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Cultural Nationalism - Culture And Nationalism: Separate Ideas, From Europe To A Worldview, Bibliography

literature political practices literary

Literary critics and historians use cultural nationalism to refer to collective practices that form modern political communities within, unsanctioned by, or even undercutting state authority. Such collective practices include the "high" culture disseminated via public media, established in publicly funded institutions such as universities and museums; as well as the "low" culture of popular performance and markets. Cultural nationalism, then, is distinct from patriotism, national literatures, or similar state-referenced collective identities. At present, cultural nationalism figures in discussions of why English literature should be taught in universities, as well as those concerning the content and selection criteria for what is taught as comparative literature. Even though Britain plays a minor role in international trade and politics, Britain's works of literature continue to serve as the standard of taste and literary value. Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin (1989) note that, even when postcolonial societies achieve political independence, the issue of colonialism remains relevant. Early-twenty-first-century historians also use cultural nationalism to discuss affinities, experiences, or practices that serve as the basis for common political views; what unites individuals (who may even carry different passports) could be common language and ethnic identity—even literary and musical tastes, dramatic films, cuisine, and sports spectatorship.

Two references to the definition of culture can serve as starting points for a discussion of cultural nationalism in literature. The first is from Raymond Williams's Culture and Society (1958). His four-part definition considers culture from both humanistic and anthropological perspectives, granting the same importance to those who define cultural practices for the global North's institutions of higher education, as to those who live culture every day. Williams liberates nationalism from the state and its patriotisms. Those who were denied privileged access to the state and public institutions—women, economic under classes, and others—participated in forming the nation even though Empire was a fundamental and constitutive part of Europe's social fabric, intellectual discourse, and the imaginary lives of its citizenry. Politically committed British academics led by Stuart Hall (Popular Arts [1965] and The Young Englanders [1967]) insisted that ongoing economic and political relations with the postcolonial United States formed "universal" traditions increasingly identified with European-American modernity.

Cultural Revivals - Critical Approaches, Fourth World Revivals, Ethnic Nationalisms And Race-centered Solidarities, Theoretical Trajectories And Contemporary Contexts [next] [back] Cultural History - Culture And Language, Material And Spiritual Culture, Twentieth–century Developments, Bibliography

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