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Cultural Studies Essay

  • Submitted by: ibrahim20044
  • on June 21, 2014
  • Category: Social Issues
  • Length: 960 words

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Below is an essay on "Cultural Studies" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

The Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, now disbanded, was not – as many have criticized cultural studies in general as being – ahistorical, particularist, or idealist. Rather its work was more often materialist, analyzing socio-historical conditions and structures of domination and resistance. Kellner (1989) notes that its work could be defined by its attempt to critique the crucial political problems of their age. The early focus on class and ideology derived from their acute sense of the oppressive and systemic effects of class in British society and the struggles of the 1960s against class inequality and oppression. Studies of subcultures in Britain sought out new counter cultures and examples of people acting as agents of social change during a time when it appeared that sectors of the working class were being integrated into the existing system and conservative ideologies. The period of Thatcher’s government starting in 1979 and stretching to 1994 raised new issues of conservative populism. The focus on feminism was influenced by the feminist movement, while the turn towards race was motivated by the anti-racist struggles of the day.

In other words, the focus of British cultural studies at any given moment has been determined by the struggles in the contemporary polity. Their studies of ideology, domination and resistance, and the politics of culture, directed cul-tural studies towards analyzing cultural artifacts, practices, and institutions within existing networks of power and of showing how culture both provided tools and forces of domination and resources for resistance and struggle. This was an important political direction that shifted emphasis from the effects of media texts to audience uses of cultural artifacts. This led to a direct focus on audiences and reception, areas that had been neglected in most previous text-based approaches to media.

Feminist researchers in particular reacted against the simplistic conception of the...

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