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Cultural Studies

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Media and Politics in Virtual America

"In the pages that follow, we trace the emergence of a place that looks like a real democracy, and a real country, but is in fact a construct, like reality but not real. It is Virtual America."

The new technologies of the 1990s, Ed Diamond and Robert Silverman argue, have helped create a blowhard culture, a talk-show politics driven by instant news analysis, over-reliance on public-opinion polls and focus groups, the power of Know-Nothing call-in shows, and the unchecked gossip of online computer networks.

Art and Theory at the End of the Century

In The Return of the Real Hal Foster discusses the development of art and theory since 1960, and reorders the relation between prewar and postwar avant-gardes. Opposed to the assumption that contemporary art is somehow belated, he argues that the avant-garde returns to us from the future, repositioned by innovative practice in the present. And he poses this retroactive model of art and theory against the reactionary undoing of progressive culture that is pervasive today.


How do Americans view environmental issues? From EarthFirst! members to sawmill workers, this study by a team of cognitive anthropologists offers both good and bad news for those addressing environmental issues in the public arena. On the one hand it reveals surprising similarities in the way different groups of Americans view long-term global environmental change, and on the other it shows that Americans have serious misunderstandings about these issues, which skews public support for policies.

The Poetics of Construction in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Architecture

Kenneth Frampton's long-awaited follow-up to his classic A Critical History of Modern Architecture is certain to influence any future debate on the evolution of modern architecture. Studies in Tectonic Culture is nothing less than a rethinking of the entire modern architectural tradition. The notion of tectonics as employed by Frampton—the focus on architecture as a constructional craft—constitutes a direct challenge to current mainstream thinking on the artistic limits of postmodernism, and suggests a convincing alternative.

Few works of political and cultural theory have been as enduringly provocative as Guy Debord's The Society of the Spectacle. From its publication amid the social upheavals of the 1960s up to the present, the volatile theses of this book have decisively transformed debates on the shape of modernity, capitalism and everyday life in the late twentieth cenlury.

Urban Landscapes as Public History

Based on her extensive experience in the urban communities of Los Angeles, historian and architect Dolores Hayden proposes new perspectives on gender, race, and ethnicity to broaden the practice of public history and public art, enlarge urban preservation, and reorient the writing of urban history to spatial struggles.

The Extensions of Man

This reissue of Understanding Media marks the thirtieth anniversary (1964-1994) of Marshall McLuhan's classic expose on the state of the then emerging phenomenon of mass media. Terms and phrases such as "the global village" and "the medium is the message" are now part of the lexicon, and McLuhan's theories continue to challenge our sensibilities and our assumptions about how and what we communicate.

Technology has long played a central role in the formation of Americans' sense of selfhood. From the first canal systems through the moon landing, Americans have, for better or worse, derived unity from the common feeling of awe inspired by large-scale applications of technological prowess. American Technological Sublime continues the exploration of the social construction of technology that David Nye began in his award-winning book Electrifying America.

The Dilemma of Technological Determinism

These thirteen essays explore a crucial historical question that has been notoriously hard to pin down: To what extent, and by what means, does a society's technology determine its political, social, economic, and cultural forms?Karl Marx launched the modern debate on determinism with his provocative remark that "the hand-mill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam-mill, society with the industrial capitalist," and a classic article by Robert Heilbroner (reprinted here) renewed the debate within the context of the history of technology.

Edited by Craig Calhoun

The relationship between civil society and public life is in the forefront of contemporary discussion. No single scholarly voice informs this discussion more than that of Jürgen Habermas. His contributions have shaped the nature of debates over critical theory, feminism, cultural studies, and democratic politics. In this book, scholars from a wide range of disciplines respond to Habermas's most directly relevant work, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere.

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