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Society and culture are, together, the sea of people and institutions all around us that we sometimes call our “community.” The society and culture of our local community might be made up of all the ways of small-town or suburban life, or perhaps all the ways of city life, or even the society and culture of a local neighborhood in which we live. Culture consists of the beliefs, behaviors, objects, and other characteristics common to the members of a particular group or society. Through culture, people and groups define themselves, conform to society’s shared values, and contribute to society. Thus, culture includes many societal aspects: language, customs, values, norms, mores, rules, tools, technologies, products, organizations, and institutions. Cultural Studies is an emerging area of research and teaching that brings in new perspectives to the study of culture and society. Cultural studies is an innovative interdisciplinary field of research and teaching that investigates the ways in which “culture” creates and transforms individual experiences, everyday life, social relations and power. Research and teaching in the field explores the relations between culture understood as human expressive and symbolic activities, and cultures understood as distinctive ways of life. Cultural life is not only concerned with symbolic communication, it is also the domain in which we set collective tasks for ourselves and begin to grapple with them as changing communities.

Culture and Society: An Introduction to Cultural Studies is devoted to understanding the processes through which societies and the diverse groups within them come to terms with history, community life, and the challenges of the future. Combining the strengths of the social sciences and the humanities, this monograph draws on methods and theories from literary studies, sociology, communications studies, history, cultural anthropology, and economics. Cultural studies address new questions and problems of today’s world. Rather than seeking answers that will hold for all time, cultural studies develops flexible tools that adapt to this rapidly changing world. This Book is valuable to students navigating the dynamic debates and intellectual challenges of cultural studies. Its breadth and unparalleled coverage of cutting-edge theory will also ensure that it is read by anyone interested in questions of materiality and culture.