Now, more than 20 years since its initial release, John Fiske’s classic text Power Plays Power Works remains both timely and insightful as a theoretically driven examination of the terrain where the politics of culture and the culture of politics collide.

Drawing on a diverse set of cultural sites - from alternative talk radio forums, museums, celebrity fandom, to social problems such as homelessness - Fiske traverses the topography of the American cultural landscape to highlight the ways that ordinary people creatively construct their social identities and relationships through the use of the resources available to them, while constrained by social conditions not of their own choosing. This important analysis provides a set of critical methodological and analytical tools to grapple with the complexities and struggles of contemporary social life.

A new introductory essay by former Fiske student Black Hawk Hancock entitled ‘Learning How to Fiske: Theorizing Power, Knowledge, and Bodies in the 21st Century’ elucidates Fiske’s methods for today’s students, providing them with the ultimate guide to thinking and analyzing like John Fiske; the art of ‘Learning How to Fiske’.


Learning how to fiske

Theorizing power, knowledge, and bodies in the 21st century

part 1|51 pages

Power and Cultural Theory

chapter 1|32 pages

Power Plays

chapter 2|18 pages

U.S. Cultures, European Theories

part 2|87 pages

Controlling Bodies

chapter 3|23 pages

Bodies of Knowledge

chapter 4|12 pages

Sporting Spectacles

The Body Visible

chapter 5|31 pages


A body of controversy

chapter 6|20 pages

The Body of Violence

part 3|82 pages

Representing and Knowing

chapter 7|17 pages

Act Globally, Think Locally

chapter 8|19 pages

Gunfight at The P.C. Corral

chapter 9|26 pages

Local Knowledge

chapter 10|19 pages

Things and Practices

part 4|89 pages

White Power, Black Power

chapter 11|24 pages

Blackened White

chapter 12|27 pages

Power Works

chapter 13|24 pages

Counter Power Works

chapter |12 pages


The Slave Ship