Academic journal article Cultural Studies Review

Editorial

Academic journal article Cultural Studies Review

Editorial

Article excerpt

This edition brings together the discomforts and pleasures of religion or spirituality and the pleasures and discomforts of the television series Mad Men. The two excellent introductions to each section by their guest editors, Holly Randell Moon and Sophie Sunderland (for 'Secular Discomforts') and Prudence Black and Melissa Hardie (for 'On Mad Men') leave us the great freedom in this editorial to think more broadly and in some ways obliquely about these two sites as places where key cultural studies work is carried out. As Christina Petterson suggests in her essay in this volume, 'Colonial Subjectification: Foucault, Christianity and Governmentality', there is a 'general non-existent relationship between cultural studies and religion, which this special issue addresses'. This, one might say, is the opposite to the critical, creative and continuous relationship cultural studies has had with contemporary culture including popular and 'quality' television series. But there are similarities in their connection to cultural studies.

The sites-religion and Mad Men-share an order of madness and an order of masculinity and they both have multiple and diverse relationships with secularity. Secularity as a passionate environment of libidinous consumption, secularity as repentant programs of saving and recycling and secularity as the simple denial of the religious in forms of politics and viewing of television that seem nonetheless informed by historical ideas of religious display and theatre. If we think of the possibility of culture per Hall as signification where signification is a question of affect, then these two sites surely represent where cultural studies needs to be.

Of this decade it seems like there have been two cultural activities that have given us a sense of its 'structure of feeling'-ideas of 'faith' and being a religious subject and our evolving relationship with the moving image that is still a form of mass communication but feels increasingly a like a hand-selected bespoke product. …

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