Skip to main content

On Cultural Freedom

An Exploration of Public Life in Poland and America

In this timely study, Jeffrey C. Goldfarb explores the nature and prospects of cultural freedom by examining the conditions that favor or threaten its development in the political East and West.

Goldfarb—who examines conditions in the Soviet Union, the United States, and their respective European allies—focuses most closely upon Poland and the United States. He investigates a wide range of concrete cases, including the Polish opposition movement and Solidarity, the migration of artists, the American television and magazine industries, American philanthropy, and communist cultural conveyor belts.

From these cases, Goldfarb derives a definitive set of sociological conditions for cultural freedom: critical creativity which resists systematic constraints, continuity of cultural tradition, and a relatively autonomous public realm for the reception of culture. Cultural freedom, Goldfarb shows, is not a static state but a process of achievement. Its parameters and content are determined by social practice in cultural institutions and by their relations with other components and the totality of social structure.

So defined, cultural freedom is transformed from an ideological concept into one with real critical and analytical power. Through it we can appreciate the invisible nature of constraint in the West and the unapparent but acting supports of cultural freedom existing in socialist countries. Most importantly, Goldfarb’s conclusions provide a framework for understanding more clearly than before the circumstance of cultural freedom in both East and West so that citizens may utilize their full creative abilities as they address the problems of the present day.

184 pages | 5.75 x 9.00 | © 1983

Culture Studies

Political Science: Comparative Politics

Sociology: Social Change, Social Movements, Political Sociology

Table of Contents

1. On Understanding between Political East and West: Reflections on the Polish Opposition
2. Cultural Freedom: From East to West
3. The Structure of Cultural Freedom in Mass Society
4. Comparative Class Structure, Systems of Domination, and Cultural Freedom
5. Cultural Freedom and Political Control in Poland
6. Cultural Freedom and Economic Control in America
7. Bureaucracy and Cultural Freedom
8. Conclusion

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press