The structure of modern cultural theory

By Thomas Osborne

The structure of modern cultural theory


  • Paperback
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-7823-1
  • Pages: 176
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: September 2008
  • BIC Category: Sociology, Cultural studies, PHILOSOPHY / Movements / Deconstruction, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General, Deconstructionism, Structuralism, Post-Structuralism, Society & social sciences / Cultural studies, Cultural Studies


What is the point of cultural theory? Do we even know what it is? This book is at once an introduction to, and, broadly, a defence of modern cultural theory understood as a particular constellation of inquiry, one that may be all the more important in our postmodern times the more seemingly irrelevant it is to current fashions.

Focusing on the work of Theodor Adorno, Pierre Bourdieu and Michel Foucault the book argues that in spite of their differences these authors shared particularly 'modern' understandings of culture, creativity and human agency; understandings centred on the ideas of critical autonomy and creativity of thought. Even though all three were committed to scholarly empirical research, for them the function of cultural theory was not just to describe the world positivistically 'as it is' (or was) but to cultivate the conditions for ethical autonomy in their readerships by opening up ways for thinking differently and exposing the fetishisms and blockages that hinder that task.


1. Culture - an antinomical view
2. Adorno as educator
3. Foucault and the ethics of subjectivity
4. Bourdieu, ethics and reflexivity
5. A note on post-modern cultural theory


Thomas Osborne is Professor of Sociology at the University of Bristol

The structure of modern cultural theory

By Thomas Osborne

Hardcover £80.00 / $120.00

Paperback £15.99 / $23.95

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