New PDF release: Bang! A History of Britain in the 1980s

By Graham Stewart

ISBN-10: 1782391371

ISBN-13: 9781782391371

Britain within the Eighties was once a polarized country. With the 2 major political events as a long way aside as at any time because the Nineteen Thirties, the interval was once riven via violent disagreement, starting with the explosion of rioting that rocked England's towns in 1981 and back in 1985; a year-long struggle with the nationwide Union of Mineworkers, after which with print employees in Wapping. there has been the battle to retake the Falkland Islands and the re-escalation of the worries in Northern eire, which all started with starvation moves and peaked with the try to assassinate the total cupboard within the Brighton bombing. It used to be additionally a decade of political innovation - within the lifestyles and demise of the Social Democratic occasion, the mass privatization of state-owned industries, the sale of council homes and the deregulation of economic markets - and cultural ferment, with the increase and fall of indie pop, the emergence of condominium song, Channel four and the expansion of different comedy; and Prince Charles's interventions on structure. Graham Stewart's awesome and entire background of the eighties covers these kind of occasions, and plenty of extra, with exhilarating verve and aspect, and in addition examines the legacy of a decade that sowed the seeds of recent Britain.

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This definition captures what a number of social institutions (the media, the church, educational institutions) do, but it does not capture the wider impact that certain concentrations of symbolic power may have. A strong concept of symbolic power, by contrast, would insist that some concentrations of symbolic power (for example, the concentration from which contemporary media institutions benefit) are so great that they dominate the whole social landscape; as a result, they seem so natural, that they are misrecognised (to borrow a term from Pierre Bourdieu),2 and their underlying arbitrariness becomes difficult to see.

Yet they assume that rituals have ‘powerful’ effects. Indeed they attribute enormous power to rituals – to externalise social reality, even to make certain experiences possible (Douglas 1984: 64; cf. Rappaport 1999: 119–21, 138) – but without dwelling on the potentially divisive notion of symbolic power. Similarly when Mary Douglas (1984: 114) states that ‘the idea of society is a powerful image … it has external boundaries, margins, internal structure. Its outlines contain power to reward conformity and repulse attack’, she does not unpack the nature of this ‘power’ – who possesses it, who does not, and under what conditions.

Symbolic violence is therefore inherent to the media’s operations but it can only be unpacked through a theory of the specific rituals and ritualisations that sustain it on a day-to-day basis. BEYOND THE MYTH(S) OF THE CENTRE First, we need to isolate and name one form of misrecognition that helps frame all the other specific misrecognitions involved in media rituals. I shall call this the ‘myth of the centre’, and explain its relationship to another myth which I will call ‘the myth of the mediated centre’.

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Bang! A History of Britain in the 1980s by Graham Stewart


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