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Exploring Visual Culture

Definitions, Concepts, Contexts

Edited by Matthew Rampley


An introduction to the study of visual culture, this book offers a view of 'visual culture' that includes not only images, but also other visual media and forms of expression, from architecture to fashion, design and the human body. The book is organised around three broad themes, exploring key ideas and debates that have occurred during the last 20 or so years:

  • the meanings of the term 'visual culture' and of the various practices that form its basis
  • conceptual approaches to the contemporary analysis of visual culture
  • the cultural, social and historical contexts informing its production, distribution and consumption

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1. Visual Culture and the Meanings of Culture
2. Definitions of Art and the Art World
3. Concepts of Craft
4. Design and Modern Culture
5. Fashion: Style, Identity and Meaning
6. Photography and Film
7. Architecture and Visual Culture
8. Representation and the Idea of Realism
9. Visual Rhetoric
10. The Rise and Fall and Rise of the Author
11. The Ideology of the Visual
12. Visual Practices in the Age of Industry
13. Technical Reproduction and Its Significance
14. From Mass Media to Cyberculture
15. Visual Culture and Its Institutions.

About the Author

Matthew Rampley is Assistant Dean (Research) in the School of Arts and Media at the University of Teesside. He has published widely on visual theory and culture and is author of Nietzsche, Aesthetics and Modernity (2000) and In Remembrance of Things Past. On Aby M. Warburg and Walter Benjamin (2000)


A recognisable guide that will be of use to undergraduates and those who want to come to terms quickly with the increasingly entrenched discourse. Where this book really rewards the reader is in the inclusion of overviews of the theoretical discussions taking place within visual cultural studies. These include perspicacious commentaries on important issues such as representation and realism, the significance of technical reproduction, and cyberculture.
- The Art Book
It will no doubt become a core text for courses at undergraduate level... Both structure and layout are clear, the text is rigorous yet accesible and includes helpful concluding sentences and suggestions for further reading.
- Tara Hamling, University of Birmingham , Art History