This work is intended as a contribution to our understanding of modernism and postmodernism. It explores the formation and deformation of the cultural sphere and the effects on culture of globalization. Against many orthodox postmodernist accounts, the author argues that it is wrong to regard our present state of fragmentation and dislocation as an epochal break. Existing interdependencies and power balances are not so easily broken down. Nonetheless, some important cultural changes have occurred since the last war. In particular, the book examines some of the processes which have uncoupled culture from the social; the erosion of the ideal of the heroic life in the face of the onslaught from consumerism and the deformation of culture; and the rise of new forms of identity development. It explains why culture has gained a more significant role in everyday life and also why it has come to preoccupy the Academy in recent years. The text covers the effects of the multiplication of cultural goods and images on our ability to read culture and develop fixed meanings and relationships.
It highlights the importance of the global in attempting to cope with the objective difficulties of cultural overproduction. The book concludes that the rise of non-western nation states with different cultural frames produces different reactions of modernity, making it more appropriate to refer to global modernities.
Mike Featherstone is Professor of Communications and Sociology at Nottingham Trent University. CONTRIBUTORS OUTSIDE NORTH AMERICA : Zygmunt Bauman University of Leeds Henning Bech University of Copenhagen Elizabeth Beck-Gernsheim Universtiy of Erlangen Mary Evans University of Kent at Canterbury David Frisby University of Glasgow Mike Hepworth University of Aberdeen Eva Illouz Tel-Aviv University Maria Esther Maciel Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais Michael Richardson SOAS, University of London Laura Rival University of Kent at Canterbury Andrew Travers Somerset Jeffrey Weeks South Bank University Sasha Weitman Tel-Aviv University Sam Whimster London Guildhall University Elizabeth Wilson University of North London Cas Wouters University of Utrecht