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Core Module 2: Cultural Theory

Through the work of key European and other writers, you will explore the historical development of concepts of the arts and culture, and the associated idea of their transformative powers. Tracing the thinking of cultural theorists and other commentators on culture from Classical Greece to the present day, you will be encouraged to consider how these ideas connect to the debates surrounding cultural policy that you will encounter in other areas of the course. You will be challenged to examine your own and others' attitudes to culture in relation to the texts, and develop your ability to interrogate and articulate complex ideas.



Belfiore, E. & Bennett, O. (2008) The Social Impact of the Arts: An intellectual history, Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Bennett, T. (2008) “Culture” in Bennett, T.; Grossberg, L. and Morris, M. (Eds.) New Keywords: A revised vocabulary of culture and society, Oxford: Cambridge.

 Bourdieu, P. (1986) Distinction: A social critique of the judgement of taste, London: Routledge.

Carey, J. (2005) What Good are the Arts?, London: faber & faber.

Davies, S. (2001) “Definitions of Art”, in Gaut, B. and McIver Lopes, D. (ed.) The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics, London and New York: Routledge.

Frith, S. (1996) ‘Music and Identity’, in Hall, S. & Du Guy, P. (eds) Questions of Cultural Identity, pp. 108-227, London: Sage.

Hannay, A. H. (1954) 'The Concept of Art for Art's Sake', in Philosophy, Vol. 19, n. 108, pp. 44-53.

Horkheimer, M. & Adorno, T. W. (2002) ‘The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as mass deception’, in Dialectic of the Enlightenment: Philosophical fragments, pp. 94-136, Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Shiner, L. (2001) The Invention of Art: A cultural history, Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press

Sontag, S. (2007) ‘The conscience of words’ and ‘At the same time: The novelist and moral reasoning’, in At the Same Time, pp.145-155 and pp. 210-231, London, Penguin.

Tusa, J. (2007) Engaged with the Arts: Writings from the frontline, , London: I. B. Tauris.

Williams, R. (1990) Culture and Society, London: The Hogarth Press.