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Gargantua Manufactured Mass Culture

Regular price $39.99
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  • Author:
    STALLABRASS J
  • ISBN:
    9781859840368
  • Publication Date:
    30/05/1996
  • Edition:
    1
  • Pages:
    224
  • Binding:
    Paperback
  • Publisher:
    Verso Books
  • Country of Publication:
Gargantua Manufactured Mass Culture
Gargantua Manufactured Mass Culture

Gargantua Manufactured Mass Culture

Regular price $39.99
Unit price
per
  • Author:
    STALLABRASS J
  • ISBN:
    9781859840368
  • Publication Date:
    30/05/1996
  • Edition:
    1
  • Pages:
    224
  • Binding:
    Paperback
  • Publisher:
    Verso Books
  • Country of Publication:
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  • In Rabelais's tale, the giant Gargantua is a vast and inescapable cluster of qualities and activities, less a human being than a force of nature: in his greed and incontinence, and in his voracious violence, he outdoes everyone else. "We can recognize", says Julian Stallabrass, "in the old giant's size, ubiquity, gluttony, vast knowledge and warlike nature, qualities of our own contemporary culture."In this polemic on our visual mass culture, the author argues that culture's status as a commodity is the most important thing abut it, affecting its form, its relation to the viewer and its ideology. The great diversity of choice masks the extent to which this choice is managed by an ever-shrinking number of powerful owners. Stallabrass shows how the consistent and unifying capitalist ideology mass culture leads to an increasingly homogeneous identity among its consumers. Even in marginal and radical cultural activities, such as graffiti writing, can be found the tyranny of the brand name and the reduction of the individual to a cipher.From the basic premis that people are defined more by how they live (including what they consume) than who they are (in terms of race, gender or the other accepted categories of identity politics). Stallabrass begins with an analysis of subjects which affect specific interest groups - amateur photography, computer games, cyberspace and multimedia. He then works out to wider aspects of the culture which affect everyone, including shopping, cars, street furniture and television.This book raises profound questions about the nature and direction of mass culture. It also raises a challenge to the postmodern theorists' adherence to subjectivity, indeterminacy and political indifference. If manufactured subjectivities are always shot through with the objective, then their plurality may not be merely a colourful but meaningless postmodern smorgasbord, but rather the accurate reflection of our curent cultural situation, and a map showing paths beyond it.
In Rabelais's tale, the giant Gargantua is a vast and inescapable cluster of qualities and activities, less a human being than a force of nature: in his greed and incontinence, and in his voracious violence, he outdoes everyone else. "We can recognize", says Julian Stallabrass, "in the old giant's size, ubiquity, gluttony, vast knowledge and warlike nature, qualities of our own contemporary culture."In this polemic on our visual mass culture, the author argues that culture's status as a commodity is the most important thing abut it, affecting its form, its relation to the viewer and its ideology. The great diversity of choice masks the extent to which this choice is managed by an ever-shrinking number of powerful owners. Stallabrass shows how the consistent and unifying capitalist ideology mass culture leads to an increasingly homogeneous identity among its consumers. Even in marginal and radical cultural activities, such as graffiti writing, can be found the tyranny of the brand name and the reduction of the individual to a cipher.From the basic premis that people are defined more by how they live (including what they consume) than who they are (in terms of race, gender or the other accepted categories of identity politics). Stallabrass begins with an analysis of subjects which affect specific interest groups - amateur photography, computer games, cyberspace and multimedia. He then works out to wider aspects of the culture which affect everyone, including shopping, cars, street furniture and television.This book raises profound questions about the nature and direction of mass culture. It also raises a challenge to the postmodern theorists' adherence to subjectivity, indeterminacy and political indifference. If manufactured subjectivities are always shot through with the objective, then their plurality may not be merely a colourful but meaningless postmodern smorgasbord, but rather the accurate reflection of our curent cultural situation, and a map showing paths beyond it.