This timely volume provides a framework for understanding the cultural turn in terms of the classical legacy, contemporary cultural theory, and cultural analysis. It reveals the significance of Marxist humanism, Georg Simmel, the Frankfurt School, Stuart Hall, and the Birmingham School, Giddens, Bauman, Foucault, Bourdieu and Baudrillard. Readers receive a dazzling, critical survey of some of the primary figures in the field. However, the book is much more than a rough guide tour through the ‘great figures’ in the field. Through an analysis of specific problems, such as transculturalism, transnationalism, feminism, popular music, and cultural citizenship, it demonstrates the relevance of cultural sociology in elucidating some of the key questions of our time.
Stuart Hall and the Birmingham School
British Cultural Studies commenced in its contemporary form in the late 1950s. Its roots were in secondary Schools, Adult Education and Extra Mural departments of Universities. The first wave of significant figures to write about working class culture seriously in the postwar period were Raymond Williams, Edward Thompson and Richard Hoggart.1 They wrote against the grain of the core curriculum enshrined in the established Universities with its pronounced emphasis on the classical canon and ‘Great Traditions’ of thought. To some extent, their project consisted in validating working class culture as a subject for study in the Academy. Williams in Culture & Society (1958) and The Long Revolution (1961) and Thompson (1963) in The Making ...