American Culture, American Tastes: Social Change and the 20th Century

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9780465037292: American Culture, American Tastes: Social Change and the 20th Century

In American Culture, American Tastes, Michael Kammen leads us on an entertaining, thought-provoking tour of America's changing tastes, uses of leisure, and the shifting perceptions that have accompanied them throughout our nation's history. Starting at the point in time that late-nineteenth-century popular culture began to evolve into post-WWII mass culture, Kammen charts the influence of advertising and opinion polling; the development of standardized products, shopping centers, and mass marketing; the separation of youth and adult culture; the relationship between "high" and "low" art; the commercialization of organized entertainment; and the ways in which television has shaped mass culture and consumerism has reconfigured it. In doing so, he draws from sources as varied and rich as the work of esteemed cultural theorists, "The Simpsons," jigsaw puzzles, Walter Winchell's gossip columns, Whitman's poetry, Warhol's art, "Sesame Street," and the Book-of-the-Month Club.With wit and ingenuity Kammen traces the emergence of American mass culture and the contested meanings of leisure, taste, consumer culture, and social divisions that it has spawned.

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Review:

Intellectuals are often accused of viewing mass entertainment with contempt, fear, or condescension. The rise of cultural-studies programs in prestigious universities, however, reveals that this perception couldn't be further from the truth. In American Culture, American Tastes, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Michael G. Kammen explores the origins and implications of this new way that academics and critics celebrate, rather than condemn, popular tastes.

In principle, Kammen supports recent scholarly forays into the effects of mass production and consumerism on Americans' leisure time. He is concerned, however, that the audience's relationship to contemporary media is greatly underappreciated. In attempting to distinguish "popular" from "mass" culture, Kammen argues that with films, music, radio, and popular fiction, certain "highbrow, middlebrow, and lowbrow" levels emerged, targeting specific social classes or communities. These levels were quite permeable, however, and certain works, such as Shakespeare's plays and Charlie Chaplin's slapstick comedies, allowed audiences to transcend rigid categories of taste. In the television era, Kammen believes, leisure has become more passive and homogenized, however, and the era of democratic consumption that many modern intellectuals champion may be near an end.

To combat this trend, Kammen, like Russell Jacoby, longs to resurrect "public intellectuals," such as H.L. Mencken and Dwight Macdonald, who pointedly combined a learned appreciation of popular culture with a genuine concern for preserving the vivacity of public life. In a field dominated by Marxists and feminists, this call for liberal cultural "authority" will raise some hackles in academe, but praise among general audiences. --John M. Anderson

From the Publisher:

"Wonderfully astute, informative, and engaging, Michael Kammen's book is a powerful study of the emergence of mass culture in America. Kammen deftly tackles key historical issues, unraveling scholarly debates in cogent prose and bringing to light fascinating facts about the history of American tastes."
--David Reynolds, author of Walt Whitman's America


"Michael Kammen is one of our most prolific, wide-ranging, and distinguished historians. In American Culture, American Tastes: Social Change and the 20th Century, he takes on,
and even resolves, issues that have perplexed many of our most thoughtful scholars and critics. He succeeds admirably in untangling complicated problems that have always captured the nation's attention. With wit, sophistication, ingenuity, and common sense he explores how Americans have experienced and pondered the contested meanings of leisure, taste, consumer culture, and social divisions. Especially compelling are his thoughtful distinction between
popular culture of the early twentieth century and mass culture at the century's end, along with his illumination of the shift from the cultural authority of experts to the cultural power of corporations."
--Daniel Horowitz, author of Vance Packard and American Social Criticism

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Descripción Basic Books 10/5/2000, 2000. Paperback or Softback. Estado de conservación: New. American Culture, American Tastes: Social Change and the 20th Century. Book. Nº de ref. de la librería BBS-9780465037292

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Descripción INGRAM PUBLISHER SERVICES US, United States, 2000. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. In American Culture, American Tastes, Michael Kammen leads us on an entertaining, thought-provoking tour of America s changing tastes, uses of leisure, and the shifting perceptions that have accompanied them throughout our nation s history. Starting at the point in time that late-nineteenth-century popular culture began to evolve into post-WWII mass culture, Kammen charts the influence of advertising and opinion polling the development of standardized products, shopping centres, and mass marketing the separation of youth and adult culture the relationship between high and low art the commercialization of organized entertainment and the ways in which television has shaped mass culture and consumerism has reconfigured it. In doing so, he draws from sources as varied and rich as the work of esteemed cultural theorists, The Simpsons, jigsaw puzzles, Walter Winchell s gossip columns, Whitman s poetry, Warhol s art, Sesame Street, and the Book-of-the-Month Club.With wit and ingenuity Kammen traces the emergence of American mass culture and the contested meanings of leisure, taste, consumer culture, and social divisions that it has spawned. Nº de ref. de la librería APC9780465037292

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Michael Kammen
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Descripción INGRAM PUBLISHER SERVICES US, United States, 2000. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.In American Culture, American Tastes, Michael Kammen leads us on an entertaining, thought-provoking tour of America s changing tastes, uses of leisure, and the shifting perceptions that have accompanied them throughout our nation s history. Starting at the point in time that late-nineteenth-century popular culture began to evolve into post-WWII mass culture, Kammen charts the influence of advertising and opinion polling the development of standardized products, shopping centres, and mass marketing the separation of youth and adult culture the relationship between high and low art the commercialization of organized entertainment and the ways in which television has shaped mass culture and consumerism has reconfigured it. In doing so, he draws from sources as varied and rich as the work of esteemed cultural theorists, The Simpsons, jigsaw puzzles, Walter Winchell s gossip columns, Whitman s poetry, Warhol s art, Sesame Street, and the Book-of-the-Month Club.With wit and ingenuity Kammen traces the emergence of American mass culture and the contested meanings of leisure, taste, consumer culture, and social divisions that it has spawned. Nº de ref. de la librería APC9780465037292

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Descripción Basic Books. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Paperback. 352 pages. Dimensions: 8.0in. x 5.0in. x 1.0in.In American Culture, American Tastes, Michael Kammen leads us on an entertaining, thought-provoking tour of Americas changing tastes, uses of leisure, and the shifting perceptions that have accompanied them throughout our nations history. Starting at the point in time that late-nineteenth-century popular culture began to evolve into post-WWII mass culture, Kammen charts the influence of advertising and opinion polling; the development of standardized products, shopping centers, and mass marketing; the separation of youth and adult culture; the relationship between high and low art; the commercialization of organized entertainment; and the ways in which television has shaped mass culture and consumerism has reconfigured it. In doing so, he draws from sources as varied and rich as the work of esteemed cultural theorists, The Simpsons, jigsaw puzzles, Walter Winchells gossip columns, Whitmans poetry, Warhols art, Sesame Street, and the Book-of-the-Month Club. With wit and ingenuity Kammen traces the emergence of American mass culture and the contested meanings of leisure, taste, consumer culture, and social divisions that it has spawned. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Nº de ref. de la librería 9780465037292

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Descripción The Perseus Books Group, 2000. PAP. Estado de conservación: New. New Book. Delivered from our UK warehouse in 4 to 14 business days. THIS BOOK IS PRINTED ON DEMAND. Established seller since 2000. Nº de ref. de la librería IQ-9780465037292

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