This introduction presents an overview of key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book provides an account of the making of English popular culture in the nineteenth century. It encourages within cultural studies a renewed historical sense when engaging critically with popular culture. In addition to the investigation of the material and economic conditions of popular narrative genres, the chapter critically examines the ideological dimensions of these texts, showing how they provided a platform for the negotiation of some central questions of life in nineteenth-century England. The book explains how the promotion of these notions of power through dissemination to a wide and diverse audience was made possible by urbanisation and the social spaces engendered by the new urban environment. It concludes with a case study which examines how these commercially produced photograph were used' in a Parliamentary Select Committee investigation of 1866 as evidence of the immorality' of female mine work.