American culture has undergone enormous changes in the twentieth century, and among the important new developments none is so profound in its impact on daily life as the emergence of the marketplace. Well before the century began, many Americans were debating issues of culture, and that dispute about meaning, authority, and the effects of culture has not abated since then.
The nine essays in this book explore a variety of events, institutions, and controversies in American culture, from the Chicago World's Fair of 1893, to American religion and the persistence of fundamentalism, and to the complex modern phenomenon of Americanization. At the heart of each essay lies a question that the growth of mass culture and a remarkably intrusive marketplace have posed. To what degree and under what circumstances can or should Americans try to alter the impact of their present unfettered freedom to create and sell culture? Is there no territory which can or should be protected from the corrosive energy of the mass market?
After Americans have struggled with such questions for over 100 years, is it not appropriate and important for other societies to understand something of this history as they, too, face the irresistible power of the world market of culture?
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2000. , 114 p.