British Cultural Studies Paperback – Oct 10 2002
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'With his customary intelligence, Graeme Turner has transformed a diverse and complex field into a coherent body of knowledge that can be digested by students. This is the clearest, most comprehensive guide to the subject I know.'- Toby Miller.
Original in both senses of the word, British Cultural Studies was the first and remains the best book of its kind. The latest edition responds to changes in both academic and activist cultural studies. Turner is alert to the needs of students, and judiciously appraises the work of many leading writers. He also raises new questions -- about citizenship and consumerism, identity and politics, quality and method -- that point the way forward for the field as a whole. John Hartley, Editor of the International Journal of Cultural Studies.
The first, and still the best, introduction to British cultural studies. It is essential reading for all undergraduates in the field. - Professor John Storey, Director of the Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies, University of Sunderland..
About the Author
Graeme Turner is Professor of Cultural Studies at the Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies, The University of Queensland, Australia
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“British Cultural Studies” comprehends an overview about the major works of Cultural Studies in Britain. Turner summarizes the key works such as Richard Hoggart’s “The Uses of Literacy”, Stuart Hall’s “Encoding and Decoding in Television Discourse” and Paul Willis “Learning to Labour”. Most of the books mentioned are available on the Web.
Cultural Studies starts with a revolt against the elitism of British Literary Studies in the works of Richard Hoggart and Raymond Williams. It was strongly linked with adult education. Teachers were confronted with pop music and searched for answers. Cultural Studies dealt with pop music and youth culture and the impact of the new medium television. Turner then describes the growing influence first of Western Marxism and then of Structuralism in the 1970s. He presents the debate between Culturalists (E.P. Thompson, Raymond Williams) and Structuralists (Althusser). Cultural Studies has developed around the conflict between individual agency, Marxist economic determinism and Structuralist cultural determinism. The turn to the Gramscian notion of “hegemony” was a sort of compromise between individual agency and determinism.
Presenting many interesting works of Cultural Studies, Turner shows a shift of emphasis
• from high art to popular art, from an elitist definition of culture to culture as the very material of our daily lives, from literature to a broader notion of culture in the 1960s
• from individual agency to the cultural creation of “identity” (Althusser’s “Appellation”) in the 1970s
• from class and class sub-communities to gender and race in the 1980s
• From British nationalism to transnational identities and from critique of ideology to “pleasure” in the post-modernist 1990s.
Turner mentions the political aspects. Stuart Hall and other writers were strongly involved in the analysis of Right-wing Thatcherism and Blair’s “New Labour”. The representation of the political aspects of the history of Cultural Studies although stays a bit cursory.
Despite, or rather because of it's professed limitation to British Cultural Studies, Turner demonstrates a lot of sensitivity to what is and what is not British Cultural Studies, making any reader immediately aware of how other Cultural Studies traditions may differ. His extremely cogent and clear account takes the reader easily into the heart of Cultural Studies- what quarrels does British Cultural Studies have with other disciplines and what is so unique about its orientation as a discipline?
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