From Class Struggle to the Politics of Pleasure: The Effects of Gramscianism on Cultural Studies

From Class Struggle to the Politics of Pleasure: The Effects of Gramscianism on Cultural Studies

From Class Struggle to the Politics of Pleasure: The Effects of Gramscianism on Cultural Studies

From Class Struggle to the Politics of Pleasure: The Effects of Gramscianism on Cultural Studies

Synopsis

This book examines the rise of cultural studies and evaluates its strengths and weaknesses. The author raises searching questions about the originality of cultural studies and its political motivation. Written with zest and a judicious sense of purpose it is a landmark work in cultural studies media and the sociology of culture.

Excerpt

In order to make this book more accessible to readers who might be unfamiliar with the details of the context in which the work reviewed here is located, including readers in the USA, it might be helpful to offer some background information about some of the major writers and their institutional bases. It also gives me a chance to mention some recent material which has appeared since the writing of the main part of this book.

Gramscian cultural studies in Britain has been organised around a number of groups, networks or ‘colleges’, both concrete and invisible. This has given it a consistency and a continuity which has been almost taken for granted by those of us who have followed the work over the years: we know that writers in particular centres or groups in particular universities will be developing particular traditions, and that their work will reflect these traditions. There are also less formal groups clustered around particular journals or particular conferences. Those journals and conferences also sponsor or commission publications of collected essays, often as student ‘readers’, intended for academic courses.

Given the relatively small scale of operations of academic life in Britain, the personnel concerned can also form an interlocking élite: particular individuals work together in departments or centres, edit journals, appear at conferences, get their work published in collections of conference papers, refer to each other’s work, meet in the same political or academic groupings, and are very often closely involved in the design, validation or examination of academic courses in other institutions too. These days, doubtless, they communicate internationally and almost instantaneously via electronic mail. In this way, the approach to cultural studies and cultural politics I have discussed in this book—gramscianism—has simply been able to locate itself at the centre of British work, with both good and bad effects, as I try to argue in detail in what follows.

It would be fascinating but too large a task to outline all the interconnections between centres, journals, conferences and courses over the . . .

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