Cultural value in twenty-first-century England

The case of Shakespeare

Academic analyses in cultural studies of the second half of the twentieth century had made a case to extend the term 'culture' to the tastes, practices and creativity of the groups marginalised by ethnicity and class. This book deals with Shakespeare's role in contemporary culture in twenty-first-century England. It looks in detail at the way that Shakespeare's plays inform modern ideas of cultural value and the work required to make Shakespeare part of modern culture. The book shows how advocacy for Shakespeare's universal and transcendent values deal with multiple forms of 'Shakespeare' in the present and the past. His plays have the potential to provide a tangible proxy for value that may stabilise the contingency and uncertainty that attends the discussion of both value and culture in the twenty-first century. The book shows how the discussions of culture involve both narratives of cultural change and ways of managing the knowledge in order to arrive at definitions of culture as valuable. It examines the new languages of value proffered by the previous Labour government in the first decade of the twenty-first century. The book further shows how both the languages and the practice of contemporary cultural policy have been drastically affected by economic pressures and the political changes occasioned by the post-2008 fiscal crisis.

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