The Conspiracy of Good Taste by Stefan Szczelkun

The Conspiracy of Good Taste by Stefan Szczelkun

The Conspiracy of Good Taste: William Morris, Cecil Sharp and Clough Williams-Ellis and the repression of working class culture in the C20th: William ... of Working Class Culture in the 20th Century

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The Conspiracy of Good Taste is a passionate analysis of the way working class culture has been appropriated and sanitised by middle class mediators of taste. Using the case studies of William Morris, Cecil Sharp and Clough William-Ellis, Szczelkun challenges their often widely seen role as enlightened political artists. He persuasively argues that there is a classist agenda that includes concepts of good taste that amount to oppression of true working class culture. The work also grapples with class identity as a context for the author’s critique. The book will certainly have you thinking carefully about taste, class and who dictates what is accepted culture. The book is tightly written, very readable and is a good start to exploring Szczelkun’s other work.” Richard Turner

Janet Zandy had this to say about the first edition: "In The Conspiracy of Good Taste, Stefan Szczelkun writes forcefully of the oppression of classism on working-class people: 'What I learned was the central and murderous denial of our intellectual capacity which is at the heartless core of class oppression 'Calling for a 'liberatory people-orientated culture,' Szczelkun urges working-class people to reconnect 'to the hidden working-class personal and cultural histories that produced us and find ways to heal ourselves from the terrible legacy of hurt left by class oppression.' " "The Conspiracy of Good Taste is one of those books you read and put down inspired and empowered. As working class people we can find ourselves going against our own instinct regarding class; as a result of the media bombardment against our identity .The constant mockery of class masks the power and importance of our class across the world and through all creative cultural spheres.  Stefan Szczelkun's book the Conspiracy of Good taste sheds light on the way class oppression is worked and managed against us. This book as been an important part of my learning. Hatred of an oppressor class comes through education not from inarticulated frustration."  

Brandon Spivey. 2016

Stefan studied architecture in the late Sixties before realising he wanted to be an artist. He then engaged in a long process of self-discovery of what it meant to be a second generation Polish immigrant and a working class person who wanted to work in a middle-class profession. In the process of his explorations he took part of a series of artists collectives. Realising that these exciting groups were not in the books on art history he decided to do a doctoral study of the group he was currently part of - Exploding Cinema. He completed his PhD at the Royal College of Art in 2002 and was working at Westminster University until his recent retirement.


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