Chapters 6-8 of Outliers explores the link between cultural legacies and success at length, making the argument that people are influenced by their cultural heritage and the habits and beliefs that are passed down through stories and examples from their past.
Using this as a base, discuss how today’s pop cultural transmissions are unprecedented in scope, leaving a lot of the work of passing down beliefs, values, and stories to entertainment media. With that in mind, we can turn popular music to explore how contemporary music sends messages about success.
This assignment asks students to choose a song, music video, or collection of related songs from contemporary pop culture and analyze them for messages about success, failure, and work. Ultimately, their papers lead to an argument about how today’s pop culture sends messages about what it means to be successful and evaluates the quality of those messages.
Assignment Sheet (List of Possible Songs Included)
Photo: CC from Tai O’Leary