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William Morris (1834 - 1896)

Lifespan: 1834 - 1896

Related: arts and crafts movement - cultural studies (precursor to) - cultural marxism - furniture - designer - UK

"Artichoke" wallpaper, by John Henry Dearle for William Morris & Co., ca 1897 (Victoria and Albert Museum)
Image sourced here.

Cultural Studies evolved from two different angles of interest that both were concerned with the loss of a binding communal aspect in the public sphere and the need to find a voice for or enable to speak certain groups of individuals or groups of cultural artefacts that found no place in the institutional organization of their time to participate in public and political debates. The first predecessor of Cultural Studies comes from the Arts, the second from Sociology. Yet both are intricately interwoven, and both are marked by the way in which they perceive the transition from a popular culture in terms of a folk culture or a communal culture to mass culture, that is the popular culture dominated by the culture industry. The history of cultural studies is the history of scholars coping with the relationship between cultural artefacts and their audience, between the mass media and their effects on the reader and the viewer and between the meanings imposed by preferred readings from canonical points of view on cultural artefacts that did and do not know how to resist them.

The first indication that the terminology and the traditional distinction between a perceived 'high' and 'low' culture could no longer be upheld came with the Arts and Crafts movement and one of its founders William Morris. --Rob Van Kranenburg, http://simsim.rug.ac.be/schole/cshistory.html


William Morris (March 24, 1834 - October 3, 1896) was one of the principal founders of the British Arts and Crafts Movement and is best known as a designer of wallpaper and patterned fabrics, a writer of poetry and fiction, and an early founder of the socialist movement in Britain. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Morris [Jan 2005]

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