Culture: artefacts and disciplinary formation
The Manchester Museum was founded as an institution devoted to natural history,
but did not remain so for long. Even by the time it was fully opened in 1890, some
man-made things were on display beside the natural specimens. The proliferation
of these kinds of objects during its early decades was not planned by Museum staff,
but rather expanded thanks to influential donors. Here I trace the differentiation
of an intellectually and architecturally distinct portion of the collection devoted
Car workers’ union activism has long held a strong grip on popular memories of
the post-war period. Working in the quintessential industry of modernity, their
labour militancy has been linked to narratives of economic decline and of rising
working-class living standards. Yet despite their centrality to
understanding of this period, car workers’ capacity for collective action has
often been taken for granted, with mobilisation attributed to uncomplicated
economic motivations or the last gasps of a declining ‘traditional class
consciousness’ and the effects of the post-war settlement. This book looks
at the changing forms of agency and subjectivity expressed by labour militancy,
considering workplace activism in the motor industry as a specific historical
creation of post-war Britain rather than a reflection of ‘tradition’. It traces
the origins of shop-floor organisations, which first emerged in the 1950s,
studying the processes by which workers built their union cultures and exploring
the capacity of car workers to generate new solidarities and collective values
in this period. Focus then turns to the 1960s and 1970s and the social
practices and cultural norms that resulted from this cultural assembling,
looking to understand how worker activism shaped the agency of car workers in
post-war Britain, influencing the forms that strike action took. Through a
mixture of oral history interviews, letters, meeting minutes and periodicals,
this book analyses the meanings workers attributed to industrial conflict,
asking whether factory activism generated attitudes distinct from the dominant
values of wider British society.
The issue of ethnicity in France, and how ethnicities are represented there visually, remains one of the most important and polemical aspects of French post-colonial politics and society. This is the first book to analyse how a range of different ethnicities have been represented across contemporary French visual culture. Via a wide series of case studies – from the worldwide hit film Amélie to France’s popular TV series Plus belle la vie – it probes how ethnicities have been represented across different media, including film, photography, television and the visual arts. Four chapters examine distinct areas of particular importance: national identity, people of Algerian heritage, Jewishness and France’s second city Marseille.
This book looks at a much-misunderstood aspect of the Cuban Revolution: the place of literature and the creation of a literary culture. Based on over 100 interviews with a wide range of actors involved in the structures and processes that produce, regulate, promote and consume literature on the island, it goes beyond the conventional approach (the study of individual authors and texts) and the canon of texts known outside Cuba. The book thus presents a historical analysis of the evolution of literary culture from 1959 to the present, as well as a series of more detailed case studies (on writing workshops, the Havana Book Festival and the publishing infrastructure) that reveal how this culture is created in contemporary Cuba. It contributes a new and complex vision of revolutionary Cuban culture.
What were the distinctive cultures of decolonisation that emerged in the years between 1945 and 1970, and what can they uncover about the complexities of the ‘end of empire’ as a process? Cultures of Decolonisation brings together visual, literary and material cultures within one volume in order to explore this question. The volume reveals the diverse ways in which cultures were active in wider political, economic and social change, working as crucial gauges, microcosms, and agents of decolonisation. Individual chapters focus on architecture, theatre, museums, heritage sites, fine art, and interior design alongside institutions such as artists’ groups, language agencies and the Royal Mint in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Europe. Drawing on a range of disciplinary perspectives, these contributions offer revealing case studies for those researching decolonisation at all levels across the humanities and social sciences. The collection demonstrates the transnational character of cultures of decolonisation (and of decolonisation itself), and illustrates the value of comparison – between different sorts of cultural forms and different places – in understanding the nature of this dramatic and wide-reaching geopolitical change. Cultures of Decolonisation illustrates the value of engaging with the complexities of decolonisation as enacted and experienced by a broad range of actors beyond ‘flag independence’ and the realm of high politics. In the process it makes an important contribution to the theoretical, methodological and empirical diversification of the historiography of the end of empire.
In the later Middle Ages visual
culture – and access to it – was an expensive business. The
end of the period witnessed the rise of a flourishing culture of
reproduction, with widely affordable images in woodcuts and printed
books. 1 But the
most eye-catching developments in the visual arts remained the preserve
of those with significant means – royalty and the
Never has a reconsideration of the place of drugs in our culture been more urgent than it is today. Drugs are seen as both panaceas and panapathogens, and the apparent irreconcilability of these alternatives lies at the heart of the cultural crises they are perceived to engender. Yet the meanings attached to drugs are always a function of the places they come to occupy in culture. This book investigates the resources for a re-evaluation of the drugs and culture relation in several key areas of twentieth-century cultural and philosophical theory. Addressing themes such as the nature of consciousness, language and the body, alienation, selfhood, the image and virtuality, the nature/culture dyad and everyday life – as these are expressed in the work of such key figures as Freud, Benjamin, Sartre, Derrida, Foucault and Deleuze – it argues that the ideas and concepts by which modernity has attained its measure of self-understanding are themselves, in various ways, the products of encounters with drugs and their effects. In each case, the reader is directed to the points at which drugs figure in the formulations of ‘high theory’, and it is revealed how such thinking is never itself a drug-free zone. Consequently, there is no ground on which to distinguish ‘culture’ from ‘drug culture’ in the first place.
This book brings together studies of cultural institutions in Manchester from 1850 to the present day, giving an unprecedented account of the city’s cultural evolution. These bring to light the remarkable range of Manchester’s contribution to modern cultural life, including the role of art education, popular theatre, religion, pleasure gardens, clubs and societies. The chapters show the resilience and creativity of Manchester’s cultural institutions since 1850, challenging any simple narrative of urban decline following the erosion of Lancashire’s industrial base, at the same time illustrating the range of activities across the social classes. The essays are organized chronologically. They consider the role of calico printers in the rise of art education in Britain; the origins and early years of the Belle Vue Zoological Gardens; the formation of the Manchester Dante Society in 1906; the importance of theatre architecture in the social life of the city; the place of religion in early twentieth-century Manchester, in the case of its Methodist Mission; the cosmopolitan nature of the Manchester International Club, founded in 1937; cultural participation in contemporary Manchester; and questions of culture and class in the case of a contemporary theatre group.
History through material culture provides a practical introduction for researchers who wish to use objects and material culture as primary sources for the study of the past. The book focuses primarily on the period 1500 to the present day, but the principles put forward are equally applicable to studies of earlier historical eras. Histories of the last five centuries have been driven to a remarkable extent by textual records and it is with this in mind that History through material culture offers researchers a step-by-step guide to approaching the material evidence that survives from this period. Anticipating that many researchers will feel under-skilled or lacking in confidence in tackling artefacts of the past, the book traces the process of research from the framing of research questions through to the writing up of findings – giving particular attention to the ways in which objects can be located, accessed and understood. This practical guidance is augmented by the use of examples of seminal and contemporary scholarship in this interdisciplinary field, so that readers can see how particular approaches to sources have been used to develop historical narratives and arguments. It is written in accessible and jargon-free language with clear explanations of more complex discourses. In this way, the book demystifies both the process of researching objects and the way research practice relates to published scholarship.
This book deals with the inherent violence of race relations in two important countries that remain iconic expressions of white supremacy in the twentieth century. It does not just reconstruct the era of violence, but contrasts the lynch culture of the American South to the bureaucratic culture of violence in South Africa. By contrasting mobs of rope-wielding white Southerners to the gun-toting policemen and administrators who formally defended white supremacy in South Africa, the book employs racial killing as an optic for examining the distinctive logic of the racial state in the two contexts. Combining the historian's eye for detail with the sociologist's search for overarching claims, it explores the systemic connections amongst three substantive areas to explain why contrasting traditions of racial violence took such firm root in the American South and South Africa.