A second broad focus of CMCI research is on popular culture, broadly conceived. Again, this ranges across a number of different thematic priorities. One strand of interest is concerned with philosophical questions about the nature of culture (Howells) and theoretical approaches for its investigation (Wilson) – particularly Marxism and the work of Bloch, critical realism and poststructuralist approaches.
A second theme is focused upon cultural history (Adams, Cohen, Howells), with work ranging across studies of Duke Ellington’s America, the Titanic disaster and its representation, and the legacy of empire.
Thirdly, there is a strong interest in representation and mediation (Adams, Cohen, Gill, Howells) in which a concern with social divisions (class, gender, race, the nation) features prominently. An interest in visual culture (Gill, Howells) is complemented by an interest in the mediation of culture, and in particular the role played by cultural institutions such as museums (Adams).
Finally, CMCI research displays a keen interest in identities, ethics and the uses of (sub)culture(s). Gill’s recent work on how children and young people negotiate an increasingly sexualized culture can be understood as audience research, whilst Adams explores musical subcultures, and Lee’s work troubles stable boundaries between producers and audiences/users altogether, by focusing on fan communities who play an active participatory role in digital cultures (manga scanlation and anime fansubbing).