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Fred Inglis

ISBN: 978-0-745-62381-8

Aug 2004, Polity

200 pages

In Stock



Culture, Raymond Williams once wrote, is one of the most difficult words in language. Since then the concept has become part of our everyday vocabulary; it is used in a variety of different contexts: to describe the behaviour of corporations or criminals; to provide personal and national identity; it even gives its name to a Department of State.

In this engaging new textbook, Fred Inglis charts the history of the concept from its origins in the German Enlightenment to contemporary attempts to come to terms with the cultural impact of globalization. Drawing on the work of leading philosophers and theorists, the author adopts a broadly chronological approach to explore the changing definitions and contestations of culture over time. He concludes by highlighting the potential shortcomings of postmodernism, and argues for the continuing need to apply ancient values of truthfulness, goodness and beauty to all discussions of culture.

This lively introduction will be of interest to undergraduate students and scholars in sociology, politics, anthropology, cultural and media studies.


1. Birth of a concept.

2. Culture and Politics.

3. Culture and the Science of Humanity.

4. Culture and Redemption: Literature and Judgement.

5. The Social Production of Culture.

6. Culture and Postmodernism: the Good, the True, and the Beautiful.




'...the book is a gem for postgraduates (and, not least, the après-post), a rich source of materials for meditating on the vicissitude of this world...'

The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

  • Another title in the highly successful Key Concepts series
  • An accessible introduction written by a leading authority in the field
  • Provides an overview of the classic theories of culture