Metaculture: How Culture Moves through the World

Overview

It is one thing to comprehend how culture makes its way through the world in those cases where something old is reproduced in the same physical shape-where, for example, a song is sung or a story retold. It is another thing altogether, as Greg Urban demonstrates, to think about cultural motion when something new is created-a new song or a new story. And this, the creating of new culture, is the overarching value of the contemporary world, as well as the guiding principle of the ...
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Overview

It is one thing to comprehend how culture makes its way through the world in those cases where something old is reproduced in the same physical shape-where, for example, a song is sung or a story retold. It is another thing altogether, as Greg Urban demonstrates, to think about cultural motion when something new is created-a new song or a new story. And this, the creating of new culture, is the overarching value of the contemporary world, as well as the guiding principle of the capitalist entrepreneur.

From the Declaration of Independence to the movie Babe, from the Amazon River to the film studio, from microscopic studies of the words making up myths and books to the large-scale forces of conquest, conversion, and globalization that drive history, Urban follows the clues to a startling revelation: "metaculture" makes the modern, entrepreneurial form of culture possible. In Urban's work we see how metaculture, in its relationship to newness, explains the peculiar shape of modern society and its institutions, from the prevalence of taste and choice to the processes of the public sphere, to the centrality of persuasion and hegemony within the nation.

Greg Urban is Class of 1965 Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816638413
  • Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2001
  • Series: Public Worlds Series
  • Pages: 392

Table of Contents

Foreword
Acknowledgments
1 The Once and Future Thing 1
2 In Modern Time 41
3 This Nation Will Rise Up 93
4 This is Ridiculous 145
5 The Public Eye 181
6 Inability to Foresee 228
Conclusion: The Answer and the Question 271
Notes 273
References 297
Index 307
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