Popular culture as pharmakon: metamodernism and the deconstruction of status quo consciousness

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Daniel Joseph Pruitt (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Christian Moraru

Abstract: As society continues to virtualize, popular culture and its influence on our identities grow more viral and pervasive. Consciousness mediates the cultural forces influencing the audience, often determining whether fiction acts as remedy, poison, or simultaneously both. In this essay, I argue that antimimetic techniques and the subversion of formal expectations can interrupt the interpretive process, allowing readers and viewers to become more aware of the systems that popular fiction upholds. The first chapter will explore the subversion of traditional form in George Saunders’s Lincoln in the Bardo. Using Caroline Levine’s Forms as a blueprint to study the interaction of aesthetic, social, and political forms, I examine how Saunders’s novel draws attention to the constructed nature of identity and the forms that influence this construction. In the second chapter, I discuss how the metamodernity of the animated series Rick and Morty allows the show to disrupt status quo consciousness. Once this rupture occurs, viewers are more likely to engage with social critique and interrogate the self-replicating systems that shape the way we establish meaning. Ultimately, popular culture can suppress or encourage social change, and what often determines this difference is whether consciousness passively absorbs or critically processes the messages in fiction.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2020
Consciousness, Empath, George Saunders, Metamodernism, Popular culture, Rick and Morty
Popular culture $x Social aspects
Popular culture $x Psychological aspects
Saunders, George, $d 1958- $t Lincoln in the bardo
Rick and Morty (Television program)

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