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Mark Poster

Culture has become a problem for everyone. What was once a safe ground of inquiry has shifted as if by some earthquake whose effects long went unmeasured on academic Richter scales. Culture is now an unstable terrain marked by the scars of two decades of discursive rumbles. Where you stand on the culture question immediately places you, a bit too precisely for the comfort of many, on the map of scholarly and even political dispute. The humanities, the arts and the social sciences are now fractured into contentious subgroupings that run across disciplinary boundaries, all by dint of that little word ‘culture’. Everyone wants to claim the term as their own, yet when they do so ‘culture’ receives new, unexpected meanings. Historians now practise ...

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