Culture, Raymond Williams once wrote, is one of the most difficult words in language. Since then the concept has become part of our everyday vocabulary; it is used in a variety of different contexts: to describe the behaviour of corporations or criminals; to provide personal and national identity; it even gives its name to a Department of State. In this engaging new textbook, Fred Inglis charts the history of the concept from its origins in the German Enlightenment to contemporary attempts to come to terms with the cultural impact of globalization. Drawing on the work of leading philosophers and theorists, the author adopts a broadly chronological approach to explore the changing definitions and contestations of culture over time. He concludes by highlighting the potential shortcomings of postmodernism, and argues for the continuing need to apply ancient values of truthfulness, goodness and beauty to all discussions of culture. This lively introduction will be of interest to undergraduate students and scholars in sociology, politics, anthropology, cultural and media studies.
Fred Inglis is Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Sheffield and Visiting Fellow at the Institute for the Humanities at the University of Connecticut, 2002--2003.
Foreword. 1. Birth of a concept. 2. Culture and Politics. 3. Culture and the Science of Humanity. 4. Culture and Redemption: Literature and Judgement. 5. The Social Production of Culture. 6. Culture and Postmodernism: the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. Notes. Bibliography. Index.