Dissertation > Culture, science,education, sports > Cultural Theory > Cultural Philosophy

A Cultural and Political Aesthetics Study on Tony Bennett SPECIALIZATION:Western Marxist Aesthetics

Author ZhouHaiLing
Tutor WangJie
School Nanjing University
Course Literature and Art
Keywords Tony Bennett Popular Culture Reading Formation CulturalGovernmentality
Type PhD thesis
Year 2011
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As an important leader after Raymond Williams and Stuart Hall on Cultural Studies, in1980’s, Tony Bennett helps to definite Popular Culture and promotes the academic paradigm of Turn to Gramsci. In1990’s, Tony Bennett is a key figure in emerging Australian Cultural Studies, whose Cultural Policy studies which he initiates has become an considerable part in diversified Cultural Studies. The cultural studies of Tony Bennett have always integrated with rise, development, change and decadency in British Cultural Studies. For the above reasons, this paper studies on Tony Bennett’s cultural studies and through which clarifies the evolutionary mechanism of Cultural Studies after1980’s, and discriminates some primary problems and key conceptions, so as to develop the range and quality of Cultural Studies in China.According to the historical order of Cultural Studies, combining historical and logical methods, relating with the problems and debates in the development of Cultural Studies, and comparing the theory response with other scholars in the same period, this paper analyzes the logic of important theory transitions:the reason Tony Bennett’s cultural studies turn from Marxism theory of literature to Cultural Studies, and then to Popular Cultural studies, and in the end turn to cultural govemmentality.This dissertation is divided into four major parts including introduction, part I, part Ⅱ and conclusion. The introduction traces the academic career of Tony Bennett, then outlines the study field and achievement, and elaborates present research and research value. On the base of a large amount of information, the introduction demonstrates the research significance of Tony.Part Ⅰ consists of five chapters. With the title of ’Text, Reader and Reading Formation’, this part discusses Tony Bennett’s popular cultural study from1975to late1980s. Tony has improved Cultural Studies form ’culture’ to ’popular culture’ Because early cultural Marxist such as Raymond Williams and Richard Haggard hadn’t been absolutely severed to leavisism, the task left to subsequent cultural Marxist such as Stuart Hall and Tony Bennett is to explain the reason for the study of popular culture. By the means of linguistics, Tony establishes the value of popular culture as text. Around the relationship of popular culture, text and reader, Tony present some important opinions like ’text in history’,’reading formation’,’turn to Gramsci’, and ’determined active reader’.Chapter one, An Incomplete Severability, analyzes what is the starting point of Tony’s research, the transition of Cultural Studies from theory of literature to cultural studies, then to popular cultural studies. Chapter two, An Analysis of Occurrence with Popular Cultural Studies expounds how Tony accepts Bakhtin’s linguistic theory of Marxism and deconstructs metaphysic text, which is the underlying logic of Formalism Aesthetics, for instance, Leavisism, Western Marxism literary theory and Anglo-American New Criticism. Chapter three, Text in History, sets forth the Marxism popular cultural text Tony constructs. Advancing’reading formation’, Tony illuminates the dynamic and inter-productive relationship of formation between one text and another, text and reader/the popular, text and social structure. As text is always in reading formation, text is in history. Chapter four, Turn to Gramsci and the limit of Popular Cultural Text, explains that text in reading formation is the struggling field where cultural hegemony takes place, where power is to involve, fight, win, lose, negotiate, consult. As the studies of popular culture spread unchecked and have the tendency of depoliticization, Tony probes the limit of popular culture. Chapter five, Reader in Reading Formation and Determined Active Reader, research the reader theory in reading formation. Tony states that reading is arranged and regulated by material mechanism and institution in discourse practice, so there is determined active reader. Tony discovers that restrictive factor-cultural institution and discourse system-determinedly influences the text and reader. All these indicate that the theoretical framework of an extension from Gramsci to Foucault.Part Ⅱ consists of four chapters, titled by Cultural Governmentality-Cultural Technique to Shape of the Aesthetic Subject. This part discusses cultural governmentality of Tony’s study from the early1990s to the present. Governmentality, which Foucault advanced on relationship of liberal government, aesthetics and subject, specially designed to meet the explanation of the social changes since the1980s. Tony expands the political philosophy of Foucault’s to the concept of cultural aesthetics. As a cultural technique, in order to shape the public, cultural governmentality explains that liberal government use cultural institutions and cultural policies to operate aesthetic knowledge. From the angle of practices of governance, Tony studies the role of cultural and aesthetic practice, and extends governmentality to the research for the cultural system (museums and other collections), cultural policy and intellectual.Chapter one, Turn to Foucault-a Genetic Research for Cultural Governmentality, inquires into the reality and theory reason why Tony shifted from Gramsci’s theoretical framework to Foucault’s. Chapter two, from Governmentality to Cultural Governmentality-the Development Which Tony Do for Foucault’s Research for Governmentality, elucidates the connotations of Tony’s theory of cultural governmentality. Chapter three, Aesthetic Historicization and Cultural Governmentality, compares Tony’s research of cultural governmentality with the British tradition of cultural criticism and the British Marxist Aesthetic theory of ideology, and shows Tony’s contribution to cultural governmentality. Chapter four, Museum and Cultural Governmentality, explores the manipulation of culture governmentality. Public museums are space to function the governance of liberal government to product knowledge and shape subject.Conclusion reflects and criticizes the cultural studies of Tony, evaluates Tony’s position and contribution in the British Marxist pedigree, and reflects on Tony’s research for cultural governmentality.Appendix is an illustration of cultural governmentality. This essay,with the title of Collective Memory, Aesthetic Ritual and Governmentality:An Analysis of The Memorial Hall of The Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders And The Crossing the Yangzi River Campaign New Memorial Hall, illustrates practical significance of cultural governmentality theory with the aesthetic experience in modern war memorial hall.

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