Tony Bennett

Interview (audio) with Tony Bennett on his new book “Making Culture, Changing Society”

 

[Re-blogged from New Books in Critical Theory]
 Interview with Tony Bennett [ 1:03:04 ] Hide Player | Play in Popup | Download
In his new book Making Culture, Changing Society (Routledge, 2013), Professor Tony Bennett aims to change the way we think about culture. The book uses four core ideas about the nature and meaning of culture to present a view that does not see culture as just a set of signs and symbols. Rather culture is a form of knowledge practice, bound up with material conditions and institutions, which is implicated in the production of persons and freedoms. Making Culture, Changing Society justifies this view of culture in two ways. In the first instance the book considers how specific humanities disciplines, associated with anthropology and aesthetics, have been used to distribute ideas of freedom and ideas of the person within liberal government. Bennett uses examples from anthropological studies of colonial societies, along with discussions of the role of aesthetics for theorists such as Pierre Bourdieu, to show the function of culture and its interdependence with forms of knowledge. At the same time the book insists on the material aspects of these discussions, using the example of Melbourne’s National Museum of Victoria and Paris’ Musee de l’Homme.
The book offers an important intervention into debates on culture and public policy, grounding questions of rights and representations within the historical project of liberal government. Moreover it develops a critique of the assumptions surrounding culture as a potentially positive or beneficial force for social change, raising profound questions for public, politics and policy.

New book by Tony Bennett: Making Culture, Changing Society

making-culture-changing-society

Making Culture, Changing Society proposes a challenging new account of the relations between culture and society focused on how particular forms of cultural knowledge and expertise work on, order and transform society. Examining these forms of culture’s action on the social as aspects of a historically distinctive ensemble of cultural institutions, it considers the diverse ways in which culture has been produced and mobilised as a resource for governing populations.

These concerns are illustrated in detailed case studies of how anthropological conceptions of the relations between race and culture have shaped – and been shaped by – the relationships between museums, fieldwork and governmental programmes in early twentieth-century France and Australia. These are complemented by a closely argued account of the relations between aesthetics and governance that, in contrast to conventional approaches, interprets the historical emergence of the autonomy of the aesthetic as vastly expanding the range of art’s social uses.

In pursuing these concerns, particular attention is given to the role that the cultural disciplines have played in making up and distributing the freedoms through which modern forms of liberal government operate. An examination of the place that has been accorded habit as a route into the regulation of conduct within liberal social, cultural and political thought brings these questions into sharp focus. The book will be of interest to students and scholars of sociology, cultural studies, media studies, anthropology, museum and heritage studies, history, art history and cultural policy studies.

Published 21st March 2013 by Routledge
http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415688840/