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The Economy of Prestige: Prizes, Awards, and the Circulation of Cultural Value by James F. English
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There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. This exceptional book about the culture of prizes is a box of surprises. What appears a limited and straight forward subject at first glance unfolds, under English's subtle and skillfull ministrations, to have far reaching and complex implications on how we use, confer value on and even think about cultural products in our global society. Written with wit, precision and clarity, this book makes one think about the dissemination and propagation of cultural prestige in original and relevant ways.
Best of all, it is continually entertaining. Now if there were only a prize for books about prizes A fascinating subject but a painfully slogging read. In fact, almost unreadable. Especially Toni Morrison, the world's most overrated writer, who wouldn't even be a trivia question if she weren't black. And about the British Booker [book] prize and some other prizes. And some entertaining trivia about the Nobel prizes, the Olympics and movie festivals. The author never uses a short word where five long ones will do. This type can never say "use" when he can say "utilize" or "the utilization of.
I put some random passages into readability tests like the Gunning Fog Index and they are off the charts; poster children for unreadable writing. Some parts are written at such a high level of abstraction that the book sounds like a parody of academic blather. The subject is intrinsically fascinating. The author makes it dull. The book is also marred in places by the author's leftist bias. For example, he indulges in an intemperate and false tirade against, supposedly, Reagan's and Bush's minion's reaction to imaginary racial bias in favor of minorities.
He fails to acknowledge that there was, and is, an actual and pervasive racial spoils system in the "Awards Economy" and elsewhere, especially in academia. Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison and many other blacks have been lionized mainly because they were blacks. If they were white, no one would have cared about their books. One very practical aspect of the book, however, although certainly not the one intended. If the reader is organizing a pretentious literary prize or competition, there are lots of ideas here to copy. Even a list of preposterously pretentious organization and prize names to help he reader generate ideas This book is a great work in cultural sociology and addresses one of the key questions of the field, how different works and authors are consecrated and furthermore what consecration means.
In addition to a very thorough discussion of the mechanics of awards including the widely underestimated labor that goes into judging them and his history of cultural awards -- from their 18th and 19th century academie precursors, through the Nobels, and into the s explosion of televised awards spectacles -- English hammers away at the connection between awards and the romantic ideology of artistic charisma and argues convincingly that awards reinforce this ideology through providing an antagonist for awards bashers and awards refusers. In addition to all that, it's entertaining for an academic book as when, for instance he shows how the various greater and lesser awards for pornography precisely ape and parallel the greater and lesser awards for legitimate film.
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There is a fair amount of theory in the book, but it's not the sort of nihilistic and excessively abstract theory we've come to associate with the humanities since the s. This may still be distracting to lay readers who simply want to read about how awards work, but as an academic whose biases tend towards empiricism I found that it not only helped draw connections between awards and broader social trends but the theory is beautifully exposited and much more accessible than in many of the works English is drawing upon. Seen in this light the book not only describes and theoretically situates awards, but parts of it could serve as a solid introduction to theories like new class, post-industrial society, or cultural capital.
There's a lot of good dish here, especially on the Booker Prize and Toni Morrison. English is a smart guy, and he writes with great fluency and brio. He has read everything there is on the world of prizes, and he draws many interesting connections. I have to admit, though, that in places I found the extensive theoretical scaffolding of the book to be tedious and somewhat overdone.
At the end of the day this book is best suited for those with an academic interest in "cultural criticism. See all 4 reviews. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. Prizes, Awards, and the Circulation of Cultural Value. Set up a giveaway. What other items do customers buy after viewing this item? The Memory of Love. There's a problem loading this menu right now.
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The Economy of Prestige: Prizes, Awards, and the Circulation of Cultural Value
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English Choose a language for shopping. Return to Book Page. The Economy of Prestige: Prizes, Awards, and the Circulation of Cultural Value 3. This is a book about one of the great untold stories of modern cultural life: Such prizes and the competitions they crown are almost as old as the arts themselves, but their number and power--and their consequences for society and culture at large--have expanded to an unprecedented degree in our day. In a wide This is a book about one of the great untold stories of modern cultural life: In a wide-ranging overview of this phenomenon, James F.
English documents the dramatic rise of the awards industry and its complex role within what he describes as an economy of cultural prestige. Observing that cultural prizes in their modern form originate at the turn of the twentieth century with the institutional convergence of art and competitive spectator sports, English argues that they have in recent decades undergone an important shift--a more genuine and far-reaching globalization than what has occurred in the economy of material goods. Focusing on the cultural prize in its contemporary form, his book addresses itself broadly to the economic dimensions of culture, to the rules or logic of exchange in the market for what has come to be called "cultural capital.
And in the specific workings of prizes, their elaborate mechanics of nomination and election, presentation and acceptance, sponsorship, publicity, and scandal, he uncovers evidence of the new arrangements and relationships that have refigured that field. Hardcover , pages. Published November 15th by Harvard University Press first published Prizes, Awards, and the Circulation of Cultural Value. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Economy of Prestige , please sign up.
Be the first to ask a question about The Economy of Prestige. Lists with This Book. Sep 28, Hester rated it did not like it Shelves: I have been trying to read lately while on the elliptical trainer. While some books take more effort I had to reread certain passages of "Sweet Invention" , any sufficiently interesting book still manages to hold my attention on the trainer.
If I want to devote more time to it, I can then read it off the elliptical machine. This book lost my attention because he does not even consider one of the major reasons for the economy of prestige. There are many of us who want an active cultural life, but I have been trying to read lately while on the elliptical trainer. There are many of us who want an active cultural life, but don't have much time due to work and family.
This means our time to consume culture is limited and we do not have time to consume indiscriminately or to consume the criticism that would guide us to what we may enjoy. The Nobel, Pulitzer, and Booker are fast ways to find out what is going on out there, in a world we can only dip into. A model of sociology of literature, a model of what literary studies should do, and also full of funny anecdotes.
The talk around prizes is really funny. Of course the book also deflates all prizes forevermore, so that the only grounds remaining for caring about the outcome of the Nobel, Booker, Oscar, etc.
That's a GOOD thing. Jul 07, Sps rated it liked it Shelves: Sentences to be laughed at for their furrowed-brow pronouncements of extremely limited, self- consciously-pluralist scope and meaning.
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Other sentences of great charm: Perhaps as a way of avoiding the which plagues so much non PoMo fun. Perhaps as a way of avoiding the which plagues so much nonfiction? It's fortuitous that I read Bourdieu just a bit ago, because English's book is informed by Bourdieu and references him often. Various books, not just Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste , but with frequent use of that book's keyword 'habitus' and the multiple forms of capital.
Dec 01, Nickdepenpan rated it did not like it Shelves: That is, long semantic discussions and attempts to define or redefine everyday words which have pretty concrete or common sense definitions in the first place, pretentious references to all the predictable people like Bourdieu or Derrida, tiring and abstract parts on culture and symbolism, etc.