New Cultural Studies: Adventures in Theory

New Cultural Studies: Adventures in Theory

New Cultural Studies: Adventures in Theory

New Cultural Studies: Adventures in Theory


What should or could cultural studies look like in the 21st Century? New Cultural Studies is both an introductory reference work and an original study which explores some of the most exciting new directions currently being opened up in cultural studies. A new generation has begun to emerge from the shadow of the Birmingham School: a generation who have turned to theory as a means to think through some of the crucial problems and issues in contemporary culture. New Cultural Studies: Adventures in Theory collects for the first time the ideas of this generation and explains just why theory continues to be crucial for cultural studies. The book explores theory's past, present and most especially future role in cultural studies. It does so by providing an authoritative and accessible guide, for students and researchers alike, to:
• some of the most interesting members of this 'post-Birmingham school' generation
• the thinkers and theories currently influencing new work in cultural studies: Agamben, Badiou, Deleuze, Derrida, Hardt and Negri, Kittler, Laclau, Levinas, Zizek
• the new territories being mapped out across the intersections of cultural studies and cultural theory: anti-capitalism, ethics, the posthumanities, post-Marxism, new media technologies, the transnational.


Gary Hall

Clare Birchall

The editors would like to use this space, traditionally reserved for what is known as the ‘Introduction’, to draw your attention to one or two things worth bearing in mind while reading this book.

The continuing importance of theory – to cultural studies,
and to ‘new cultural studies’ in particular …

First and foremost, we would like to begin by apologising to some of our readers for, in effect, pointing out the shark fin of theory just when you were beginning to think it was safe to go back into the surf of cultural debate. We realise that, while few would deny the impact of structuralism, Marxism, post-Marxism, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, French feminist theory, postcolonial theory and so forth on cultural studies since at least the 1970s, when Stuart Hall taught a cultural theory course on the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) MA programme at Birmingham, the role and status of ‘theory’ within cultural studies has changed in recent years; so much so that the ‘aura’ of theory as ‘contemporary and “cutting edge”’ is for many now very much in retreat (Gibson 2004: 1), as conferences, journals, courses and schools which were once hotbeds of Foucauldian, Derridean and Lacanian ‘high theory’ increasingly (re)turn to a more humanist ethos and what are regarded as more politically or instrumentally ‘useful’ modes of research and analysis, such as those associated with sociology, social policy and political economy. What’s more, we . . .

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