Professor Tony Bennett

Professor Tony Bennett with trees and the Female Orphan School in the background. Tony Bennett joined UWS as Research Professor in Social and Cultural Theory at the Institute for Culture and Society in 2009. His previous positions included a period as Professor of Sociology at the Open University where he was also a Director of the ESRC Centre for Research on Socio-cultural Change, and as Professor of Cultural Studies at Griffith University where he was also Dean of Humanities and Director of the ARC Key Centre for Cultural and Media Policy. He is a member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

Professor Bennett’s interests span a number of areas across the social sciences and humanities, with significant contributions to the fields of literary theory, cultural studies, cultural sociology, and museum studies. His work in literary studies includes influential assessments of the relations between formalist and Marxist criticism, and critical appraisals of Marxist aesthetic theory. In cultural studies his work has had a formative influence on the study of popular culture and he has played a leading role in the development of cultural policy studies. His work in cultural sociology includes major surveys of the social patterns of cultural practice and consumption in both Australia and Britain, and critical engagements with the sociology of literature and audience and reception theory. His work in museum studies has contributed to the development of the ‘new museology’ particularly in the light it has thrown on the role of museums as instruments of social governance.

The common thread running through his interests across these areas concerns the ways in which culture is tangled up in the exercise of power. This continues to inform his current research focused on the ways in which the knowledge practices of aesthetics and anthropology have informed modern processes of cultural governance from the 19th century through to the present. This work includes a significant focus on the part played by the early fieldwork phase in Australian, British, French and American anthropology in the development of new practices of colonial governance. It also includes a concern with the varying social uses of aesthetic discourses, and the role of aesthetics in the history of social theory. He is also engaged in an inquiry into the role of habit as a key concept in social, political and cultural theory, and with the role it has played in the practices of both liberal and colonial governance. Professor Bennett is currently working on the Australian Research Council Discovery Project Museum, Field, Metropolis, Colony: Practices of Social Governance.

Professor Bennett’s work has been translated into French, Swedish, German, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, and he has lectured at universities, art galleries and museums in Europe, Asia, Africa, Asia and North America. He has worked in a consulting or advisory capacity for a range of governmental organisations, including UNESCO and the Council of Europe, and has conducted research collaborations with a wide range of cultural sector and government organisations in Australia and Britain.

He is currently co-editor of the Journal of Cultural Economy and of the Culture, Economy and the Social book series published by Routledge.

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PhD, 1972, Sociology, University of Sussex, UK

BA, 1968, Politics, Philosophy, Economics, Oxford University, UK

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Honours and Awards

2010-: Visiting Research Professor, Open University

2009: Visiting Professor, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanjing University

2005-: Visiting Professor, University of Hunan, Kaifung.

2006-: Professorial Fellow, School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne

2003: Centre for Public Scholarship, Emory University, Atlanta: Visiting Fellow.

1996: Department of Communications, University of South Africa: Visiting Professor.

1998: Elected to the Australian Academy of the Humanities

1994: Unit for Interpretation and Criticism, University of Illinois: Visiting Professor.

1994: Pavis Centre for Research in Sociology and Social Anthropology, The Open University: Visiting Fellow.

1989: Faculty of Arts, Carleton University, Ottawa: Visiting Senior Scholar.

1983: Faculty of Humanities, Griffith University: Visiting Fellow.

1982: Departments of Comparative Literature and Film, University of Iowa: Visiting Professor.

Ongoing: Member of the editorial/advisory boards of: New Formations, Cultural Studies, Continuum, Critical Cultural and Communication Studies, Literature and History, The International Journal of Cultural Studies, The European Journal of Cultural Studies, Cultural Studies in Review, Museum History Journal, Museums & Society, and Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research.

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Selected Publications


Bennett, T, 2013, Making culture, changing society, Routledge, London & New York.

Bennett, T, Savage, M, Silva, E, Warde, A, Gayo-Cal, M & Wright, D 2009, Culture, class, distinction, Routledge, London & New York.

Bennett, T 2007, Critical trajectories: culture, society, intellectuals, Blackwell, Malden, US & Oxford.

Bennett, T 2007, Culture and society: collected essays, Guangxi Normal University Press, Beijing.

Bennett, T 2004, Pasts beyond memories: evolution, museums, colonialism, Routledge, London & New York.

Bennett, T, Frow, J & Emmison, M 1999, Accounting for tastes: Australian everyday cultures, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne.

Bennett, T 1998, Culture: a reformer’s science, Allen and Unwin, Sydney; Sage, London & New York. [Croatian translation, Golden marketing-Technicka knjiga]

Bennett, T (ed.) 1996, Museums and citizenship: a resource book (special issue of memoirs of the Queensland Museum), Queensland Museum, Brisbane.

Bennett, T 1995, The birth of the museum: history, theory, politics, Routledge, London & New York.

Bennett, T 1990, Outside literature, Routledge, London & New York; Methuen, New York.

Bennett, T & Woollacott, J 1987, Bond and beyond: the political career of a popular hero, Macmillan, London; Methuen, New York.

Bennett, T 1979, Formalism and Marxism, Methuen, London & New York.

Edited Collections

Bennett, T & Joyce, P (eds) 2010, Material powers: cultural studies, history and the material turn, Routledge, London & New York.

Bennett, T & Frow, J (eds) 2008, The Sage handbook of cultural analysis, Sage, London.

Bennett, T, Grossberg, L & Morris, M (eds) 2005, New keywords: a revised vocabulary of culture and society, Blackwell, Oxford. [Chinese translation, Nanjing University Press; Italian translation; Japanese translation].

Silva, EB & Bennett, T (eds) 2004, Contemporary culture and everyday life, The Sociologypress, Durham.

Bennett, T & Watson, D (eds) 2001, Understanding everyday life, Blackwell, Oxford.

Bennett, T & Carter, T (eds) 2001, Culture in Australia: policies, publics, programs, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne.

Bennett, T, Buckridge, P, Carter, D & Mercer, C (eds) 1992, Celebrating the nation: a critical study of Australia's Bicentenary, Allen and Unwin, Sydney.

Bennett, T (ed.) 1990, Popular fiction: technology, ideology, production, reading, Routledge, London & New York.

Bennett, T, Mercer, C & Woollacott, J (eds) 1986, Popular culture and social relations, Open University Press, Milton Keynes. [Chapter ‘Blackpool: hegemony, ideology, pleasure’ republished in M Ryan (ed.) 2007/8, Cultural studies: an anthology, Blackwell, Oxford.]

Gurevitch, M, Bennett, T, Curran, J & Woollacott, J (eds) 1981, Culture, society and the media, Methuen, London & New York.

Waites, B, Bennett, T & Martin, G (eds) 1981, Popular culture: past and present. A reader, Croom Helm, London.

Bennett, T, Martin, G, Mercer, C & Woollacott, J (eds) 1980, Culture, ideology and social process, Batsford, London.

Bennett, T, Boyd-Bowman, S, Mercer, C & Woollacott, J (eds) 1981, Popular television and film, British Film Institute, London.

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Book Chapters (since 2000)

Bennett, T 2013, 'Collecting, Instructing, Governning: fields, publics, milieus', in T Bennett, Making Culture, Changing Society, Routledge, London and New York, pp. 99-108. 

Bennett, T 2013, 'Making and mobilizing worlds: assembling and governning the Other', in T Bennett, Making Culture, Changing Society, Routledge, London and New York, pp. 73-87. 

Bennett, T 2013, 'The "Shuffle of things" and the distribution of agency', in R Harrison, S Byrne and A Clarke (eds), Reassembling the collection: ethnographic museums and indigenous agency. SAR Press, Santa Fe, pp. 3-35. 

Bennett, T 2012, 'Culture, institution, conduct: the perspective of metaculture', in M Morris & M Hjort (eds), Creativity and academic activism: instituting cultural studies, Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong, pp. 213-27.

Bennett, T 2011, 'Museum, field, colony: colonial governmentality and the circulation of reference', in T Bennett & C Healy (eds), Assembling culture, Routledge, London & New York, pp. 95-112.

Bennett, T & Healy, C 2011, 'Introduction: assembling culture', in T Bennett & C Healy (eds), Assembling culture, Routledge, London & New York, pp. 1-8.

Bennett, T 2010, 'Introduction', in P Bourdieu & T Bennett (eds), Pierre Bourdieu, distinction: a social critique of the judgement of taste, Routledge, London, pp. xvii-xxiii.

Bennett, T 2010, ‘Habit, instinct, survivals: repetition, history, biopolitics’, in S Gunn & J Vernon (eds), The peculiarities of liberal modernity in imperial Britain, University of California Press, Berkeley, pp. 102-18.

Bennett, T 2010, '"Culture studies" and the culture complex’, in JR Hall, L Grindstaff & M-C Lo (eds), Handbook of cultural sociology, Routledge, London & New York, pp. 25-34.

Joyce, P & Bennett, T 2010, ‘Material powers: introduction’, in T Bennett & P Joyce (eds), Material powers: cultural studies, history and the material turn, Routledge, London & New York, pp. 1-21.

Bennett, T 2010, ‘Making and mobilising worlds: assembling and governing the other’, in T Bennett & P Joyce (eds), Material powers: cultural studies, history and the material turn, Routledge, London & New York, pp. 190-208.

Bennett, T 2010, ‘Culture, power, knowledge: between Foucault and Bourdieu’, in E Silva & A Warde (eds), Cultural analysis and Bourdieu's legacy: settling accounts and developing alternatives, Routledge, London & New York, 102-16.

Warde, A & Bennett, T 2008, ‘A culture in common: the cultural consumption of the UK managerial elite’, in K Williams & M Savage (eds), Remembering elites, Blackwell, Oxford, pp. 240-59.

Bennett, T 2008, ‘The art museum as civic machinery’, in B Jaschke, C Martinz-Turek & N Sternfeld (eds), Sammlungen ausstellen, Verlag Turia + Kant, Vienna, pp. 212-20.

Bennett, T 2008, ‘Sociology and culture’, in T Bennett & J Frow (eds), The Sage handbook of cultural analysis, Sage, London, pp. 86-106.

Bennett, T 2006, ‘Exhibition, difference and the logic of culture’, in I Karp & C Kratz (eds), Museum frictions: public cultures/global transformations, Duke University Press, Durham, pp. 46-69.

Bennett, T 2006, ‘Civic seeing: museums and the organisation of vision’, in S MacDonald (ed.), Companion to museum studies, Blackwell, Oxford, pp. 263-81.

Bennett, T 2006, ‘Culture and differences: the challenges of multiculturalism’, in S Boda & MR Cifarelli (eds), When culture makes the difference: heritage, arts and media in multicultural society, Meltemi Editore, Rome, pp. 21-37. [Also in Bonet, L and Négrier, E (eds), La fin des cultures nationales? Les politiques culturelles à l’épreuve de la diversité, La Découverte, Paris, pp. 19-31.]

Bennett, T, Savage, M, Silva, E, Warde, A, Gayo-Cal, M & Wright, D 2005, ‘Cultural capital and the cultural field in contemporary Britain’, CRESC working papers on socio-cultural change, No. 3, University of Manchester and the Open University.

Bennett, T 2005, ‘The media sensorium: cultural technologies, the senses and society’, in M Gillespie (ed.), Understanding audiences, The Open University Press, Milton Keynes, pp. 51-96.

Bennett, T 2004, ‘Metropolis, colony, primitive: evolution and the politics of vision’, in K Kopp et al. (eds), Metropolis and primitive, Metzler Verlag, Berlin.

Bennett, T & Silva, E 2004, ‘Everyday life in contemporary culture’, in E Silva & T Bennett (eds), Contemporary culture and everyday life, The Sociologypress, Durham, pp. 1-20.

Bennett, T 2004, ‘The invention of the modern cultural fact: toward a critique of the critique of everyday life’, in E Silva & T Bennett (eds), Contemporary culture and everyday life, The Sociologypress, Durham, pp. 21-36. [Chinese translation in Cultural Studies, 2006, no. 6, pp. 25-268.]

Bennett, T 2003, ‘The rules of culture: exhibition and the politics of knowledge’, in Y Furuichi (ed.), Asia in transition: representation and identity, Japan Foundation Asia Centre, Tokyo, pp. 317-27. [Republished in Journal of the Leisure Studies Association]

Bennett, T 2003, ‘Culture and governmentality’, in J Bratich, J Packer & C McCarthy (eds), Foucault, cultural studies and governmentality, SUNY Press, New York, pp. 47-66.

Bennett, T 2002, ‘Stored virtue: memory, the body and the evolutionary museum’, in S Radstone & K Hodgkin (eds), Regimes of memory, Routledge, London & New York, pp. 40-54. [Republished in S Radstone & K Hodgkin (eds), Memory futures: memory, subjectivity and recognition, Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick & London]

Bennett, T 2002, ‘Contesting times: conflicting histories in postcolonial contexts’, in T Jordan & S Pile (eds), Social change, Blackwell, Oxford, pp. 49-78.

Bennett, T 2002, ‘Sociology and government’, in P Hamilton & K Thompson (eds), The uses of sociology, Blackwell, Oxford, pp. 41-67.

Bennett, T, Emmison, M & Frow, J 2001, ‘Social class and cultural practice in contemporary Australia’, in T Bennett & D Carter (eds), Culture in Australia: policies, publics, programs, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, pp. 193-216.

Bennett, T & Watson, D 2001, ‘Understanding everyday life: introduction’, in T Bennett & D Watson (eds), Understanding everyday life, Blackwell, Oxford, pp. ix-xxiv.

Bennett, T 2001, ‘Home and everyday life’, in T Bennett & D Watson (eds), Understanding everyday life, Blackwell, Oxford, pp. 1-33.

Bennett, T 2001, ‘Cultural policy – issues of culture and governance’, in F Snickars (ed.), Culture, society and the market, Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation and the Swedish National Council for Cultural Affairs, Stockholm, pp. 13-28.

Bennett, T 2001, ‘Cultural policy’, in NJ Smelser, J Wright & PB Baltes (eds), International encyclopedia of social and behavioural sciences, Elsevier, London, pp. 3092-97. 

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Journal Articles (since 2000)

Bennet, T, Dibley, B & Harrison, R 2014, 'Introduction: anthropology, collecting and colonial governmentality' (opens in a new window), History and Anthropology, vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 137-149.  

Bennet, T 2014, 'Liberal government and the practical history of anthropology, History and Anthropology, vol 25. no. 2, pp. 150-170. 

Bennett, T 2013, 'The multiplication of cultural studies' utility', Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 438-41.

Bennett, T, Frow, J, Hage, G & Noble, G 2013, 'Antipodean fields: working with Bourdieu', Journal of Sociology, vol. 49, no. 2&3, pp. 129-50.

Bennett, T, Bustamante, M & Frow, J 2013, 'The Australian space of lifestyles in comparative perspective', Journal of Sociology, vol. 49, no. 2&3, pp. 224-55.

Bennett, T 2013, 'Habit: time, freedom, governance', Body and Society, vol. 19, no. 2&3, pp. 107-35.

Bennett, T & Hay, J 2013, 'Interview with Tony Bennett, November 22, 2012', Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 98-123.

Bennett, T, Dodsworth, F, Noble, G, Poovey, M & Watkins, M 2013, 'Habit and habituation: governance and the social', Body & Society, vol. 19, no. 2&3, pp. 3-29.

Poulot, D, Bennett, T & Mcclellan, A 2012, 'Pouvoirs au musée', Perspective, vol. 1, pp. 32-34.

Bennett, T 2012, 'Machineries of modernity: museums, theories, histories', Cultural and Social History, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 145-56.

Bennett, T 2011, 'Culture, choice, necessity: a political critique of Bourdieu's aesthetic', Poetics, vol. 39, no. 6, pp. 530-46.

Bennett, T 2011, 'Guided freedom: aesthetics, tutelage, and the interpretation of art', Tate Papers, no 15, <>.

Bennett, T 2010, 'Sociology, aesthetics, expertise'New Literary History, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 253-76.

Bennett, T & Healy, C (eds) 2009, 'Special Double Issue: Assembling Culture’Journal of Cultural Economy, vol. 2, no. 1-2.

Bennett, T 2009, ‘Museum, field, colony: colonial governmentality and the circulation of reference’Journal of Cultural Economy, vol. 2, no. 1-2, pp. 99-116.

Bennett, T 2009, ‘Counting and seeing the action of literary form: Franco Moretti and the sociology of literature’Journal of Cultural Sociology, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 277-97.

Bennett, T 2008/9, ‘Aesthetics, government, freedom’Key Words: A Journal of Cultural Materialism, no. 6, pp. 76-91.

Bennett, T 2008, ‘The intellectual genealogies and possible futures for cultural studies: an interview with Tony Bennett’ [refereed interview with Professor Huimin Jin, Chinese Academy of the Social Sciences], Cultural Politics, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 161-82.

Bennett, T 2007, ‘Making culture, changing society: the perspective of culture studies’, Cultural Studies, vol. 21, no. 4-5: 610-29.

Bennett, T & Dodsworth, J 2007, ‘Liberalisms, government, culture’Cultural Studies, vol. 21, no. 4-5, pp. 525-48.

Bennett, T, Grossberg, L & Morris, M 2006, ‘Originals, remakes, assemblages: a retrospect on new keywords’Criticism, vol. 47, no. 4, pp. 567-71.

Bennett, T 2007, ‘The work of culture’Journal of Cultural Sociology, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 31-48.

Bennett, T 2007, ‘Habitus clivé: aesthetics and politics in the work of Pierre Bourdieu’New Literary History, vol. 38, no. 1, pp. 201-28.

Bennett, T 2006, ‘Culture and society: theoretical and biographical perspectives’, Jiangxia Social Sciences, no. 6, pp. 233-44.

Bennett, T 2006, ‘Distinction on the box: cultural capital and the social space of broadcasting’Cultural Trends, vol. 15, no. 2-3, pp. 193-212.

Bennett, T & Silva, E 2006, ‘Cultural capital and inequality – policy issues and contexts’, Cultural Trends, vol. 15, no. 2-3, pp. 87-106.

Bennett, T 2006, ‘Postscript: cultural capital and inequality – refining the policy calculus’, Cultural Trends, vol. 15, no. 2-3, pp. 239-44.

Bennett, T 2005, ‘The historical universal: the role of cultural value in the historical sociology of Pierre Bourdieu’British Journal of Sociology, vol. 56, no. 1, pp. 141-64.

Savage, M & Bennett, T 2005, ‘Cultural capital and social inequality’, British Journal of Sociology, vol. 56, no. 1, pp. 7-14.

Bennett, T 2005, ‘Civic laboratories: museums, cultural objecthood, and the governance of the social’Cultural Studies, vol. 19, no. 5, pp. 521-47. [Revised version of CRESC working papers on socio-cultural change, No. 3, University of Manchester and the Open University.]

Bennett, T & Savage, M 2004, ‘Introduction: cultural capital and social exclusion’, Cultural Trends, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 7-14.

Bennett, T 2003, ‘Representation or exhibition?’, Journal of Education in Museums, no. 24, pp. 3-8.

Bennett, T 2002, ‘Archaeological autopsy: objectifying time and cultural governance’, Cultural Values, vol. 6, no. 1-2, 29-48.

Bennett, T 2001, ‘Pasts beyond memories: the evolutionary museum liberal government and the politics of prehistory’Folk: Journal of the Danish Ethnographic Society, no. 43, pp. 49-76.

Bennett, T 2000, ‘Acting on the social: art, culture, and government’, American Behavioural Scientist, vol. 43, no. 9, pp. 1412-28. [Also in D Meredyth & J Minson (eds), Citizenship and cultural policy, Sage Publications, London, pp. 18-34.] 

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Reports (since 2000)

Bennett, T, Savage, M, Silva, E, Warde, A, Gayo-Cal, M & Wright, D 2006, Media cultures: a report on the organisation of the media field in contemporary Britain, British Film Institute, London.

Bennett, T 2002, Differing diversities: culture, policy, citizenship and diversity, Council of Europe, Strasbourg. 


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Professor Tony Bennett speaks to Dr Dave O'Brien (City University London) about his new book Making culture, changing society. Listen to the podcast (opens in a new window).