The Birth of Contemporary Culture: The Unwanted Child?


The paper proposes to investigate two threads that eventually intersect. On the one hand it aims to look at the evolution of contemporary global (consumer) culture, more specifically the culture of neoliberalism. On the other hand, it looks at some of the critical reflections that pondered upon these phenomena at the time they came into being. One of the major questions I will try to contextualize is how 'subversive sensibilities' became 'conventional sensibilities.' In terms of the contemporary, i.e., 1960s, 1970s critical reflections upon the then emerging consumer culture I will specifically look at some of the works of Enzensberger, McLuhan and Sontag. All three of them contributed, in major ways, to how we try to make sense of various cultural phenomena today (mass media, the political potentialities of culture, the role of the social and economic context, etc.). These thinkers are the most significant but by no means the only ones who supported and theorized the kind of culture that was emerging in their time. Today we call that culture - global) consumer culture.' I will examine and reconstruct the shift in their thinking that marked the realization of the potential transformation of 'subversive sensibilities' into 'conventional sensibilities.' The 21st century context of my investigation is provided by the process that has witnessed the most recent changes in culture (the shift from classic to global culture industry; the effects of the 2008 crash on culture; the theories about the end of neoliberalism etc.).

Author Information
Gyorgy Tury, Budapest Metropolitan University, Hungary

Paper Information
Conference: ACCS2016
Stream: Cultural Studies

This paper is part of the ACCS2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon