Culture in the Age of Three Worlds
Before the midpoint of the twentieth century, culture as a subject was routinely relegated to the background of any period's study. From the 1950s on, however, it moved very clearly to the foreground. Suddenly culture was everywhere: no longer the property of an elite, the masses had a culture and culture had a mass. Accordingly, the study of culture and the critique of culture became an increasingly central part of political and intellectual lifethe cultural turn, as it came to be known in the humanities and social sciences. This book is a product of and a reflection on that cultural turn, which Michael Denning argues was a fundamental aspect of the age of three worlds, that short half-century (1945-1989) when it was imagined that the world was divided into threethe capitalist first world, the communist second world, and the decolonizing third world. Recasting the legacies of British cultural studies and the radical traditions of the American studies movement in a global context, Denning analyses the political and intellectual battles over the meanings of culture, addresses the rise of a distinctive "American ideology" based on this short "American century", and charts the lineaments of the global cultures that emerged as three worlds gave way to one.
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