Cultural Remix: Theories of Politics and the Popular

Cultural Remix: Theories of Politics and the Popular

Cultural Remix: Theories of Politics and the Popular

Cultural Remix: Theories of Politics and the Popular

Synopsis

A glance at current higher education curricula reveals cinema courses in departments of history, and seminars on comics and romantic fiction in contexts stretching from sociology to modern languages. All this signals a new and welcome legitimacy for popular cultural studies. But in its drive to shift the focus from high culture to popular forms, cultural studies has often failed to formulate alternate models of cultural or political value and judgement. Cultural Remix attempts to chart the history of critical efforts to produce a new field of cultural-political engagement, drawing on key articles from New Formations. Contributors:Ien Ang, Homi Bhabha, Iain Chambers, Joan Copjec, Stuart Hall, Dick Hebdige, Kobena Mercer, S P Mohanty, Chantal Mouffe, Jacqueline Rose, and Susan Willis.

Excerpt

In some small corner of publishing history, the early 1990s may in time figure as the moment (not-to-be-missed) of ‘the cultural studies reader’. From During and Turner to Grossberg, McGuigan and Gray, editorial energies have been directed towards the delineation both of a tradition and a future trajectory for cultural studies as the Academy’s most upwardly mobile discipline.

As the title of this present collection suggests, the articles below - all published in early issues of the journal New Formations - circulate around the questions of popular culture, its political possibilities and limitations, that have preoccupied cultural studies since its inception. If, then, Cultural Remix is to be read, not as just another cultural studies textbook, but as a text whose reach extends across the critical cultural field, it is worth specifying at this point its relation to cultural studies as the academic market’s latest bright young thing - a field characterised, it is sometimes suggested, no longer primarily by cultural-politics, but by the drive for academic hegemony.

New formulations in cultural studies

A glance at current higher education curricula reveals cinema courses in departments of history, seminars on comics and women’s magazines in contexts stretching from sociology to modern languages and literature. All this signals a new, and surely welcome legitimacy for interdisciplinary and popular cultural studies. Yet there is a troubling political ambiguity in the cultural studies commitment to interdisciplinarity, coupled with its anti-hierarchical reflex - its drive to shift the academic focus from high culture to popular forms. On the one hand, the cultural studies challenge to traditional disciplines has clearly contributed to educational democratisation. Yet simultaneously, the dismantling of established canons which cultural studies demands, meshes all too easily with the new right reshaping of education as consumer marketplace, in which students pick ‘n mix their way across . . .

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