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Law Through Popular Culture: Overview

What Is Popular Culture?

There are almost as many definitions of popular culture as there are people. An all-purpose beginning definition is that popular culture, or mass culture, is a set of widely accepted values, conventions, or social practices within the characteristic features of everyday life. Pop culture includes arts, events, trends, and people that grab mainstream societal attention at a specific place or time.

For a more thorough discussion of popular culture consult some of the many popular culture materials in the Library collection, such as:

Danesi, Marcel. Popular Culture: Introductory Perspectives. HM621 D36 2008.

Geist, Christopher D., and Jack Nachbar. The Popular Culture Reader. 3rd. ed. E169.1 P5983 1983.

Opposing Viewpoints: Popular Culture. HM621 P654 2011.

Pendergast, Tom, and Sara Pendergast, eds. St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. 3 vols. Ref E1691.1 S764 2000.

Law as Seen in Popular Culture

This guide is intended to help you find material about the law and legal aspects of society as portrayed in popular culture venues, such as movies, television, and novels. These portrayals of law may both reflect and mold public views of the legal system.

Asimow, Michael, and Shannon Mader. Law and Popular Culture: A Course Book. 2d ed. PN1995.9 J8 A85 2013.

Johnson, Scott Patrick. Trials of the Century: An Encyclopedia of Popular Culture and the Law. 2010.

Kozinn, Sarah. Justice Performed: Courtroom TV Shows and the Theaters of Popular Law. PN1990.9 C67 K69 2015.

Redhead, Steve. Unpopular Cultures: The Birth of Law and Popular Culture. K487 C8 R43 1995.

Sarat, Austin, ed. 2011. Imagining Legality: Where Law Meets Popular Culture. Another electronic copy is also available.

Sherwin, Richard K. When Law Goes Pop: The Vanishing Line Between Law and Popular Culture. KF300 S48 2000.

Find More Information

Articles dealing with law and popular that are published in journals, magazines, and newspapers can be located by using indexes and databases. The databases listed below are good starting points; talk with a librarian for more suggestions.

Academic Search Complete. Broad coverage of general and scholarly magazines and journals.

LexisNexis Academic. Focus on business and legal information.

WestlawNext. Access to statutes, cases, and regulations of all 50 states and all federal jurisdictions.

App State Online

Distance education students and faculty have access to a wide array of library resources and services. See the App State Online library guide for details.


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Suzanne Wise
Belk Library and Information Commons
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608-2026
tel: 828-262-2798

Curator of the Stock Car Racing Collection