This book represents a distinctive approach to cultural analysis, using multi-dimensional methods for addressing issues of public interest. The approach, which deploys Jim McGuigan's original concept of the cultural public sphere, is demonstrated in several case studies, including:

  • Celebrity death Festivals and urban regeneration
  • Race and multicultural controversy
  • Popular television (for instance, Little Britain and The Apprentice)
  • Social significance of the all-purpose mobile communication device in a privatized and individualized way of life
  • Riskiness and uncertainty at both the levels of environmental politics and working life in the creative and media industries

These various case studies are analyzed with regard to the dialectic of production and consumption in cultural circulation and situated in relation to major issues of social change. The book stresses the impact of neoliberalism throughout the world since the 1970s and the formation of a cool-capitalist culture that has colonized everyday life around much of the globe. In effect, this is a radical intervention in the research agendas and conceptual development of cultural policy studies, cultural sociology, and, more generally, in the broad field known as cultural studies. It offers challenging theoretical arguments that are substantiated with concrete evidence of cultural and social processes.

British Identity and the People's Princess

British identity and the people's princess


This chapter treats the popular response to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997 as a manifestation of the cultural public sphere, by which is meant a symbolic space for affective communication and an emotional sense of democratic participation.

The Diana phenomenon did not produce a ‘revolutionary moment’ but neither was it insignificant. Rather, it represented a vehicle for public debate on British identity, the role of the monarchy and, more diffusely, the conduct of personal relationships. New Labour and feminist appropriations of Diana are examined in detail and related to a general consideration of the diverse and contested meanings of her life and death.

We have now passed the tenth anniversary of Diana ...

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