Cultural politics and taste

By Ruth Holliday and Tracey Potts



  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-6616-0
  • Pages: 288
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £17.99
  • Published Date: September 2012
  • BIC Category: The arts / Art & design styles: from c 1960, Art History, Later 20th century c 1950 to c 1999, History of art, ART / Popular Culture, ART / History / Contemporary (1945-), Art & Design Styles: Postmodernism


From bottle gardens, the bachelor pad and Batman to designer gnomes and monogamy spray, this book uses a diverse range of objects to explore the changing significance of kitsch. With its unique approach to its subject, Kitsch! Cultural politics and taste promises to advance debates in cultural studies and sociology around taste, while providing an invaluable introduction for students and interested readers.

Kitsch! examines how the idea of kitsch is mobilised - progressively, as bad taste, as camp and as cool - to inform notions of identity and sensibility. Where most studies proceed from the kitsch object, this book takes the moment of aesthetic judgement as its starting point and attempts to identify the ideological work performed by the category itself. The book poses the strongest challenge to those who argue that taste is democratised in contemporary culture, offering ample evidence that judgements of taste have shifted ground rather than relaxed.

Above all, the story of kitsch proposed by the authors is intended to disturb kitsch's reputation as the source of a ready-made sensibility and politics. Kitsch has a history and not, as it has been supposed, an essence and is consequently the site of love, hate, joy, exasperation, irony, nausea and all of the twisted possibilities between.


List of figures and plates
1 Introduction
2 Kitsch taste
3 Kitsch man
4 Camp kitsch
5 Cool kitsch
6 Disaster kitsch
7 Conclusion


Ruth Holliday is Professor of Gender and Culture in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies at the University of Leeds|Tracey Potts is Lecturer in Critical Theory and Cultural Studies at the University of Nottingham

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