Cultural Feelings: Mood, Mediation and Cultural Politics sets out to examine the role of feelings and mood in the production of social and cultural experience. By returning to the work of Raymond Williams, and informed by recent ‘affect theory’, it treats feeling as a foundational term for cultural studies.
Ben Highmore argues that feelings are political and cultural forms that orchestrate our encounters with the world. He utilises a range of case studies from twentieth-century British culture, focusing in particular on Home Front morale during the Blitz, the experiences of Caribbean migration in the post-war decades, the music of post-punk bands in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and more recent ‘state of the nation’ film and television, including Our Friends in the North and This is England. He finds evidence in oral history, in films, photographs, television, novels, music, policy documents, and journalism. Through these sources, this book tells a vivid and compelling story of our most recent history and argues that the urgent task for a progressive cultural politics will require the changing of moods as well as minds.
Cultural Feelings is essential reading for students and researchers with an interest in affect theory, emotion and culture.
Table of Contents
- Feeling our Way and Getting in the Mood (An Introduction)
- Cultural Feelings (Some Theoretical Coordinates)
- Morale Work (Experience Feeling Itself)
- Bombsites and Playgrounds (A Wrecked, Indifferent Calm)
- City of Strangers (Qualities of Disappointment)
- Deep Doubts and Exorbitant Hopes (Something is Happening)
- Mood, Generation, Nation (Feelings and Cultural Politics)
- Post Referendum Blues (Postscript)
Ben Highmore is Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Sussex. His most recent books are The Great Indoors (2014) and Culture (2016). His book The Art of Brutalism: Rescuing Hope from Catastrophe in 1950s Britain is due to be published in 2017.
"Highmore demonstrates a dynamic way to marry theoretical insights with diligent empirical inquiry. Through the empirical chapters, Highmore’s theory comes alive, and becomes felt, in the way cultural feelings are meant to be." - Danielle Hanley, EuropeNow: a journal of research & art