British Cultural Studies: An Introduction (Media and Popular Culture, No 7)

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9780044454250: British Cultural Studies: An Introduction (Media and Popular Culture, No 7)

If it had been written thirty years ago, a book with this title would almost certainly have been expected to deal with "high culture": the elite art forms seen to provide the best that has been written, spoken, or performed over the ages. This book will chart some of the reasons for this shift, sites of investigation, key methodologies and theoretical orientations. The work of Raymond Williams, Richard Hoggart, Stuart Hall, and in particular the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies has established the respectability of popular culture - from the mass media to sport and dance crazes - on an academic and intellectual agenda from which it has been excluded. This exclusion had exacted a great cost; what it regarded as peripheral and meretricious included the most basic and pervasive of social processes, practices, and meanings. It is from these peripheral networks of meaning and pleasure the culture is constructed. This book presents a history of the development of these ideas, specifying what seem to be the most principles central of British cultural studies in Chapter 2. Part 2 looks in more depth at the central categories within the field: texts, audiences, the social production of everyday life, and the problem of ideology. The first chapter, necessarily, has some heavy ground clearing to do, and those who are already familiar with semiotics and structuralism may wish only to "skim" through it on their way to Chapter Two. Throughout, the author presents descriptive accounts of the significant contributions to each topic; in many cases, this work is quite daunting to read in its original form and the account may guide both those who intend to seek out the original book or article, and those who don't. As often as possible, the author has chosen to allow the original works to speak for themselves, amd has quoted liberally.

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Review:

"'With his customary intelligence, Graeme Turner has transformed a diverse and complex field into a coherent body of knowledge that can be digested by students. This is the clearest, most comprehensive guide to the subject I know.'- Toby Miller."
"Original in both senses of the word, British Cultural Studies was the first and remains the best book of its kind. The latest edition responds to changes in both academic and activist cultural studies. Turner is alert to the needs of students, and judiciously appraises the work of many leading writers. He also raises new questions -- about citizenship and consumerism, identity and politics, quality and method -- that point the way forward for the field as a whole. John Hartley, Editor of the International Journal of Cultural Studies."
"The first, and still the best, introduction to British cultural studies. It is essential reading for all undergraduates in the field." - Professor John Storey, Director of the Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies, University of Sunderland.."

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