Deconstruction and Grand Theft Auto

Is pop culture mostly full of sound and fury, signifying nothing?  Or can the capitalist motives of authors and analysts be defended when analysing icons like SoaP and Borat?

I’ve started a new category on this blog to reflect a trend I’m seeing, drawing from influences like Stallybrass and Berger, Johnson and Gladwelldeconstruction.

The latest example I’ve stumbled into: The Meaning And Culture of Grand Theft Auto, via CNet News.  Chapter titles include:

  1. Spilling Hot Coffee? Grand Theft Auto as Contested Cultural Product
  2. Political Interface: The Banning of GTA3 in Australia
  3. Virtual Gangstas, Coming to a Suburban House Near You: Demonization, Commodification, and Policing Blackness
  4. Play-Fighting: Understanding Violence in Grand Theft Auto III
  5. The Subversive Carnival of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
  6. Grand Theft Video: Running and Gunning for the U.S. Empire
  7. From Stompin’ Mushrooms to Bustin’ Heads: Grand Theft Auto III as Paradigm Shift
  8. Everyday Play: Cruising for Leisure in San Andreas
  9. Cruising in San Andreas: Ludic Space and Urban Aesthetics in Grand Theft Auto
  10. Experiencing Place in Los Santos and Vice City
  11. Positioning and Creating the Semiotic Self in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
  12. Against Embedded Agency: Subversion and Emergence in GTA3
  13. Inviting Subversion: Metalepses and Tmesis in Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto Series
  14. Playing with Style: Negotiating Digital Game Studies

Chapter excerpts are available here.  And I thought it was just a video game.