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American Culture in the 1980s

Graham Thompson

Hardback i (Printed to Order)
eBook (PDF) i

This book looks beyond the common label of 'Ronald Reagan's America' to chart the complex intersection of cultures in the 1980s. In doing so it provides an insightful account of the major cultural forms of 1980s America - literature and drama; film and television; music and performance; art and photography - and influential texts and trends of the decade: from White Noise to Wall Street, from Silicon Valley to MTV, and from Madonna to Cindy Sherman. A focused chapter considers the changing dynamics of American culture in an increasingly globalised marketplace.

Key Features

  • Focused case studies featuring key texts, genres, writers, artists and cultural trends
  • Detailed chronology of 1980s American culture
  • Bibliographies for each chapter
  • Twelve black and white illustrations


Chronology of the 1980s
Introduction: The Intellectual Context
Chapter 1: Literature and Drama
Chapter 2: Film and Television
Chapter 3: Music and Performance
Chapter 4: Art and Photography
Chapter 5: American Culture and Globalisation
Conclusion: The Cultural Legacy of the 1980s
General bibliography on 1980s American culture
Separate representative bibliographies for each chapter

About the Author

Graham Thompson is an Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Nottingham. He is author of The Business of America: The Literary and Critical Production of a Post-War Nation (Pluto Press, 2004) and Male Sexuality under Surveillance: The Office in American Literature (University of Iowa Press, 2003).


A fresh angle on cultural works recent enough to exist in the collective memory, but also now distant enough to warrant analytical consideration within a discrete historical framework.
- Paul Giles, Professor of American Literature, University of Oxford

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