Culture, Media, Language: Working Papers in Cultural Studies, 1972-79

Culture, Media, Language: Working Papers in Cultural Studies, 1972-79

Culture, Media, Language: Working Papers in Cultural Studies, 1972-79

Culture, Media, Language: Working Papers in Cultural Studies, 1972-79

Excerpt

The Centre for Cultural Studies is a post-graduate research centre at the University of Birmingham; its staff and students research and publish in the field of Cultural Studies. * It was established in 1964 under the Directorship of Richard Hoggart, then Professor of Modern English Literature. The aim was to inaugurate research in the area of contemporary culture and society: cultural forms, practices and institutions, their relation to society and social change. The principal inspiration behind its formation was the work which Richard Hoggart had undertaken in The Uses of Literacy-a pioneering study, published in the mid 1950s, offering an analysis of how recent developments were transforming and reshaping the cultures of the 'traditional' working class. The Centre was intended to provide a base for the serious analysis of these questions, within the framework of higher education, and in a centre principally devoted to post-graduate research. In 1968 Richard Hoggart left to become an Assistant Director-General at Unesco, and, between 1968 and 1979, Stuart Hall was its Director.

The Centre has greatly expanded since those early days. It now consists of three staff members, two research fellows working on specific funded projects, and over forty post-graduate research students. It has left the original home provided for it within the English Department, and has gained a reputation of its own in the field on the basis of an independent programme of intellectual work, research and publishing. More or less coterminous with its growth-though by no means as the exclusive effect of its work-programmes of study under the general rubric of 'Cultural Studies' have been widely initiated in other sectors of education. This has led to the establishment of Cultural Studies degree courses and research programmes and to an expansion of the Cultural Studies element in a variety of courses and disciplines.

The raison d'être of this volume of essays, which is drawn from the Centre's work up to 1979, is not simply that it reflects the Centre's work over these years, but that it is addressed to, and may help in, the on-going work of clarification of this emergent field of study. Cultural Studies is not, however, a 'discipline', but an area where different disciplines intersect in the study of the cultural aspects of society. The particular complex of disciplines involved, and the types of approach adopted, naturally differ from place to place. This volume, based as it is on the Birmingham Centre's work, reflects only one particular tendency. While aimed in general at supporting and underpinning these initiatives, there is no intention that

*Superior figures refer to the Notes and references on pages 277-304.

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