Catalogue

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Public culture : diversity, democracy, and community in the United States /
edited by Marguerite S. Shaffer.
imprint
Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, c2008.
description
xvi, 376 p.
ISBN
0812240812 (alk. paper), 9780812240818 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
added author
imprint
Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, c2008.
isbn
0812240812 (alk. paper)
9780812240818 (alk. paper)
general note
"This book grew out of a conference held at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in March 2003, entitled "The Transformation of Public Culture : Assessing the Politics of Diversity, Democracy, and Community in the United States, 1890 to the Present"--Pref.
catalogue key
6518080
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2009-05-01:
Shaffer and some of her colleagues at Miami University have focused extraordinary conceptual imagination and theoretical depth on a key problem of US democracy. This is not to say that all of the contributions directly engage the penetrating questions or the critical standards posed. Nevertheless, the collection sparks much thinking about issues of agency, hegemony, and identity in the historical and ongoing struggle for democratic space. Some contributors display a keen sense of the current role of transnational corporate power and a concern with "the hopelessly fragmented world of postmodernism." Edward Linenthal's essay reconstructs the important link between public history and public action. The late Hal Rothman (to whose memory the book is dedicated) provides a brilliant look at Las Vegas and the unmistakably American roots of the global risk society. Mary Frederickson offers a superb analysis of Cincinnati's politics of public memory as reflected in its museums. While the collection does not attempt a comprehensive overview of public culture, it does range over various topics including the Los Angeles Plaza, medicine shows, consumerism, and migrant worker struggles in Toledo, Ohio. Overall, this is an important, useful volume that raises questions about "sponsored public culture" while documenting academic divisions. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers and upper-division undergraduate students through professionals. H. G. Reid emeritus, University of Kentucky
Reviews
Review Quotes
"An excellent dissection of the tension between common experience and societal plurality. . . . The final valuable insight that this book may evoke for readers is that civic culture of the kind Robert Putnam lamented is not necessarily endangered. . . . but that 'public culture' is and always has been contested by a variety of actors; and to understand how Americans engage one another in the public realm requires asking difficult questions about power, wealth, gender, and race."- Reviews in American History
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, May 2009
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Focusing on four central themes - public action, public image, public space, and public identity - and approaching shared culture from a range of disciplines - including history, urban studies, sociology, mass communication, ethnic studies, and cultural studies - this text offers perspectives on a subject of perennial significance.
Main Description
In the United States today many people are as likely to identify themselves by their ethnicity or region as by their nationality. In this country with its diversity and inequalities, can there be a shared public culture? Is there an unbridgeable gap between cultural variety and civic unity, or can public forms of expression provide an opportunity for Americans to come together as a people? In Public Culture: Diversity, Democracy, and Community in the United States, an interdisciplinary group of scholars addresses these questions as they consider the state of American public culture over the past one hundred years. From medicine shows to the Internet, from the Los Angeles Plaza to the Las Vegas Strip, from the commemoration of the Oklahoma City bombing to television programming after 9/11, public sights and scenes provide ways to negotiate new forms of belonging in a diverse, postmodern community. By analyzing these cultural phenomena, the essays in this volume reveal how mass media, consumerism, increased privatization of space, and growing political polarization have transformed public culture and the very notion of the American public. Focusing on four central themes--public action, public image, public space, and public identity--and approaching shared culture from a range of disciplines--including mass communication, history, sociology, urban studies, ethnic studies, and cultural studies--Public Culture offers refreshing perspectives on a subject of perennial significance.
Main Description
In the United States today many people are as likely to identify themselves by their ethnicity or region as by their nationality. In this country with its diversity and inequalities, can there be a shared public culture? Is there an unbridgeable gap between cultural variety and civic unity, or can public forms of expression provide an opportunity for Americans to come together as a people? In Public Culture: Diversity, Democracy, and Community in the United States, an interdisciplinary group of scholars addresses these questions as they consider the state of American public culture over the past one hundred years. From medicine shows to the Internet, from the Los Angeles Plaza to the Las Vegas Strip, from the commemoration of the Oklahoma City bombing to television programming after 9/11, public sights and scenes provide ways to negotiate new forms of belonging in a diverse, postmodern community. By analyzing these cultural phenomena, the essays in this volume reveal how mass media, consumerism, increased privatization of space, and growing political polarization have transformed public culture and the very notion of the American public. Focusing on four central themes-public action, public image, public space, and public identity-and approaching shared culture from a range of disciplines-including mass communication, history, sociology, urban studies, ethnic studies, and cultural studies- Public Cultureoffers refreshing perspectives on a subject of perennial significance.
Main Description
In the United States today many people are as likely to identify themselves by their ethnicity or region as by their nationality. In this country with its diversity and inequalities, can there be a shared public culture? Is there an unbridgeable gap between cultural variety and civic unity, or can public forms of expression provide an opportunity for Americans to come together as a people?In Public Culture: Diversity, Democracy, and Community in the United States, an interdisciplinary group of scholars addresses these questions as they consider the state of American public culture over the past one hundred years. From medicine shows to the Internet, from the Los Angeles Plaza to the Las Vegas Strip, from the commemoration of the Oklahoma City bombing to television programming after 9/11, public sights and scenes provide ways to negotiate new forms of belonging in a diverse, postmodern community. By analyzing these cultural phenomena, the essays in this volume reveal how mass media, consumerism, increased privatization of space, and growing political polarization have transformed public culture and the very notion of the American public. Focusing on four central themes--public action, public image, public space, and public identity--and approaching shared culture from a range of disciplines--including mass communication, history, sociology, urban studies, ethnic studies, and cultural studies--Public Cultureoffers refreshing perspectives on a subject of perennial significance.
Main Description
In the United States today many people are as likely to identify themselves by their ethnicity or region as by their nationality. In this country with its diversity and inequalities, can there be a shared public culture? Is there an unbridgeable gap between cultural variety and civic unity, or can public forms of expression provide an opportunity for Americans to come together as a people? In Public Culture: Diversity, Democracy, and Community in the United States, an interdisciplinary group of scholars addresses these questions while considering the state of American public culture over the past one hundred years. From medicine shows to the Internet, from the Los Angeles Plaza to the Las Vegas Strip, from the commemoration of the Oklahoma City bombing to television programming after 9/11, public sights and scenes provide ways to negotiate new forms of belonging in a diverse, postmodern community. By analyzing these cultural phenomena, the essays in this volume reveal how mass media, consumerism, increased privatization of space, and growing political polarization have transformed public culture and the very notion of the American public. Focusing on four central themes-public action, public image, public space, and public identity-and approaching shared culture from a range of disciplines-including mass communication, history, sociology, urban studies, ethnic studies, and cultural studies- Public Cultureoffers refreshing perspectives on a subject of perennial significance.
Table of Contents
Preface: Why Public Culture?p. ix
What Is Public Culture? Agency and Contested Meaning in American Culture-An Introductionp. 1
Public Action
Looking for the Public in Time and Space: The Case of the Los Angeles Plaza from the Eighteenth Century to the Presentp. 29
Remembrance, Contestation, Excavation: The Work of Memory in Oklahoma City, the Washita Battlefield, and the Tulsa Race Riotp. 52
Public Sentiments and the American Remembrance of World War IIp. 67
Public Image
Sponsorship and Snake Oil: Medicine Shows and Contemporary Public Culturep. 91
Entertainment Wars: Television Culture after 9/11p. 114
Screening Pornographyp. 143
Public Space
The Billboard War: Gender, Commerce, and Public Spacep. 171
The Social Space of Shopping: Mobilizing Dreams for Public Culturep. 199
Gates, Barriers, and the Rise of Affinity: Parsing Public-Private Space in Postindustrial Americap. 219
Public Identity
To Serve the Living: The Public and Civic Identity of African American Funeral Directorsp. 249
Denizenship as Transnational Practicep. 263
The Queen's Mirrors: Public Identity and the Process of Transformation in Cincinnati, Ohiop. 273
Epilogue: Pitfalls and Promises: Wither the "Public" in America?p. 303
Notesp. 315
List of Contributorsp. 363
Indexp. 367
Acknowledgmentsp. 375
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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