Does the Working Class Have a Culture in the Anthropological Sense?

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Essay Excerpt

Recent work at the University of Birmingham's Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies has raised an interesting new problematic for cultural theory. A number of anthropologists studying ideology and cultural hegemony are already working on these questions and producing new studies of cultural reproduction and resistance. This article starts with Paul Willis's concept of a class culture and further develops his ideas with critical theory, symbolic interactionist, and anthropological perspectives. This reading of class and cultural theory suggests a more political concept of culture and cultural assimilation. It also suggests a variety of different questions that anthropologists can ask about everyday cultural life and communicative practices in capitalist societies. This perspective was used in an ethnographic study of cultural reproduction and resistance in one South Texas high school (Foley 1989). The analysis of class culture reproduction is part of a community-level class analysis of the Chicano civil rights movement (Foley et al. 1988). (Foley, 137) 

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