Popular Culture Meets Psychology

Understanding ourselves through pop culture.

Farewell to a Popular Culture Icon You Probably Never Even Heard Of

Ray Browne, founder of the Popular Culture Association passes.

Every field of professional study has its giants; those who by virtue of their vision, creativity, tirelessness and dedication create meaning where none may have previously existed. The fields of psychology and psychotherapy certianly have their share of luminaries, each of whom has strengthened our foundation of human understanding-Freud, Jung, Skinner, Rogers, Bandura, Yalom, Seligman, White, Minuchin-the list is long, and growing!

When you think of popular culture, who comes to mind-a particular performer, actor, sports star, director? We, the consumers of all things popular tend to focus on the products rather than the producers. But in the case of Ray Browne, I am referring to a man who (with the help of Russel Nye)  built and legitimized an entire scholarly discipline-Popular Culture  Studies; created a professional association-The Popular Culture Association and established a flagship scholarly journal-The journal of Popular Culture.

Traditionally, testimonials are offered by those who best knew the decesased. I only met Dr. Browne a few times. So, I offer you the opportunity to know him.  Please take a moment to visit the Popular Culture Library on the campus of Bowling Green State University, listen in on an interview Dr. Browne gave to Americana, the Journal of American Popular Culture, take a tour of the Popular Culture Association, and read a stirring glimpse into the life and accomplishments of Ray Browne written by the Washington Post.

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I was honored when Psychology Today offered me the opportunity to blog about popular culture and psychology and I believe in the importance and relevance of all things popular as well as the valuable synergy between the two disciplines.  I have contributed to the Journal of Popular Culture and was recently appointed area chair of the newest division of the Popular Culture Association-Psychology, Mental Health and Mental Illness in Popular Culture, and look forward to the 2010 Annual Convention of the Popular Culture/american Culture-and in these small ways to continuing the work of Ray Browne.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lawrence Rubin, psychologist and counseling professor, is co-author with psychiatrist Mike Brody of Messages: Self Help Through Popular Culture.

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