Lived actualities cultural experience and social worlds: representing David Bowie

Woodward, Kath (2017). Lived actualities cultural experience and social worlds: representing David Bowie. Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, 31(4) pp. 499–508.



David Bowie provides an excellent illustration of the focus of this article, representation. The discussion demonstrates the continuing relevance of representation as a relational concept within the circuit of culture, which can be used to make sense of Bowie as a cultural phenomenon. Bowie combines the different elements of the circuit whilst being a cultural icon heavily dependent upon the impact of image, visibility and visualization, which are central to representation. The circuit is relational and dynamic and visualization is transforming and transformative. Bowie too has reinvented himself and been re-represented, through his music and his changing images. The analysis draws upon my own experience of working in the team that developed the circuit of culture in the late 1990s to show how Bowie as a cultural figure can be understood at the intersection of the different moments in the circuit of culture, with an emphasis upon representation and visualization. A critical analysis of Bowie offers interesting insights into the relationship between the virtual and the actual as well as between production, consumption, identity and regulation and engages with key questions about the relationship between representation and lived actualities.

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