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Prisoners of the past

This book examines the impact that nostalgia has had on the Labour Party’s political development since 1951. In contrast to existing studies that have emphasised the role played by modernity, it argues that nostalgia has defined Labour’s identity and determined the party’s trajectory over time. It outlines how Labour, at both an elite and a grassroots level, has been and remains heavily influenced by a nostalgic commitment to an era of heroic male industrial working-class struggle. This commitment has hindered policy discussion, determined the form that the modernisation process has taken and shaped internal conflict and cohesion. More broadly, Labour’s emotional attachment to the past has made it difficult for the party to adjust to the socioeconomic changes that have taken place in Britain. In short, nostalgia has frequently left the party out of touch with the modern world. In this way, this book offers an assessment of Labour’s failures to adapt to the changing nature and demands of post-war Britain.

Part II Living with postmodernity It is in the 1987 Legislators and Interpreters that Bauman presents the first fruits of his growing engagement with the debates about postmodernity that had convulsed intellectual life in Continental Europe and, increasingly, North America. Modernity and the Holocaust, which followed Legislators, although written from a postmodern perspective, makes no mention of these debates. However, this is hardly surprising because Bauman’s focus in this book is on a historically specific period and set of events in Western modernity. But

in Bauman and contemporary sociology
Open Access (free)
An epilogue

imaginary but palpable distended and aggrandizing West/Europe as modernity – for all those awaiting its second coming in prior places, anachronistic spaces, lagging in time. In artistic, intellectual, and aesthetic arenas, modernism(s) in South Asia have variously, often critically, engaged with these projections and presuppositions: but they have also been unable to easily escape

in Subjects of modernity
From Burke’s Philosophical Enquiry to British Romantic art

The challenge of the sublime argues that the unprecedented visual inventiveness of the Romantic period in Britain could be seen as a response to theories of the sublime, more specifically to Edmund Burke’s Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757). While it is widely accepted that the Enquiry contributed to shaping the thematics of terror that became fashionable in British art from the 1770s, this book contends that its influence was of even greater consequence, paradoxically because of Burke’s conviction that the visual arts were incapable of conveying the sublime. His argument that the sublime was beyond the reach of painting, because of the mimetic nature of visual representation, directly or indirectly incited visual artists to explore not just new themes, but also new compositional strategies and even new or undeveloped pictorial and graphic media, such as the panorama, book illustrations and capricci. More significantly, it began to call into question mimetic representational models, causing artists to reflect about the presentation of the unpresentable and the inadequacy of their endeavours, and thus drawing attention to the process of artistic production itself, rather than the finished artwork. By revisiting the links between eighteenth-century aesthetic theory and visual practices, The challenge of the sublime establishes new interdisciplinary connections which address researchers in the fields of art history, cultural studies and aesthetics.

Extending the critique of Bauman’s first exposition of postmodernity and postmodernism

with modernity; as Bell had recognised, many modernist movements were critical of bourgeois society, and this became particularly clear after the carnage of the First World War. According to Harvey, there were differences between the temper of modernism in Europe and America (Harvey 1991: 27), with European modernism being more anti-bourgeois, though art historians have pointed out that many of the American modernists who became prominent in the 1950s had already been involved with an art critical of the Depression-era America of the 1930s (Harris 1993: 3). As

in Bauman and contemporary sociology
Open Access (free)

passage of the modern movement to that of Attila, sweeping across Europe.23 It had left many of its key figures grasping at fragments. Writing in 1918, Ford tried to reassemble the ‘fragments’ that were coming into his mind, ‘as in a cubist picture’, in narrative.24 His most famous narrator struggles to give an 4 Fragmenting modernism ‘all-round impression’ as he tortuously and retrospectively constructs multiple examples of the ‘minutest fragment’ of the truth.25 Woolf, too, in Orlando, tries to work with the ‘thousand odd, disconnected fragments’ thrown up by

in Fragmenting modernism
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‘Good design’ and ‘bad design’

semi, much to the chagrin of designers, architects and design reformers, who despaired of its ‘bad design’. The ideas of the Modern Movement in architecture and design were promulgated by design reform organisations such as the Design and Industries Association (DIA) and an influx of European émigré architects and designers in Britain. However, Lancaster’s cartoons suggested that the influence and appeal of Modernism was limited due to what he and other critics perceived as the conservatism of the builders who catered to suburbia and those who lived there. Yet

in Ideal homes, 1918–39
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Ralph Hotere and ‘New Commonwealth Internationalism’

, an institutional discourse as well as an aesthetic imperative (the politicisation of late modernism). This institutionalisation was first manifested in the independent gallery sector, through establishments like the New Vision Group, formed by South African artist Denis Bowen and dedicated to promoting abstract artists from Commonwealth countries alongside European tachism

in Cultures of decolonisation
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with realism, four with intuitionist modernism. European Film Theory and Cinema was, therefore, a book about intuitionist modernist realism, rather than a conventional ‘introduction’ to film theory. In addition to this intuitionist modernist and realist orientation, European Film Theory and Cinema also attempted a twofold stratagem of recuperation and elision. The effort at recuperation was

in Realist film theory and cinema
Marxism and post-modernity

of theorists who have engaged in the debate over the 202 Marxist theory of history nature of post-modernism. According to Jameson, the power of the argument that we inhabit a new post-modern era ‘depends on the hypothesis of some radical break or coupure, generally traced back to the end of the 1950s or the early 1960s’.9 While he predicates his own analysis of the transition from modernism to post-modernism, and previously the transition from realism to modernism, on Ernest Mandel’s periodisation of capitalism, through its market, monopoly and multinational

in Reflections on the Marxist theory of history