Toward a Playful Pedagogy: Popular Culture and the Pleasures of Transgression

Duncum, Paul
April 2009
Studies in Art Education;Spring2009, Vol. 50 Issue 3, p232
Academic Journal
In defining popular culture as inherently pleasurable, including the pleasures of transgression, the author argues that while art teachers now critique popular visual culture for its often-dubious ideologies, they are yet to come to terms with its transgressive pleasures. Teachers fail to engage with its carnivalesque, subversive qualities because they conflict with the rationality upon which schools are founded. Transgression involves challenging teachers' authority, and its oftentimes-reactionary nature raises serious moral dilemmas. However, unless the transgressive nature of popular culture is acknowledged, critique will not engage with students' affective investments and will be dismissed as irrelevant. The considerable experience of media educators in the United Kingdom suggests that popular culture must be approached through a playful pedagogy that negotiates moral ambiguity, accepts that students' reactionary and progressive attitudes often fold into one another, and leavens critical theory with fun and pleasure.


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