`Culture' is one of the most frequently used terms in the French vocabulary. It sells not only books, newspapers and magazines but also consumer products and political parties. But what are the meanings of `culture populaire'? What have the French understood by it, and what is its history? Brian Rigby's lively and cogent study traces changing notions of popular culture in France, from 1936 - the year of the Popular Front - to the present day. Asking why `culture' has become such a fiercely contested term, Rigby considers the work of the major French theorists, including Barthes, Bourdieu and Baudrillard.