus on amateur/independent work, and I’ll need to examine how culture (identity, society) intersects with markets, networks, representation.

Althusser, L. 1977. Reading Capital. London: NLB.

Althusser, Louis. 1998. “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses,” in Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: a reader, ed. John Storey. Athens: University of Georgia Press.

Barthes, R. 1972. The Structuralist Activity and The Death of the Author, in Mythologies. New York: Hill & Wang.

Bataille, G. 1988. The Accursed Share, Vol. 1. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Baudrillard, J. 1983. “The ecstasy of communication.” In Hal Foster (ed.) The anti-aesthetic: Essays on postmodern culture. Port Townsend WA: Bay Press, pp. 126-134.

Baudrillard, J. 1981. For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign. Telos Press.

Benjamin, W. “The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility.”

Bhabha, H. 2004. Location of Culture. New York: Routledge.

Bourdieu, P. 2001. The Forms of Capital, in eds, Granovetter, M.S. & Swedberg, R. The sociology of economic life, 2nd edition. Boulder: Westview Press.

Castells, M. 2000. The Rise of the Network Society. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.

De Certeau, M. 1984. The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley: University of California Press. (also, Practice Theory)

Foucault, M. 1985. Discipline and Punish. New York: Knopf/Doubleday.

Foucault, M. 2003. “Society must be defended”: lectures at the Collège de France, 1975-76. London: Macmillan.

Giddens, A. 1984. Constitution of Society: Outline of the theory of structuration. Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Giddens, A. 1990. The Consequences of Modernity. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Giddens, A. 1999. Capitalism and modern social theory: an analysis of the writings of Marx, Durkheim and Max Weber. London: Cambridge University Press.

Gramsci, A. 2006. “Hegemony, Intellectuals, and the state,” in Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: a reader. Ed. John Storey.

Grossberg, L. 1997. Bringing it all home: Essays on cultural studies. Raleigh: Duke University Press.

Habermas, J. 1981. Theory of Communicative Action. Boston: Beacon Press.

Hall, S. 1997. Representation: cultural representations and signifying practices. London: Sage.

Hall, S. 1982. ‘The rediscovery of ‘ideology:’ return of the repressed in media studies,” in Culture, society, and the media, ed. Michael Gurevitch.

Haraway, D. 1991. “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century,” in Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (New York; Routledge, 1991), pp.149-181.

Horkheimer, M and Adorno, T. 1979. The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception,  in Dialectic of Enlightenment. New Left Books, 1979.

Latour, Bruno. 2005. Reassembling the social: an introduction to actor-network-theory. London: Oxford University Press.

Levi-Strauss, C. 1978. Myth and meaning. New York: Routledge.

Lukács, G. 1972. History and Class Consciousness: studies in Marxist dialectics. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Macdonald, D. 1957. A theory of mass culture. In B. Rosenberg and D. Manning (eds.) Mass culture: The popular arts in America. New York: The Free Press, pp. 59-73.

Marcuse, H. 1987. Eros and Civilization. Psychology Press.

Marx, K. 1906. Capital Vol. 1 (selections).

McLuhan, M and Powers, B.R. 1989. The Global Village: Transformations in World Life and Media in the 21st Century. London: Oxford University Press.

McLuhan, M. 2001. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. New York: Routledge.

Peirce, C. “Theory of Signs,” Philosophical writings of Peirce.

Peters, J.D. Speaking Into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Spivak, G. 1999. “Can the Subaltern Speak?,” in Toward a History of the Vanishing Present. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Thrift, N. 2005. Knowing Capitalism. London: Sage.

Weber, M. 1978. Economy and Society (selections): an outline in interpretative sociology. Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Weber, M. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.

Weber, M. 1965. Politics as Vocation. Fortress Press.

Williams, R. 2001. The Long revolution. Broadview Press. (Part One)

Williams, R. 1995. The sociology of culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Zizek, S. “How did Marx Invent the Symptom?,” in Mapping Ideology. New York: Verso Press.

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About The Author

Aymar Jean Christian is assistant professor of communication at Northwestern University. He writes about media and society for a number of publications. For more information, click the "About" tab at the top of the page.


  1. Connie Webb November 21, 2010 at 3:55 am

    That is an impressive and very extensive reading list. Months from now I hope I would have read at least a quarter of it. Thank you for the lead.

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