The Tyranny of Relativism: Culture and Politics in Contemporary English Society
The Tyranny of Relativism is an impassioned attempt by one of England's most distinguished critics to capture the feel of British culture at the end of the twentieth century: its moods, attitudes, and institutions. Richard Hoggart presents a double argument, suggesting first that cultural dilemmas stem from a long slide towards moral relativism, as consumerism rather than authority increasingly determines the texture of life; and secondly, that despite its claims to the contrary, British Conservative governments have exploited these changes to their own ends.
Blunt and forthright, humorous and humane, Hoggart supports his themes by analyzing particular forms of change--in education at all levels, in the arts, mass and popular entertainment, in broadcasting, in the use of language, and in the uncertain base of "cultural studies" themselves. But he also shows how some social forces have worked against this monumental process: old-style checks and balances, the resistance of class sentiments, the uneasy sense of lost values. But in this series of cultural struggles, the intellectuals are noteworthy by their absence.
The great merit of "The Tyranny of Relativism "is its resistance to platitudes, and its fearless probing of thorny questions that go to the heart of Western cultural traditions for a new age. When Hoggart concludes by asking "where do we go now" no one should expect complacency. In "The Tyranny of Relativism, "Hoggart makes the reader appreciate the silent complicity of the intellectual class for the cultural rot of relativism characteristic of western culture today. The book is must reading for those engaged in cultural studies, European politics, literary criticism, and the sociology of knowledge.
RELATIVISM TO OPPORTUNISM
Riding Relativisms Wave
i Them and Us
ii Just Us or Just Them
iii Mary and Martha
ASPECTS OF THE DOMINANT MOOD
Distortions of Education
i The Climate
GRIT ON THE FLYWHEEL
Home Thoughts OldStyle Checks and Balances
From Class to Status Resistance by Transference
ii Status and LifeStyle
iii Piggybacks Partial Profiles and Emotional Energy
Patrons and Sponsors
i Why Give at all in an Open Society?
ii Class Education the Arts and Public Duty
v Adult Education Today
The Arts Intellectual Artistic and Academic Relativism
iii Literary Essences
Meaning and Modern Theory
v Literary Influences
Angles on Mass and Popular Culture
i Characteristics of Mass Culture
ii Elements of Popular Culture
The Betrayal of Broadcasting
iv Broadcasting and the Arts
v The 1990 Broadcasting Act and After
Misuses of Language
i Linguistic Tics
ii Dodging Reality and Judgment
iii Language and Ideology
iv Hospital Kindly Gentility
v Embarrassed by the Words
Ways of Looking Compass Bearings in a WideOpen Society?
ii Where Did it All Begin?
iii Theory? Naturally
iv Elements of Cultural Reading
v Some Rules of Thumb
vi Instances of Surprise
iii Grassroots Ethnic Arts and their Claims
iv Confused Alarms of Struggle and Fight
v Patronage and Sponsorship
vi Who Should Get What and How?
vii Spreading Your Arts Abroad
Effects of Mass Media Kinds of Censorship a Bakers Dozen
i Counterweights and Contradictions Again
ii Effects Broadcasting and Elsewhere
iii Kinds of Censorship
iv Am I My Brothers Keeper
Ancestral Voices Myths and Mottoes to Live By
ii Sophisticated Memories
iii Three Types of Aphorism
iv Walking on the Water
WHO NEEDS A CLERISY?
Democratic Representations and Democratic Spirits
i Confrontation Consensus and Cohesion
ii Jude and His Kind
Diverse Voices and Opinion Formers
i A Mixed Bunch Mainly Official
ii Reviewers and Some Critics
iii No Committees Please Were English
iv Jobs for Intellectuals?
A SUMMINGUP AND A VERY QUALIFIED PROSPECTUS
Where are We and Where Do We Go from Here?
ii Old Strengths
iii New Opportunities
iv What to Do About It? or Lets Put Out the Lights and Go to Sleep?