Essay on What Ways Does History Help Us Understand Everyday Cultures?
History is an invaluable resource in providing context, by highlighting enduring ideologies such as gender, politics and power relations, and tracing its effects on everyday cultural experiences. In this essay, concepts of everydayness, politics and power and gender ideologies are discussed as methods through which history provides assistance in understanding everyday cultures.
Raymond Williams (1965) refers to cultures as a “whole way of life – including and most importantly, our own” while Ellen Rooney (Storey 1996) view culture not “a ‘canon’ or ‘tradition’ but as the embodiment and site of antagonistic relations of domination and subordination, that is as a productive networks of power relations.” Evidently these two conceptualisations of culture, and the way through which culture is represented and produced in the everyday point to vastly different understandings of the role of culture, and how history can be used to understand everyday culture.
Henri Lefebvre (Martin 2004) argued that ‘everydayness’ is a distinctly modern phenomenon, pointing to the rise of the middle class in modern Europe, mass-migration to urban centres and perceptibility of the everyday. Lefebvre highlights the sudden importance of the everyday, dating from the 19th century, as an object of critical reflection and representation in cultural literature and art.
Lefebvre further points to the impact of capitalism and industrialisation on…