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This book, first published in 1987, sets out to examine and extend our understanding of Australian popular culture, and to counter the long-established, traditional criticism bewailing its lack.
The authors argue that the 'knocker's' view started from an elitist viewpoint, yearning for Australia to aspire to a European culture in art, music, literature and other traditional cultural fields.
They argue however that there are other definitions of culture that are more populist, more comprehensive, and which represent a vitality and dynamism which is a true reflection of the lives and aspirations of Australians.
Myths of Oz offers no comprehensive definition of Australian culture, but rather a way of interpreting its various aspects.
The barbeque or the pub, an expedition to the shops or a day at the beach, the home, the workplace or the job queue; all these intrinsic parts of Australian life are examined and conclusions drawn as to how they shape or are shaped by what we call popular culture.
The authors look too at monuments and symbols, from Ayers Rock to the Sydney Opera House, which both shape and reflect Australian culture, while a chapter on the Australian accent shows how language and terminology play a powerful role in establishing cultural standpoints.
A particular strength of this book is that while delivering a provocative and stimulating series of viewpoints on popular culture, it also makes use of current academic tools and methodology to ensure that we gain new insights into the meanings and pleasures we derive from our everyday experiences.
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