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Culture Wars

The Media and the British Left

James Curran, Ivor Gaber, Julian Petley

Paperback (Printed to Order)

Culture Wars charts the battle between two generations, one shaped by the immediate post-war period and the other by the cultural revolt of the 1960s. It was a clash that first exploded into life in the 1980s, when the Conservative press and government ridiculed radical young councillors as the 'loony left', and turned them into the pariahs of contemporary politics. This cultural victory proved shortlived. The values and political agenda of the urban left made significant advances in the 1990s and 2000s when the sixties generation moved into positions of power.

The book offers key insights for different disciplines:

  • For media studies, it offers a compelling account of how the media represent, and influence, social change.
  • For cultural studies, it illuminates the way in which the culture of society is a battleground between generations and opposed value groups.
  • For the social sciences, it documents how the rise of women, immigration, gay liberation and concern about the environment were mediated, and became the subjects of debate, political conflict, and regulation.
  • For the general reader, it offers a very readable account of the entry of 1960s values into mainstream politics, and the culture wars that have been fought ever since.


Part 1: Politics and Cultural Conflict
1. A New Political Generation
James Curran
Part 2: The Rise of the Sixties Generation
2. Goodbye to the Clowns
James Curran
3. Defeat into Victory
James Curran
Part 3: Loony Tunes
4. Hit and Myth
Julian Petley
5. 'Hate on the Rates'
Julian Petley
6. Positive and Negative Images
Julian Petley
Part 4: Modern Times
7. Slaying the Dragon
Ivor Gaber
8. Driven to Distraction
Ivor Gaber
Part 5: The Media and the British Left
9. The Political Impact of the Media
James Curran
10. Influence on the British Media
James Curran, Ivor Gaber and Julian Petley

About the Author

James Curran is Professor of Communication at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Ivor Gaber is Professor of Broadcast Journalism at Goldsmiths.

Julian Petley is Professor of Screen Media and Journalism in the School of Arts at Brunel University, Chair of the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, a member of the board of Index on Censorship, and co-principal editor of the Journal of British Cinema and Television. His most recent publications are Freedom of the Word (2007), Freedom of the Moving Image (co-written with Philip French, 2008) and Censorship: a Beginner's Guide (2009).


An empirically rich and insightful account of profound changes in the performance of political communication in contemporary Britain.
- Pascal Preston, Dublin City University, Journalism
The strength of this chapter, and indeed the book as a whole, lies in the way in which it highlights, in an easily digestible fashion, ths complex and two-way relationship bethween politics and the media, successfully communicating the fact that the politics of the press and ths politics of Britain are inextricably linked.
- Natalie Pittimson, University of Warwick, Media, Culture and Society
This book is comprehensive and very readable.
- Political Studies Review