Culture and Power in Cultural Studies: The Politics of Signification

Culture and Power in Cultural Studies: The Politics of Signification

Culture and Power in Cultural Studies: The Politics of Signification

Culture and Power in Cultural Studies: The Politics of Signification

Synopsis

Culture and Power in Cultural Studies reproduces close to three decades of John Storey's significant scholarship on culture, power, and the politics of signification.

Storey addresses the struggle to define social reality and to give the world and its contents a kind of meaning that generates the desired effects of power. Chapters are informed by history and organized by theory, and essays have been revised and rewritten, each one following a different subject and method of argument. These works demonstrate how signification and the processes of meaning-or the way in which particular meanings acquire their authority and legitimacy-are fundamental factors in the establishment of hegemony.

Excerpt

Culture and Power in Cultural Studies: The Politics of Signification is a collection of previously published book chapters and journal articles. The twelve essays collected here were originally written over a period of more than twenty years, and published between 1986 and 2009. They are presented here, with the exception of Chapter 1, in order of publication. Although they cover a variety of topics, what they all have in common is their focus on matters of culture and power and the politics of signification. Like most work in cultural studies, the chapters are all informed by history and organised by theory. I have revised and rewritten them (sometimes quite radically) to ensure that they flow together as a collection. I have also tried to correct lapses of clarity in the original published work and to update material where appropriate. I have, however, left some repetition between chapters in order to accommodate readers who decide to read selectively rather than the book as a whole.

Each chapter expands and elaborates themes and issues touched upon in my more popular books (Cultural Theory and Popular Culture, and Cultural Studies and the Study of Popular Culture). In this way, there is the possibility of a reciprocal relationship of support and elaboration between this book and the two books just mentioned. In other words, if you have found those books useful (or any of my other books), you will find here a further, more detailed, elaboration of certain key ideas and themes.

In different ways and with a different focus of attention, each chapter argues that signification, and the struggle over meaning, is fundamental to the processes of hegemony. In some of the chapters this is made explicit, while in others it is more implicit. But all the chapters focus on the politics of signification: the struggle to define social reality; to make the world (and the things in it) mean in particular ways and with particular effects of power. Rather than engage in a fruitless quest for the true or essential meaning of something, the twelve chapters fix their critical gaze on how . . .

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