Michael Kammen's American Culture, American Tastes: Social Change and the PDF

By Michael Kammen

ISBN-10: 0465037291

ISBN-13: 9780465037292

ISBN-10: 142948568X

ISBN-13: 9781429485685

In American tradition, American Tastes, Michael Kammen leads us on an unique, thought-provoking journey of America's altering tastes, makes use of of relaxation, and the moving perceptions that experience followed them all through our nation's historical past. beginning on the time limit that late-nineteenth-century pop culture started to evolve into post-WWII mass tradition, Kammen charts the impression of ads and opinion polling; the advance of standardized items, buying facilities, and mass advertising and marketing; the separation of teenage and grownup tradition; the connection among "high" and "low" artwork; the commercialization of geared up leisure; and the ways that tv has formed mass tradition and consumerism has reconfigured it. In doing so, he attracts from assets as various and wealthy because the paintings of esteemed cultural theorists, "The Simpsons," jigsaw puzzles, Walter Winchell's gossip columns, Whitman's poetry, Warhol's artwork, "Sesame Street," and the Book-of-the-Month Club.With wit and ingenuity Kammen lines the emergence of yankee mass tradition and the contested meanings of relaxation, style, purchaser tradition, and social divisions that it has spawned.

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It seems clear that we can ix-rvc~kea histc~ricalo r t h o c f t ~that ~ still persisted less than i-riatfa cenmry ago, so ictr-rgas wc acknc~wledgethat it never went entirely unclrallenged. T h e template for that orthodoxy touked something like this: High cdturc is expected to cor-rnect: humilnkirul t-o its h e s t past acilievements, whereas popular ctdtrtrc provides more eplwmeral access to amusement and experience across class lines in the here and now Eligh culture is meant to create as well as preserve.

Anjqhing not universally shared may be less t h z '~nass,'an aspect of a ' I n i a o r i ~ k %scrb'-culture,"""": r Fine. Let us bear in rtlir-rcl that as late as the 1930s marty hericax-rs, especially in the South and WPest, did nor yet live in a fully industrialized sociey; and up until midcentury there were a great matly aspects of Americain culmre that most certainly were rzot univcrsalty shared. Conseyuentt-y, according to their awxz criteria, devotees ought to ackxzowfedge that mass culture could not become truly pemasivc until welI aker WPc)rldWPar XI, &)lassculture, then, must bc no~tregional,highly startdardized, artd compfcteiy commerci;zl, Elandmade quilts, fc~rexample, dc:, not qualifiras mass culture, not because they lack cc>rnmercialvalue (for they most certainly possess t11at), but because they vary so much by region or locale, sometimes by religious sect, ancl also in the reasoils for their making, f2or the sake of ctarifimtion, then, let me suggest SOW of the Cffaracteristics CIF mass culture as WC have knc~wnit for atlout four decades so that readers can understand why 1 consider the significant develop1-crent;c just desa-ibed, along with others, as being better perceived either as popular cufhzre or as proto-mass cuft-ure, We must begin with.

Ijaradoically, L-rowever,that is not the impression that one gets from casual browsing, particularly in the press or even among the cognaseenti. t lerbert Gans declared that "'piputar ~vlltrtireis not smdied much these days either by social scientists or hurnax-rists. . " Much of &is book will be devoted to anmering that questio1-r from various angles of vision, Ifere at the start it seems prrrder~tto begin with an even more basic question on wbiclr there is no consensus r e ~ e c t i n ginetusiveness: What is culture?

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American Culture, American Tastes: Social Change and the Twentieth Century by Michael Kammen


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