One of our most brilliant minds offers a sweeping intellectual history that argues for the reclamation of cultures value Culture is a defining aspect of what it means to be human Defining culture and pinpointing its role in our lives is not, however, so straightforward Terry Eagleton, one of our foremost literary and cultural critics, is uniquely poised to take on the challenge In this keenly analytical and acerbically funny book, he explores how culture and our conceptualizations of it have evolved over the last two centuriesfrom rarified sphere to humble practices, and from a bulwark against industrialisms encroaches to present day capitalisms most profitable export Ranging over art and literature as well as philosophy and anthropology, and major but somewhat unfashionable thinkers like Johann Gottfried Herder and Edmund Burke as well as T S Eliot, Matthew Arnold, Raymond Williams, and Oscar Wilde, Eagleton provides a cogent overview of culture set firmly in its historical and theoretical contexts, illuminating its collusion with colonialism, nationalism, the decline of religion, and the rise of and rule over the uncultured masses Eagleton also examines culture today, lambasting the commodification and co option of a force that, properly understood, is a vital means for us to cultivate and enrich our social lives, and can even provide the impetus to transform civil society....
|Format Type||:||Kindle Edition|
|Publisher||:||Yale University Press 3 Mai 2016|
|Number of Pages||:||170 Pages|
|File Size||:||686 KB|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
A very pleasant read full off allusions and humour!!! I will definitely read further book of this author and can recommend him to everyone for whom the a book must offer an an intellectual challenge to the reader.
This is a fascinating examination of Culture by one of our most distinguished and insightful students of that subject. He begins with definitions. What is Culture per se? How is it to be distinguished from, e.g., Civilization? He examines multiple meanings of the term and then goes on to look at important commentators on the subject: Burke, Herder, Oscar Wilde, Marx, Freud, et al. Those who are surprised that TE uses Burke as something of an exemplar should not be. While TE is Marxistic and Burke is a classic conservative voice there are multiple sides to Burke’s thought. The causes to which he devoted his life (as we were once taught) were often defenses of the colonized and the downtrodden. Those familiar with his view of the French revolution should look at his indictment of Warren Hastings and his actions in India.Much of the book is an extended reflection, not so much a process of free association but one in which TE examines multiple dimensions of culture, including, e.g., the manner in which culture is seen by the Frankfurt School and the postmodernists.The kicker comes in the conclusion. One of TE’s hallmarks is his ability to see the wisdom (and nonsense) in a multiplicity of positions, to bring in Marx when we don’t expect him but then focus upon Marx’s shortsightedness (or simple recapitulations of Hegel). Bottom line: he is an intellectual, not an ideologue.The conclusion begins with what is now seen as a “conservative” notion: “The idea of culture is traditionally bound up with the concept of distinction” (p. 155). Spiritual hierarchy, he argues, goes hand in hand with social inequality, but “the aim of advanced capitalism, by contrast, is to preserve inequality while abolishing hierarchy” (p. 155). Hollywood does not exist to produce art; it exists to produce profits for its shareholders. It valorizes “diversity” in order to bring in a larger number of ticket purchasers. Thus, the university faculty who deride the notion of “distinction” and conflate the notion of evil “discrimination” with the quite necessary forms of discrimination which undergird ratiocination play right into the capitalists’ hands. In examining all forms of popular culture they are unconsciously reinforcing the methods of the Hollywood producers whose eyes are fixated on the bottom line. In their systematic lowering of expectations and dismissal of the notion of “distinction” they are the unwitting co-conspirators of the corporatist administrators, whose goal is the acquisition of tuition revenue to support administrative self-aggrandizement and the grotesque inequality represented by their salaries. In return, the faculty’s lack of academic distinction is rewarded by the reduction in the size of their tenure track faculty.TE puts it this way:“A centuries-old tradition of universities as centres of humane critique is currently being scuppered by their conversion into pseudo-capitalist enterprises under the sway of a brutally philistine managerial ideology. Once arenas of critical reflection, academic institutions are being increasingly reduced to organs of the marketplace, along with betting shops and fast food joints. They are now for the most part in the hands of technocrats for whom values are largely a matter of real estate. . . . . The dream of our universitites’ boneheaded administrators is of a bookless and paperless environment, books and paper being messy, crumply stuff incompatible with a gleaming neo-capitalist wasteland consisting of nothing but machines, bureaucrats and security guards. . . . The death of the humanities is now an event waiting on the horizon” (pp. 152-53).Strong stuff but dead on.Highly recommended.
A great book by Eagleton but it is simply a reprint of a book published back in 2000. It is advertised as a new and original study, so be forewarned if you have Eagleton's earlier "The Idea of Culture."
Great modern thinker and critic, very relevant today. His discourse on modern "culture" is biting and powerful. Great style with his customary light touch and humour.
nobody does it better
Very clever and insightful