I have just read Culture And Class, by John Holden, a pamphlet he has written for the British Council’s Counterpoint initiative.
I don’t want to ruin it for readers by hyping it too much but I’m afraid I can’t resist – this is without doubt the best analysis of the role of culture in British society I have ever read.
The essay is entirely accessible and yet deeply insightful into the role of “culture” in sustaining and maintaining both objective and self-identified concepts of class and privilege and thus in sustaining social injustice.
I could have written every word of this and, I’m sure you’ll pleased to hear, have very little to add.
My only observation is that in the domain of what he calls, Commercial Culture, John could have made a distinction between “a lot of choice” (p.56) and breadth of choice. By which I mean that there is sometimes an assumption that the sheer volume of choices available to consumers is a benefit but I would argue that it is the diverse nature of the choices that makes them meaningful. For example 300 TV channels all showing the same repeats from the same original broadcasters is no choice at all.
But over an essay of 65 pages if that is my only observation it really can’t be bad. Anyway, I don’t need to say much more because the pamphlet is free and you can read it yourself right here.
There is also more information and a podcast on the Counterpoint website here.
I Am Not A Number
Political and Philosophical Dispatches From An Individual Living In A Society