By Graham Stewart
Britain within the Nineteen Eighties was once a polarized kingdom. With the 2 major political events as some distance aside as at any time because the Thirties, the interval used to be riven through violent disagreement, starting with the explosion of rioting that rocked England's towns in 1981 and back in 1985; a year-long struggle with the nationwide Union of Mineworkers, after which with print employees in Wapping. there has been the battle to retake the Falkland Islands and the re-escalation of the concerns in Northern eire, which started with starvation moves and peaked with the try and assassinate the total cupboard within the Brighton bombing. It used to be additionally a decade of political innovation - within the lifestyles and demise of the Social Democratic get together, the mass privatization of state-owned industries, the sale of council homes and the deregulation of economic markets - and cultural ferment, with the increase and fall of indie pop, the emergence of residence tune, Channel four and the expansion of different comedy; and Prince Charles's interventions on structure. Graham Stewart's superb and accomplished background of the eighties covers these kinds of occasions, and plenty of extra, with exhilarating verve and element, and in addition examines the legacy of a decade that sowed the seeds of contemporary Britain.
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Additional info for Bang! A History of Britain in the 1980s
Conclusion It may be that many of the essays in this section now bear interest only for essentially archival reasons, or at best for active historical reasons (in the sense of assisting ways of understanding how we got to be where we are today). Certainly most of these authors would see their later work as having superseded (or in some cases sensibly retreated from) positions of too great a simplicity or stridency. However the core of these essays, especially when taken as a group, was and is a nagging away at what, perhaps inevitably, still remains the central dilemma of those concerned with the ‘literature-and-society’ duality or with any kind of text-based cultural studies.
On The Long Revolution’, New Left Review, May/June and July/August 1961. P. The Making of the English Working Class, London, Gollancz, 1963. Williams, R. The Long Revolution, London, Chatto and Windus, 1961. Williams, R. ‘Literature and Sociology: in Memory of Lucien Goldmann’, New Left Review No. 67, May/June 1971. P. is a member of the Centre de Sociologie Européenne in Paris and is co-author of Le Metier de Sociologie. The essay here translated by Richard Dyer appears as the introduction to the French edition of The Users of Literacy.
More subtle still is the attempt to establish the ‘baroque’ norms of popular art in narrative structure of conversations, in the over-elaborate style of the furnishing and objets trouvés, in the cloying form of sentimental song, in the highly coloured composition of a marriage feast or in the fairground atmosphere and truculent appeal of entertainments. Here, The Uses of Literacy hints at the inadequacy the vocabulary of ‘art’ when applied to a ‘taste’ which, like popular taste, refers to principles indistinguishable from ethical norms, be it in the worth attached to the serious and to the minutiae of a work, or in the value given to sentiments and sentimentality, or else in the primacy given to moral ediﬁcation and to the sensuous enjoyment of the struggle over form.
Bang! A History of Britain in the 1980s by Graham Stewart