Stranger in the Village

James Baldwin, Popular Culture, and the Ties That Bind

Greg Dimitriadis, Cameron R McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In this article, the authors look at the theoretical and methodological implications of the autobiographical writings of James Baldwin for doing qualitative research in the related areas of youth identity formation and the production and circulation of meanings in popular culture. They argue that Baldwin’s use of autobiography provides one very useful way to register important contradictions and tensions in the circulation of contemporary fashion styles. Specifically, the Hilfiger and Timberland lines of clothing deploy signs and symbols that are up for grabs, discursive resources that can be coded and recoded in multiple and complex ways by young people defining a sense of racial identity for themselves in the face of massive social, cultural, and material uncertainty. Yet, these resources circulate in a historical landscape that radically circumscribes their mobility. The contradictions have not been adequately addressed in contemporary approaches to popular culture, especially in the field of cultural studies. The authors call for more autobiographical work on popular culture, the kind exemplified by Baldwin’s collection on film, The Devil Finds Work. This article is offered as one—albeit partial—effort in this direction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-187
Number of pages17
JournalQualitative Inquiry
Volume6
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

Fingerprint

popular culture
village
identity formation
clothing
cultural studies
resources
qualitative research
symbol
uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Stranger in the Village : James Baldwin, Popular Culture, and the Ties That Bind. / Dimitriadis, Greg; McCarthy, Cameron R.

In: Qualitative Inquiry, Vol. 6, No. 2, 01.01.2000, p. 171-187.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{7a8231e65fcf44c7bb6b1d5a6058096e,
title = "Stranger in the Village: James Baldwin, Popular Culture, and the Ties That Bind",
abstract = "In this article, the authors look at the theoretical and methodological implications of the autobiographical writings of James Baldwin for doing qualitative research in the related areas of youth identity formation and the production and circulation of meanings in popular culture. They argue that Baldwin’s use of autobiography provides one very useful way to register important contradictions and tensions in the circulation of contemporary fashion styles. Specifically, the Hilfiger and Timberland lines of clothing deploy signs and symbols that are up for grabs, discursive resources that can be coded and recoded in multiple and complex ways by young people defining a sense of racial identity for themselves in the face of massive social, cultural, and material uncertainty. Yet, these resources circulate in a historical landscape that radically circumscribes their mobility. The contradictions have not been adequately addressed in contemporary approaches to popular culture, especially in the field of cultural studies. The authors call for more autobiographical work on popular culture, the kind exemplified by Baldwin’s collection on film, The Devil Finds Work. This article is offered as one—albeit partial—effort in this direction.",
author = "Greg Dimitriadis and McCarthy, {Cameron R}",
year = "2000",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1177/107780040000600201",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "6",
pages = "171--187",
journal = "Qualitative Inquiry",
issn = "1077-8004",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Inc.",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Stranger in the Village

T2 - James Baldwin, Popular Culture, and the Ties That Bind

AU - Dimitriadis, Greg

AU - McCarthy, Cameron R

PY - 2000/1/1

Y1 - 2000/1/1

N2 - In this article, the authors look at the theoretical and methodological implications of the autobiographical writings of James Baldwin for doing qualitative research in the related areas of youth identity formation and the production and circulation of meanings in popular culture. They argue that Baldwin’s use of autobiography provides one very useful way to register important contradictions and tensions in the circulation of contemporary fashion styles. Specifically, the Hilfiger and Timberland lines of clothing deploy signs and symbols that are up for grabs, discursive resources that can be coded and recoded in multiple and complex ways by young people defining a sense of racial identity for themselves in the face of massive social, cultural, and material uncertainty. Yet, these resources circulate in a historical landscape that radically circumscribes their mobility. The contradictions have not been adequately addressed in contemporary approaches to popular culture, especially in the field of cultural studies. The authors call for more autobiographical work on popular culture, the kind exemplified by Baldwin’s collection on film, The Devil Finds Work. This article is offered as one—albeit partial—effort in this direction.

AB - In this article, the authors look at the theoretical and methodological implications of the autobiographical writings of James Baldwin for doing qualitative research in the related areas of youth identity formation and the production and circulation of meanings in popular culture. They argue that Baldwin’s use of autobiography provides one very useful way to register important contradictions and tensions in the circulation of contemporary fashion styles. Specifically, the Hilfiger and Timberland lines of clothing deploy signs and symbols that are up for grabs, discursive resources that can be coded and recoded in multiple and complex ways by young people defining a sense of racial identity for themselves in the face of massive social, cultural, and material uncertainty. Yet, these resources circulate in a historical landscape that radically circumscribes their mobility. The contradictions have not been adequately addressed in contemporary approaches to popular culture, especially in the field of cultural studies. The authors call for more autobiographical work on popular culture, the kind exemplified by Baldwin’s collection on film, The Devil Finds Work. This article is offered as one—albeit partial—effort in this direction.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84993701262&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84993701262&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/107780040000600201

DO - 10.1177/107780040000600201

M3 - Article

VL - 6

SP - 171

EP - 187

JO - Qualitative Inquiry

JF - Qualitative Inquiry

SN - 1077-8004

IS - 2

ER -