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Mass Civilization and Minority Culture by F.R Leavis.

In this reading Leavis, tries to define what exactly culture is. No culture is the word that even today's society struggle to define. He used an interesting description to define the word 'culture'...

''a kind of paper currency based upon a very small proportion of gold''

Leavis then attempts to explain this through the eyes of Shakespeare. I feel that he is portraying that everybody is aware and knowledgeable of Shakespeare's works but yet only a minority can appreciate them. Even in today's society only a specialized 'culture' of people would dare attempt to read the works of Shakespeare. I would agree with Leavis as even I wouldn't be able to apperciate the works of one of the popular culture writers but yet I know exactly who he is.

When this work was written by Leavis it was the time that mass media was on the rise and Leavis seen this as a ''culture crisis''. He feared that the rise of ''Americanization'' would lead to Britain would lack British culture that separates them fromt he rest of the world. Leavis worrie that the world would become one culture with no difference and we would all be considered as one.

I would disagree with Leavis on his opinion of the whole level of Americanization. Yes i do agree that we are more then ever like one big country as we all can speak one language been English making it easy to communicate with one another. However I feel that each and every country in the world will always have their 'culture'. Take Ireland for example, when they were ruled by Britain we fought to keep ore culture and identity. We won and to this day our culture has not been comprised with Irish sport (hurling, GAA) more played in the country than of or foreign sports like football. Every country has there own identity and culture that will always be evident even if we might adapt some areas of other cultures.

''the standardization in the form represented by the Press, it becomes obviously of sinister significance that they should be accompanied by a process of leveling-down”

One final thought on the reading is that Leavis describes the press as a system of mass production that should be leveled down.I feel that Leavis was saying that as a mass production it needs to represent a mass culture and that it don't include the ''high brow'' people he refers to in the text. I feel that he may have been right on this account. When you look at the newspapers and thier cultures there is one that fits perfectly into each culture that exists in today's society.


Adela
1/30/2014

Thanks for this summary but I'd add that this work is truly confusing.
It's not so obvious how Mr Leaves seen things at that time. But he was right foreseeing a danger from mass media (1933). Nowadays mass media become a real threat. & I'd point out mainly the web and social networks in first instance.
Cheers.

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Elle Diiva
6/12/2015

The raise in mass media at the time made Leavis believe society was in a “culture crisis”. He blames America for this, and how as a society we have become ‘Americanised’. This is due to the fact that the society and culture changes much more rapidly in American, and the rest of the Western world follows suit, therefore creating an Americanised culture in Britain today. This was a problem for Leavis as he believed that living in an Americanised society would result in the lack of British culture, and also create a singular universal culture for everybody, rather than separate individual values and traditions.

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