Examining a range of literature, philosophy, social criticism and popular culture, this text considers the meanings and uses of culture in contemporary society. It examines both the masterworks of European literature and the art and signs and symbols of popular media and daily life. The triumph of cultural studies - and its critiques of bourgeois Eurocentric tradition - is largely complete, the author writes. Against the political appropriation of culture, he posits, instead, a definition of culture as public conversation, intellectual and social debate among diverse communities. Against reactionary pressure to impose - or reinstate - a singular culture, or to seek in art or literature an affirmation of group identity, the author sketches new roles for the human imagination in a postmodern world.