MIT 2200Lecture 1 Culturalism Jan 15 th
The Earliest Universities –Haskins
One example of how the human drive to communicate, ‘make common,’ to learn
12 Century Renaissnce
Southern Universities in Italy
A move beyond already entrenched forms of knowledge (via the Church: grammar,
rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry)
Informed by movement of peoples, the growth of the learned professions
Grew in centers of material trade.
A Universitas of Students
Universitas denotes only the totality of a group –Haskins 23
In ITALY: focused on medicine in Salerno and law in Bologna
Growth of a student class:
Sons of nobility or growing merchant class
Students leveraged their collective power over a town town versus gown conflicts and
Professors at the Mercy of Students
had to secure a regular audience of five in their lectures
They were not allowed to not show up to lecture or leave town
Not allowed to skip or change material
Worked on a fee per lecture basis
Everything relied on the students and if they showed up
Professors also formed guilds—requiring admission
‘License to teach’—the earliest degrees. At the end of the course the students would get
a degree called “a License to teach”
Universities formed out of Cathedral schools: original power of curriculum held by the
Rector and chancellor
Eventually students turned away from Church teachings, gathered in Paris to hear the
teachings of Peter Abelard:
“the brilliant young radical with his persistent questioning and his scant respect for titled
authority, drew students in large numbers wherever he taught”
The students took the Universities out and onto the street. They were looking for
freedom of their teachings. Because of this they were given a status as a student legally
to have better rights than nonstudents
It was a student privilege and exemption fromregular rule of law
University developed as a Corporation of masters 1231:
Universities are made of People
Earliest remains of university architecture not before 14 century Universities not about buildings or administrators—but are made of men, an association
of students and teachers bound together in a common life of learning (34)
A site of culture/cultural production/communication shaped by both material exigencies
and spiritual imaginative yearning
Was governed by the people. It was not about the buildings, people would go to pubs to
learn as ‘students’. It was just about people looking to learn.
Being physically present in a room or place or on the street, and talking about ideas, in
Mass Society Critics
Responded to the impact of the huge changes of the industrial revolution and the
massification of culture:
the rise of the extension of the vote, urbanization, mass education, rise of new
media technologies (camera, photography, the printing press, radio, film), rise of
the working class and middle class, dwindling of the aristocracy, loss of
traditional centers of authority—church and family
living at a moment of mass social change
All of sudden, people that never had access to these things that we live around, all of a
sudden had these things. It was all new
Through this social change TWO DEFINITIONS OF CULTURE emerged:
1) Culture as mass produced and imposed by industry—to produce mass films and
newspapers, so that large swaves of people were all informed and brought
together through this industrialization
2) Culture of the working class emerged in response to these changes and to the
growing power of the upper classes. Saw the labour market shift and change,
many people left their farms and went to work in factories. It was a start of
unionization. To create culture from the industrialization but to express political
approaches to the place they live. Started to vote, get involved and had a say.
They started to agitate
Matthew Arnold and Lucas critics:
feared the mass as destructive, bestial, violent
the growth of the working class and the rights of more lower class people threatened the
people who already had power.
believed some people were naturally better than others and that it should remain that
way. Believed that some people were smarter than others, and that they should deserve
the money they get (The idea of the modern day rich 1%)
Worried that mass culture and giving too many people too much power would dumb
down society, bring moral disorder and anarchy
Culture is ‘the best that has been thought and said in the world”
Culture is the ability to recognize the best when you see it
Culture is the application of moral, spiritual perfection (inner quality that we look and
desire to be like) (to get cultured)
Culture is the drive toward, seeking of perfection “Sweetness and light” “The highly instructed few and not the scantily instructed many, will ever be organ to the
human race of knowledge and truth. Knowledge and truth in the full sense of the words,
are not attainable by the great mass of the human race at all”
Pretty well said that not all could bring knowledge to the human race, only a select few
could bring about the culture of the world.
Matthew Arnolds Oxford. A place where the upper middle and upper class could go to
assume their natural position going toward. Where the upper elites could got o network,
make friends, and further their power. It was a place of privilege.
being culture is a minority from his perspective.
Arnold “A Revolution from Above”
Working class had lost the strong feudal habits of subordination and deference—
emboldened by the franchise 1867
High culture was to be a weapon, along with police and the state for keeping the unruly
majority in their place
Education in the ways of high culture. Education was the way to culture in Arnolds
Was not looking to uphold the industrialization, but that you could not let power get into
the hands of the middle working class. That is was meant for the upper class and true
F.R. And Queenie Leavis
F.R and his wife continued Arnold’s concern about the massification of culture and the
rise of anarchy.
The forces of the market and the politicization of the working class caused the
degradation of cultural and social values
That it was degrading the culture of society and losing what was truly good as aposed to
a ‘cheap knock off’
At the time F.R only wrote his name on their works, even though his wife was also
involved. Only later were people told that she also wrote.
Folk Culture Eroded by Mass Culture
What we have lost is the organic community with the living culture it embodied. Folk
songs, folk dances and Cotswold cottages and handicraft products are signs and
expressions of something more.
Believed that these old traditions have been ruined due to mass culture
For F.R and Queenie they believed that mass culture is addictive, like a drug we drool in
front of it.
Mass culture panders to the lowest common denominator.
Called it indulgent ‘masturbatory’ and provides a pale substitute for real life.
Education in real culture must be provided to help children resist its charms and create a
public educated n high culture and tradition.
They thought we need to bring education about mass culture, especially advertising
which they saw as cheats and lies. Should teach kids that this mass culture is not quality
and high culture.
tried to teach people the degraded things of the time versus the true cultured works. Leavisism:
The Leavis’ view were enormously influentioal in the development of media studies
until the 60s
Culture is tied to politics and makes a difference in the way society develops
Popular culture and media need to be taught in schools
Believed that the media governs how our world is run and how it changes perspectives,
and that it needs to be critically looked at and educated through schooling.
That media makes a difference to politics
After World War 2 we see a rise of issues to these
Culturalism: Hoggart and Williams
Were writing in response to the changes wrought by World War 2 in Britiain. Were
writing just after England had been destroyed by the War and when the industry had to
There was a new surge of challenges in democratization.
They both came from working class backgrounds and political commitments informed
their work on cult