Assembling Culture

Routledge
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If the social does not exist as a special domain but, in Bruno Latour’s words, as ‘a peculiar movement of re-association and reassembling’, what implications does this have for how ‘the cultural’ might best be conceived? What new ways of thinking the relations between culture, the economy and the social might be developed by pursuing such lines of inquiry? And what are the implications for the relations between culture and politics? Contributors draw on a range of theoretical perspectives, including those associated with Deleuze and Guattari, Foucault, Law and Haraway, in order to focus on the roles of different forms of expertise and knowledge in producing cultural assemblages. What expertise is necessary to produce indigenous citizens? How does craniometry assemble the head? What kinds of knowledge were required to create markets for life insurance? These and other questions are pursued in this collection through a challenging array of papers concerned with cultural assemblages as diverse as brands and populations, bottled water and mobile television.
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About the author

Tony Bennett, Research Professor in Social and Cultural Theory, Centre for Cultural Research, University of Western Sydney

Chris Healy, Associate Professor in Cultural Studies, The University of Melbourne.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Routledge
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Published on
Oct 31, 2013
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Pages
216
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ISBN
9781317982364
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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In Popular Culture and Everyday Life Phillip Vannini and Dennis Waskul have brought together a variety of short essays that illustrate the many ways that popular culture intersects with mundane experiences of everyday life. Most essays are written in a reflexive ethnographic style, primarily through observation and personal narrative, to convey insights at an intimate level that will resonate with most readers. Some of the topics are so mundane they are legitimately universal (sleeping, getting dressed, going to the bathroom, etc.), others are common enough that most readers will directly identify in some way (watching television, using mobile phones, playing video games, etc.), while some topics will appeal more-or-less depending on a reader’s gender, interests, and recreational pastimes (putting on makeup, watching the Super Bowl, homemaking, etc.). This book will remind readers of their own similar experiences, provide opportunities to reflect upon them in new ways, as well as compare and contrast how experiences relayed in these pages relate to lived experiences. The essays will easily translate into rich and lively classroom discussions that shed new light on a familiar, taken-for-granted everyday life—both individually and collectively.

At the beginning of the book, the authors have provided a grid that shows the topics and themes that each article touches on. This book is for popular culture classes, and will also be an asset in courses on the sociology of everyday life, ethnography, and social psychology.

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"You will not read a more important book about America this year."—The Economist

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"Essential reading."—David Brooks, New York Times

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for more than forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually one of their grandchildren would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.'s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history.

A deeply moving memoir, with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.

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