Common Culture: Symbolic Work At Play In The Everyday Cultures Of The Young

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9780813310978: Common Culture: Symbolic Work At Play In The Everyday Cultures Of The Young

'High culture' and art are often categories of exclusion more than of inclusion, with little appeal to young people and little connection with their lives. To many, art is something special or heightened, displayed in galleries but not part of the everyday lives of 'normal' people.

Yet there is, Paul Willis insists, a vibrant symbolic life and creativity in everyday activity and expression. People repeatedly attempt to communicate something about their actual of potential cultural significance. According to Wills, 'the genie of common culture is out of the bottle - let out by commercial carelessness. Not stuffing it back in, but seeing which wishes may be granted should be the stuff of our imagination.

This living common culture is the focus of this provocative and uplifting book. Looking at the everyday culture of youth, Willis reveals the extraordinary symbolic creativity of the ways in which people use, humanize, decorate and invest with meaning their life spaces and social practices - through their choice of clothes, television, music, fashion, the rituals of romance, styles of banter, and friendships. Far from being trivial, the pursuit of cultural expression in everyday life is crucial in an era of modernization and a crisis of values to the creation and sustenance of individual and group identities, revealing that for youth, 'there is work, even desperate work, in their play.'

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Paul E. Willis
Published by Westview Press (1990)
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Paul E. Willis, Simon Jones (Contributor), Joyce Canaan (Contributor), Geoff Hurd (Contributor)
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