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Robert Dunn

Related: mass culture - sociology - postmodernism

Identity crises (1998) - Robert Dunn
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Mass culture

In his own analysis of mass culture, Dunn makes a further observation. "Technologies of reproduction," he argues, "make technology itself the leading determinant of cultural relationships and meanings. In these circumstances, the traditional modernist opposition between 'high' and 'mass' culture tends to collapse" (Dunn, 1991, p.114). --Dunn, R., "Post-modernism: Populism, Mass Culture and Avant-Garde" in Theory, Culture and Society, Vol. 8, No.1, Feb 1991.

Critique of the Frankfurt School

[...] the members of the Frankfurt School suffered from "Grand Hotel" syndrome. The [...] intellectual perspective of the Frankfurt School is really a romantic, elitist critique of mass culture dressed-up in neo-Marxist clothing: what really bothers the critical theorists, in this view, is not social oppression but that the masses like Ian Fleming and the Beatles instead of Samuel Beckett and Webern. --http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankfurt_School

Identity crises

A Social Critique of Postmodernity

Robert G. Dunn

Though the term "postmodern" looms large on our cultural landscape, rarely do we find a systematic and impartial discussion of the circumstances of its ascendance. Identity Crises offers just such an accounting. In this book, Robert G. Dunn situates the intellectual currency of "the postmodern" within the larger context of social and cultural change shaping the movement over the past several decades. Along the way, he offers a necessary corrective to both the sociological and historical shortcomings of cultural criticism and the cultural myopia of social science in considering the postmodern world.

Dunn explains contemporary culture and contemporary cultural criticism as part of a distinct historical moment, one that entails new social relations as a consequence of new means of production. In place of prevailing cultural and political constructions, Dunn proposes a "social relational" approach that explicitly recognizes the structural and situational contexts of identity formation. He conceptualizes issues of identity and difference in terms of social, cultural, and political transformations in the transition from modern to postmodern society. This provides a socio-historical perspective through which to consider the impact of consumption, mass media, globalization, and new social movements on identity-forming processes.

Unique to this undertaking and crucial to Dunn's critique of poststructuralist and postmodern theories is his application of the theory of George Herbert Mead as a more effective means of theorizing identity and difference. Dunn's focus on postmodernity as opposed to postmodernism serves to ground the analysis of identity and difference materially and socially.

Learned, evenhanded, and enlightening, Identity Crises is an essential demonstration of the connections between cultural theory and criticism, contemporary culture, and sociological analysis.

"Clearly written and well-organized book. This is an excellent book that should be read by all sociologists." óContemporary Sociology

"At last Dunn provides a grounded sociological vision with his balanced, careful, and learned assessment of the cultural and historical factors affecting postmodernity. He provides a profound sociological assessment of the evolution and the future of a postmodernist orientation. Dunn has performed a heroic task in evaluating and incorporating the many authorities into what he calls his 'social critique.'" óWorld Literature Today

Robert G. Dunn is professor of sociology at California State University. His work has appeared in the journals Media, Culture, and Society; Theory, Culture, and Society; Socialist Review; California Sociologist; and The Sociological Quarterly.

$90.00 Cloth ISBN 0-8166-3072-0

$30.00 Paper ISBN 0-8166-3073-9

304 pages | 5 7/8 x 9 | 1998

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