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New Book: Understanding Cultural Taste by David Wright

Understanding Cultural TasteDavid Wright's new book, Understanding Cultural Taste: Sensation, Skill and Sensibility has now been published by Palgrave Macmillan.

The book updates and critiques some established perspectives on cultural taste, exploring how taste has been, theorised, identified and measured and how taste is implicated in debates about policy, cultural production and technology. It reflects on the ideas of taste as ‘just’ a matter of personal preference and its place as a weapon in social struggles. Taste, the book argues, is about more than consumer choice. It has historical associations with aesthetics, morality and the training of people for social life. Attention to these complexities remains important to students and researchers trying to understand the role of taste and tasting in the contemporary world.

You can find more details, reviews and download a sample chapter via the publisher’s website here

Wed 05 Aug 2015, 10:23 | Tags: Publications

New Book by Oliver Bennett: Cultures of Optimism: The Institutional Promotion of Hope

Oliver Bennett has published a new book - Cultures of Optimism: The Institutional Promotion of Hope (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)

In this sequel to his book on Cultural Pessimism, Oliver Bennett explores how individuals and societies sustain hope. The book focuses on the institutional propagation of optimism in diverse domains: democratic politics; work; the family; religion; and psychotherapy. Drawing on a range of disciplines, including social and evolutionary psychology, intellectual history and organisational behaviour, Bennett addresses a number of questions: what are the functions of optimism in modern societies? How and why do institutions promote it? What values and attitudes are involved? The institutional actions explored, conceptualised as cultural policy in its broadest sense, point to the promotion of hope and optimism as a near-universal cultural imperative.

For reviews and further details see here

Tue 13 Jan 2015, 12:22 | Tags: Publications, Events, Research news

New Book by Jeremy Ahearne: Government through Culture and the Contemporary French Right

Jeremy Ahearne has published a new book – Government Through Culture and the Contemporary French Right (Palgrave, November 2014).

Culture, understood broadly, lay at the heart of contrasting right-wing strategies for government in France during the pivotal decade of 2002–2012. Looking at issues of political secularism, educational reform, televisual performance, public memory and nation-branding, the book analyses how Presidents Chirac and Sarkozy sought to redefine contemporary French identity. This study extends prevailing conceptions of 'cultural policy' and shows how this constitutes a core dimension, alongside economic and social policies, of modern right-wing government. It traces, over the course of the decade in question, a dramatic hardening of the attitudes and values informing these programmes for cultural hegemony. These reflect enduring transformations in the political and symbolic landscape of contemporary France.

For reviews and further details see

Mon 01 Dec 2014, 12:04 | Tags: Publications, Events

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