Conspiracy of Good Taste
This is mainly the text of a book by Stefan Szczelkun, originally published by Working Press in 1993 as a hardback in an edition of 500. It has been out of print for ten years or so. It is here offered with some extra notes written in the years following publication.
Introduction: The story of how this thesis, on how culture is used to maintain class oppression, developed.
1. The History of Good Taste: A basic theory of oppression
followed by a brief historical outline of the philosophical discourses about
Good Taste – which function as a justification of class oppression.
* Review of ‘People’s Art: working class art from 1750 to the present day’ a book by * Emmanuel Cooper, Mainstream Publishing 1994
* An account of Working Press 1987/97
Chapter 2. Taste in Contemporary Western Culture: Bourdieu's study of Distinction critiqued.
Three middle class mediators of taste: made examples of and conclusions drawn.
3. William Morris:
Middle class socialism and art.
* The Morris/ Ruskin Conference in Sheffield, September 1993
4. Cecil Sharp:
The colonisation of British working class song & dance.
* Notes on Reading Georgina Boyes’ book ‘The Imagined Village: ideology and the English Folk Revival’ Manchester U.P. 1993
5. Clough Williams-Ellis:
How the development of a modern working class vernacular was
* Shepperton-on-Thames Shanties 2002.
* 23 Photos of shanty plotlands near Newcastle, Edinburgh and Gower. c1971 and Shepperton 2002.
6. New Conclusion 2001
* Notes on Herbert Gans’ ‘Popular and High Culture: an analysis and evaluation of taste’, Basic Books 1974
* Notes on Richard Shusterman’s writing on the aesthetics of Popular culture from c1989
* Verbatim. My response to the final session of Interrupt, a mammoth series of five symposia on Socially Engaged Art Practice run by the Arts Council of England in 2003
* Brief notes on class identity in contemporary Britain, Germany, USA (1993)
* More notes on class identity* Acknowledgements
(mainly from the 1993 book)
* Additional Bibliography
Conspiracy of Good Taste was the third of three books, published by Working Press that explored my situation as a working class artist in the Eighties. The first, 'Collaborations', contained documentation of my art practice. The second, 'Class Myths and Culture', was a collection of essays and documentation about my identity as a working class artist. A few copies of these are both still available via Amazon or myself.