Culture Power History: A Reader in Contemporary Social Theory is an anthology of some very great writings in social theory by some of the best writers on the subjects. This book contains some incredibly observant and trenchant writing by some of the biggest names in contemporary philosophy, including Donna Haraway, Michel Foucault, Dick Hebdige, and Raymond Williams.
The great Donna Haraway is represented in a fascinating essay titled Teddy Bear Patriarchy: Taxidermy in the Garden of Eden. The essay makes several brilliant observations linking white male dominated history and museums that pay white males to go to Africa and steal culture from tribal natives.
Linda Alcoff contributes a chapter on feminist theory called Cultural Feminism versus Post-Structuralism: The Identity Crisis in Feminist Theory.
Tony Bennett, not the singer, weighs in with The Exhibitionary Complex pays a debt to Foucault, as well as to Haraway’s earlier essay, in its analysis the institutional history of museums.
Pierre Bourdieu offers Structures, Habitus, Power: Basis for a Theory of Symbolic Power, which examines how identity is structured by concrete environments.
The legendary social philosopher Michel Foucault serves up Two Lectures offers particularly cogent analysis of power and resistance.
Dick Hebdige continues his fascinating examination into pop culture with After The Masses, which offers his own unique analysis of Jean Baudrillard and his theory of simulation.
Other interesting examinations of power and culture and their effects on history and vice versa include a truly profound and incisive chapter on that cultural phenomenon known the world over as Madonna. After reading Susan McClary’s Living to Tell: Madonna’s Resurrection of the Fleshly, even the material girls’ harshest critic can’t help but come away impressed by how much influence her popularity carries in the world of social theoretics.
Equally interesting is Susan Harding’s The Born-Again Telescandals which takes a postmodern look at the evangelical scandals of the 80s and how they ruptured the whole myth of modernity.