Culture

Culture

Culture

Culture

Synopsis

Culture is a concept that has remained on the top of the agenda within the social sciences for two decades. It incites controversy and debate and always appears fresh. This book, updated throughout and with new sections on visual culture, urban culture and subcultures, argues that to understand the concept we need to locate it within traditions of thought and appreciate its political and ideological bases. The book looks at the concept of culture in the context of idealism and materialism, examining its relation to the notion of social structure and assessing its once assumed monopoly within literary study. Culture remains stimulating throughout. A standard reference text for students on sociology and cultural studies courses, this second concise and student-friendly edition offers an overview over the sociology of culture in an accessible format.

Excerpt

When this book was first published in 1993 I was, oddly enough, quite pleased with it. It seemed well organized, it was internally coherent and it had a bouncy and inviting style. Clearly a decade of readers has agreed with my original enthusiasm for the text; it has sold very well with Routledge having produced five reprints, including a digital version. Students tell me the work is accessible and instructive and colleagues tell me, among other things, that it is comprehensive and a serious read. The book has been adopted on courses throughout the country and around the world and it has been translated into a number of languages, including Chinese. Perhaps it would have been a good idea to leave it there; it is my natural inclination to move forward rather than back. However, when it was suggested to me that a second edition might be welcome I reread the book and still found it useful, it was not exhausted and its message did not refer to the fashionable ephemera of the 1980s boom in cultural studies but rather to over a century of social, political and philosophical thinking about the mysterious idea of 'culture'. I believe the work to be a serious history of ideas and an exercise in the sociology of culture. So the time has come to revisit the text, to raise it phoenix-like from the past. To this end I have included three completely new chapters on 'visual culture', 'subculture' and 'urban culture' and I have removed the lengthy case study on cultural deprivation that concluded the first edition. I wanted to remove a further chapter but it was retained 'by popular demand' after the publishers had sought advice through peer review. Beyond this I have checked and amended the complete manuscript, converted some of my original sentences into rather more and injected clarity whenever I sensed

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