On a Common Culture
By: Brian Russell Graham - Zer0 Books, $17.95
Description: In the United Kingdom, the notion of a common culture has always been suggestive of a national culture which is accessible to all and provides various kinds of benefits to all, including participation in national cultural life.
Brian Russell Graham’s exploration of the theme aims to clarify how we might define common culture in the twenty-first century and offers a perspective on specific benefits of such a shared culture.
Common culture can generate a sense of inclusive national identity, he argues. Additionally, it can even out differences in our so-called cultural capital – it can make people more equal in terms of their cultural lives.
Verdict: In a book that, and given its subject matter, acutely manages to produce something distinctive and relevant here today, whilst also providing absorbing, and at all times, sophisticated contributions to cultural studies, On a Common Culture: The Idea of a Shared National Culture by Brian Russell Graham is a 173 page book of unadulterated wonderment.
National identity and cultural equality are two highly significant themes in current debates inside and outside of academia, of this we know, and have known for as long as time has shown, but this study acutely re-introduces the idea of common culture to the debate.
For common culture, it is argued, is classless or egalitarian culture; it helps bring about culture equality. We tend to think of cultural equality as a gateway to other inequalities in society today. Greater cultural equality, then, is a crucial goal for national identity must be even more important to us.
Graham, a two-time graduate of the University of Glasgow, helps inform us, the topic of discussion itself, with a wide range of theories here, from such notables as Richard Hoggart, George Orwell and Matthew Arnold, and yet at all times remains admirably grounded in the debate.
About the Author - Brian Russell Graham is an academic and author. He teaches “The Circle of Stories: Literature and Genre”, one of the suite of courses offered by University of Copenhagen’s International Summer Programme.
In addition to his academic work, he has also published slow journalism in publications such as Quillette and Areo, amongst others. He lives in Copenhagen, Denmark.
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