In recent years, the place of popular culture within the school curriculum has become an increasingly controversial political issue. The growing interest in media education at all levels of the education system has re-awakened traditional anxieties about ‘cultural value’ in their most absolutist form. We are regularly asked to express our outrage at teachers who have abandoned Pride and Prejudice in favour of ‘Allo ‘Allo, or who dare to replace comprehension tests with the analysis of soap operas. Such things, it is argued, amount to a conspiracy to subvert Civilised Values. We are urged to choose between Bob Dylan and Keats, Madonna and Mozart, Neighbours and Middlemarch, as though the same set of critical standards could be brought to bear and definitive judgments agreed upon. To enjoy and to study the one, it would seem, is automatically to exclude the other.