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The Way We Live Now: Dilemmas in Contemporary Culture [Hardcover]

Richard Hoggart
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 Nov 1995
Hoggart attempts to capture the feel of British life at the end of the 20th century: its moods, attitudes and institutions. His own theories are supported by analyzing particular forms of change: in education at all levels, in the arts and popular culture, in broadcasting, and the use of language.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus; First Edition edition (2 Nov 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701165014
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701165017
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.6 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,025,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Tough and principled, it is a testimony to his astonishing energy and stamina... It displays a calmness, a perfectly justified habit of intellectual (but always egalitarian) authority, and a considerable courage..." (T.H.E.S)

"Hoggart has been a pawky, powerful and articulate critic of the way we live now for more than forty years... His arguments are detailed and thoughtful... He demonstrates that not everyone, even now, has lost the passion, the decency and the critical rage that he mourns." (Financial Times) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

An uncompromising attack on the way English society has been damaged over the last 20 years by the denial of standards, the triumph of the market and cynical exploitation. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still relevant today 7 Jan 2014
By Phillyfan VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An interesting sequel to 'The Uses of Theory' although perhaps not such a fun read, this is a very thought provoking book. Although written almost 20 years ago, its comments on consumerism and relativism are still very relevant. I was reading this around the same time that Grayson Perry was giving the Reith lectures and they both explore the difficulty, and fear, of making judgements about culture. Could be seen as the views of a 'grumpy old man' but interesting to anyone concerned about the changes in values in society
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a sense of loss. 28 Aug 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book acts as a kind of sequel to Uses of Literacy and like that book exhibits a kind of melancholia for a lost past more rooted in real human experience and unmediated by commercial culture. If anything it is even more pessimistic than Uses of Literacy as it sees the twin evils of intellectual relativism and rampant marketisation as accelerating features of the last fifty years reaching a morally vacuous and intellectually vapid nadir in the ideas promulgated by the Thatcher government and its ideological successors.
However Hoggart's detects a continuing tributary of quality and decency in the British charcater which this book seks to reaffirm, it is his lifes mission so to do, this book is a call to make it yours too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a sense of loss. 28 Aug 2011
Format:Hardcover
This book acts as a kind of sequel to Uses of Literacy and like that book exhibits a kind of melancholia for a lost past more rooted in real human experience and unmediated by commercial culture. If anything it is even more pessimistic than Uses of Literacy as it sees the twin evils of intellectual relativism and rampant marketisation as accelerating features of the last fifty years reaching a morally vacuous and intellectually vapid nadir in the ideas promulgated by the Thatcher government and its ideological successors.
However Hoggart's detects a continuing tributary of quality and decency in the British charcater which this book seks to reaffirm, it is his lifes mission so to do, this book is a call to make it yours too.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This should be regarded as one of the most important books ever written about our contemporary cultural values, and it would be a noble conclusion to Hoggart's work had he produced no more books, although I'm glad to be able to say that he has. The course of his work, from the famous 'Uses of Literacy' to 'The Way We Live Now', which parallels, in an oppositional sense, the social cultural history of Britain for the past 50 years makes him a perfect 'tragic' representive academic of our time in his opposition to the cultural changes around him, in the sense that the doctor in Ibsen's 'Enemy Of The People' is a tragic hero i.e. it is not his flaws or weakness that make him tragic, but his stubborn principles in the face of the insurmountable prevailing circumstances.
This book is the mature response of an academic who grew up with the pre-war/post war humanist cultural values of belief in education and high culture to the present day climate of cultural relativism and populism which he finds so depressing and threatening. It is the most powerful and impassioned refutation of relativism as it is applied in contemporary culture and political policy I have yet encountered and something which badly needed doing. It is difficult to imagine anyone doing it better in a book that is intended to be a pleasure to read - or even just plain readable, by any intelligent person, without too much effort or special training in contemporary 'Theory'.

If you don't know what I mean by 'Theory', I mean any or all of the following: 'Literary Theory','Critical Theory', Psychoanalysis, post-Structuralism, Deconstruction, post-Modern Theory, Feminist Theory.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent polemic against 'dumbing down' of culture. 15 Oct 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Hoggart is the Grand Old Man of (British) Culture, he is as at home commenting on the Tellytubbies as on Hegel or Falkner. He's very aware that his position as an academic could prejudice his argument and so has made this book very non 'ivory tower'. Going through the years and through the different media of culture he shows how the reductivist and populist ways of thinking have led to cultural impoverishment. The great thing is he does this in a very aproachable way with a great eclectic trawl through his erudite and witty mind. If you are worried about education, about piles of bricks masquerading as sculpture, splodges of paint as art, about bad books published and praised solely on the colour or gender of their authors, if you are worry about what television is doing to your brain then this is a great book for you. Because Hoggart has seen the pitfalls of merely ranting about the destruction of culture he has all the weapons you need to defend yourself against the cultural vandals who equate graffiti with Shakespeare. The book is great to dip into - the examples of bad culture exposed by his scathing wit are hilarious. If you are a college student and have nothing to say to those who assert that Warhol is as valid an artist as Carravagio then this is an excellent prep work for the next time you get into a late night arguement. The search for quality and depth in culture has very few friends. Soon Hoggart will become another 'dead white male' - read him before he does.
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