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Author: Thomas Osborne

This book is concerned with the scope of cultural theory in its modern, it might even be said in its modernist, form. The three thinkers under most consideration in the book are Theodor Adorno, Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu, who might hardly be seen as representatives of cultural theory per se if that enterprise is taken to be what it should often taken to be. The book starts with Adorno (1903-1969) not just because his work is an apt way to introduce further some very basic themes of the book: in particular those of critical autonomy and educationality. Adorno's reflections on art and culture are contributions to the ethical understanding of autonomy, emphasising the importance of the cultivation of critical reflection. The argument here is that he is, rather, an ethico-critical theorist of democracy and a philosopher of hope. The book then situates the work of Michel Foucault (1926-1984), in other ways so different from Adorno, in terms of a broadly, if minimally, parallel agenda in modern cultural theory. It outlines some of the importance of Foucault's notion of an 'aesthetics of existence' in relation to his work as a whole. It further invokes related themes in the work of Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002). Finally, it moves things in a different direction, towards postmodernism, invoking the increasing role of the cultural and aesthetic dimension in contemporary experience that is often taken as a central aspect of the postmodern turn.

Thomas Osborne

Modernism and postmodernism – Aestheticisation and the death of art – Resistance and aesthetic redundancy – After autonomy – Postmodern morality – After educationality – Culture is everywhere Much has been made in this book of the idea of modern cultural theory being ultimately ethical in its aims and outlook. Or at least, our principles of reading in relation to Adorno, Bourdieu and Foucault have been, in effect, ethico-critical ones; emphasising that these thinkers are best read not simply in ‘positive’ or epistemic terms but as contributing to

in The structure of modern cultural theory
A socio-cultural critique of the Celtic Tiger and its aftermath

This book examines the phenomenon of the rise and fall of the Irish Celtic Tiger from a cultural perspective. It looks at Ireland's regression from prosperity to austerity in terms of a society as opposed to just an economy. Using literary and cultural theory, it looks at how this period was influenced by, and in its turn influenced, areas such as religion, popular culture, politics, literature, photography, gastronomy, music, theatre, poetry and film. It seeks to provide some answers as to what exactly happened to Irish society in the past few decades of boom and bust. The socio-cultural rather than the purely economic lens it uses to critique the Celtic Tiger is useful because society and culture are inevitably influenced by what happens in the economic sphere. That said, all of the measures taken in the wake of the financial crash sought to find solutions to aid the ailing economy, and the social and cultural ramifications were shamefully neglected. The aim of this book therefore is to bring the ‘Real’ of the socio-cultural consequences of the Celtic Tiger out of the darkness and to initiate a debate that is, in some respects, equally important as the numerous economic analyses of recent times. The essays analyse how culture and society are mutually-informing discourses and how this synthesis may help us to more fully understand what happened in this period, and more importantly, why it happened.

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Thomas Osborne

Ethics and educationality again – Politics – The status of modern cultural theory – Modernism and anti-romanticism – Theory and empiricism This book has claimed that there is – or was – such a thing as modern cultural theory and argued that there is – or was – something ultimately ethical about it. It would no doubt be an understatement to observe that a great many issues and problems remain. Of the many, perhaps four stand out in particular. There is still, naggingly, the question of the exact status of this entity, modern cultural theory

in The structure of modern cultural theory
Thomas Osborne

Culturalisms – Truth – Enlightenment and autonomy – Reason – Norms of modernism – Culture, creativity and reflexivity – Institutionalisation versus reflexivity – Simmel: an excursus – The antinomy of culture This chapter seeks to get clear of – if hardly to refute – various understandings of culture so as to make way for the conception of the scope of modern cultural theory which is to animate our treatment here. The first section – Culturalisms – is, then, largely about what modern cultural theory is not. It attempts only to lay the basic

in The structure of modern cultural theory
Leverage and deconstruction
Author: Simon Wortham

This book explores key critical debates in the humanities in recent times in the context of the legitimation crisis widely felt to be facing academic institutions, using Derrida's idea of leverage in the university. In particular, it concerns an account for the malaise in the university by linking critical developments, discourses and debates in the modern humanities to a problem of the institution itself. The book finds within these discourses and debates the very dimensions of the institution's predicament: economic, political, ideological, but also, inseparably, intellectual. It looks at some of the recurring themes arising in the early key texts of new historicism and cultural materialism. The book also argues that these approaches in a number of ways orient their critical strategies according to certain kinds of logics and structures of reflection. It instances disorientation and leverage in the university by exploring the problematic doubleness of economics as indeterminately both inside and outside contemporary cultural theory. The book also argues that the interdisciplinary approach of cultural analysis has a certain amount of difficulty positioning economics as either simply an outside or an inside. The orientation and leverage within the university apparently offered by the development of cultural studies and by certain forms of interdisciplinarity comes at the cost of an irresolvable disorientation between the object and the activity of criticism.

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Thomas Osborne

Ethics and educationality – Disciplinarity – Principles of reading – Theory and detachment – Problematics – Reconstructing modern cultural theory – Adorno, Foucault, Bourdieu This book is concerned with the scope of cultural theory in its modern – it might even be said in its modernist – form. This introductory chapter considers what this concern might mean, and why it might be of interest. Ethics and educationality The three thinkers under most consideration in the pages that follow – Theodor Adorno, Michel Foucault and Pierre

in The structure of modern cultural theory
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Drugs in theory
Dave Boothroyd

experimental readings of a number of texts by writers whose own diverse inquiries into the condition of modernity have found prominence in the annals of twentieth-century philosophy and cultural theory. This resulting cocktail of chapters I pass on to the reader to take as they wish. Together they offer a series of oblique and partial entries principally to the work of Freud, Benjamin, Sartre, Derrida, Foucault and Deleuze, in each case from the perspective of their encounters with drugs or on the basis of where the theme of ‘drugs’ touches upon their writings. This book

in Culture on drugs
Abstract only
Peter Jones

bibliography can also be found in Goudie A. and D. Stasavage, ‘Corruption: the issues’, Working Paper No. 122, OECD Development Centre (1997), pp. 1–53. 23 Chibnall, S. and P. Saunders, ‘Worlds apart: notes on the social reality of corruption’, British Journal of Sociology, 28 (1977), pp. 138–54; Flyvbjerg, ‘Habermas and Foucault’, pp. 210–33. 24 Chibnall and Saunders, ‘Worlds apart’, pp. 138–52. 25 For introductions see Gunn, S., History and Cultural Theory (Harlow: Longman, 2006); and Burke, P., What Is Cultural History (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2008). 26 Grayling, A

in From virtue to venality
Economy, exchange and cultural theory
Simon Wortham

In this chapter I want to instance disorientation and leverage in the university by exploring the problematic doubleness of economics as indeterminately both inside and outside contemporary cultural theory. Here, I shall argue that the interdisciplinary approach of cultural analysis has a certain amount of difficulty positioning economics as either simply

in Rethinking the university