Definition of the term
‘Politicalculture’ is a rather nebulous concept, although Iain McLean’s Dictionary of Politics manages a reasonably crisp definition: ‘The attitudes, beliefs, and values which underpin the operation of a particular political system.’ These will include, he writes, ‘knowledge and skills’; ‘positive and negative emotional feelings’ towards the system of government; and ‘evaluative judgments’ about it (McLean, 1996, p. 379). Factors contributing towards these feelings, emotions, values and attitudes include historical experience, the
In the scholarship of Anglo-American relations, and it is very extensive, there is surprisingly little written about the politicalculture that the two countries might share. Perhaps this is because at first sight differences rather than commonalities appear to predominate, especially in the institutional sphere. Often claims are made that the United States is more libertarian, laissez-faire economically, socially conservative on the death penalty, abortion, the right to bear arms, health provision, and gay rights, and traditionally more right
George Howell, the Webbs and the
politicalculture of early labour history
M alcolm Chase
George Howell (1833–1910) was the epitome of a nineteenth-century auto
didact, having received an indifferent education, largely part-time, that
ended when he was twelve. Successively a ploughboy, apprentice shoemaker and from the age of twenty-two a bricklayer, he doggedly built
a career in labour movement politics, first achieving public prominence
as Secretary of the London Trades’ Council in 1861–62. He established a
reputation as an exceptionally energetic
Simon Walker studied modern history at Magdelen College, Oxford, graduating with first-class honours in 1979. When Walker began researching the retinue of John of Gaunt in 1980, 'bastard feudalism' had been the subject of debate for thirty-five years. A study of John of Gaunt's retinue could be expected to throw important, if not decisive, light on these problems. For not only was his the largest retinue in late medieval England, but for thirty years the duke himself had a dominant role in the domestic, military and diplomatic policy of England. In 1994, Michael Jones and Walker published for the Camden Society an edition of all the surviving private life indentures for peace and war apart from those of John of Gaunt and William, Lord Hastings. Walker's introduction to the volume reviewed the evolution of life indentures, the range of services they embraced, the regulation of obligations for service and reward, and the changing role of such indentures over the period 1278-1476. From these broad investigations into the balance of power between magnates and gentry, Walker returned to examine how, in individual cases, two men from different backgrounds built their careers on noble and royal patronage. Walker then turned to examine the retrospective view of the 1399 revolution in literate culture. He used case studies to build up a picture of collective mentalities among different social grades and vocational worlds, hoping ultimately to construct a new approach to the tensions and strength of the late medieval polity.
Averageness, Populism and Seriality in Robert Benchley‘s How to Short
Over the course of the 1930s, the comic persona of Algonquin humorist Robert Benchley
changed from that of a sophisticated humorist to an average man. This article
situates Benchley‘s How to short subjects for MGM (1935–44) within a broader public
preoccupation with averageness that characterised the populist political rhetoric of
New Deal-era America. In particular, it explores the function of seriality as a
discursive trope conjoining the format of Benchley‘s MGM shorts to the broader
construction of average identities in the eras political culture.
This book takes a fresh look at British radicalism in the first half of the nineteenth century from the perspective of the new and burgeoning field of the history of emotions. It represents a major challenge to the ways in which historians have studied political culture in modern Britain by showing how we must break away from teleological assumptions about the rise of the rational public sphere. Politics did not just revolve around ideas, power, organisation and practice but also feeling. This project raises questions fundamental to politics in every age: should the public sphere be a domain free from feeling, or at least one where restraint is exercised? What are the consequences for democratic polities where either affective restraint, or its opposite, excess, operates? Are there occasions when public displays of feeling are acceptable (or less acceptable), and, if so, when and why?
Political systems are shaped by the societies in which they function. For this reason, it is helpful to know something about the historical, geographical, social and economic settings against which they operate. It is also helpful to understand something of the values and ideas which have mattered and continue to matter to those who inhabit any individual country. This book examines the background factors that help to shape the way in which political life and processes operate in Britain and America. In particular, it examines the similarities and differences in the political culture of the countries. Constitutions describe the fundamental rules according to which states are governed, be they embodied in the law, customs or conventions. Liberties and rights are of especial concern in liberal democracies, which claim to provide a broad range of them. The book examines the protection of liberties in both countries, in particular the right of freedom of expression. In advanced Western democracies, the media perform a major role. The book deals with the impact on political life of the two major mass media: the press and television. Elections are the main mechanism for expressing the public's collective desires about who should be in government and what the government should do. The book examines a number of issues about the functioning of elections in two democracies, looking at the electoral system, and the way in which voters behave and the influence upon their voting.
Few screen icons have provoked as much commentary, speculation and adulation as the 'she' of this plaudit, Catherine Deneuve. This book begins with a brief overview of Deneuve's career, followed by a critical survey of the field of theoretical star studies, highlighting its potential and limitations for European, and particularly French, film scholarship. It argues the need for the single-star case study as a model for understanding the multiple signifying elements of transnational stardom. Her first role, at the age of 13, was a brief appearance as a schoolgirl in André Hunebelle's Collégiennes/The Twilight Girls. It was in 1965 that Roman Polanski would cast Catherine Deneuve in Repulsion, described by one critic as a 'one-woman show' in a role that would effectively create a persona which would resonate throughout her future film career. The darker shades of the Deneuve persona are in even greater evidence in Tristana. Demy's Donkey Skin is arguably an equal source of the tale's iconic status in France today, and largely because of Deneuve. The book also investigates films of the 1970s; their role in shaping her star persona and the ways in which they position Deneuve in relation to French political culture. The book considers exactly why directors gravitate towards Deneuve when trying to evoke or represent forms of female homosexual activity on film, and to consider exactly what such directors actually make Deneuve do and mean once they have her performing these particular forms of lesbian relation.
Early modern England was marked by profound changes in economy, society, politics and religion. It is widely believed that the poverty and discontent which these changes often caused resulted in major rebellion and frequent 'riots'. This book argues for the inherently political nature of popular protest through a series of studies of acts of collective protest, up to and including the English Revolution. Authority was always the first historian of popular protest. Explaining the complex relationship between the poor and their governors, the book overviews popular attitudes to the law and the proper exercise of authority in early modern England. A detailed reconstruction of events centring on grain riots in the Essex port of Maldon in the crisis of 1629 is then presented. Urbanisation, regional specialisation and market integration were the larger changes against which disorder was directed between 1585 and 1649. The book discusses the 'four Ps', population growth, price rise, poverty and protest, explaining their connection with population explosion to poverty and protest. The major European revolts of the so-called 'Oxfordshire rising' are then analysed. Popular politics might deploy 'weapons of the weak' in a form of everyday politics that was less dramatic but more continuous than 'riot'. On the very eve of the Civil War, large crowds, with underemployed clothworkers, attacked and plundered the houses of local Catholics and proto-royalists among the nobility and gentry. In a culture that proscribed protest and prescribed obedience, public transcripts could be used to legitimise a popular political agency.
Throughout the long nineteenth-century the sounds of liberty resonated across the Anglophone world. Focusing on radicals and reformers committed to the struggle for a better future, this book explores the role of music in the transmission of political culture over time and distance. The book examines iconic songs; the sound of music as radicals and reformers were marching, electioneering, celebrating, commemorating as well as striking, rioting and rebelling. Following the footsteps of relentlessly travelling activists, it brings to light the importance of music-making in the lived experience of politics. The book argues that music and music-making are highly effective lens for investigating the inter-colonial and transnational history of radicalism and reform between 1790 and 1914. It offers glimpses of indigenous agency, appropriation, adaptation and resistance by those who used the musical culture of the white colonisers. Hymn-singing was an intrinsic part of life in Victorian Britain and her colonies and those hymns are often associated with conservatism, if not reaction. The book highlights how music encouraged, unified, divided, consoled, reminded, inspired and, at times, oppressed, providing an opportunity to hear history as it happened. The examples presented show that music was dialogic – mediating the relationship between leader and led; revealing the ways that song moved in and out of daily exchange, the way it encouraged, unified, attacked, divided, consoled, and constructed. The study provides a wealth of evidence to suggest that the edifice of 'Australian exceptionalism', as it applies to radicals and reformers, is crumbling.