Saturday, September 26, 2009

What's the Matter with Cultural Studies?


Michael Bérubé's article on The Chronicle asks some good questions about Cultural Studies, the scholars trained in it, and the state of the overall discipline.

A bit says:

"Cultural studies has taught us—or has tried to teach us—that you don't know the meaning of a mass-cultural artifact until you find out what those masses of people actually do with it. The Internet may be dominated by commercial interests, but the liberal/left blogosphere appeared out of nowhere, largely as the result of the "netroots" work of ordinary men and women with nothing more than laptops, modems, and a desire to offer an alternative to cable news. After my talk, someone asked me, "But isn't that really more a question for sociology?" To which I replied, "Well, the questions of sociology shouldn't be considered alien territory for cultural studies." The situation is even bleaker if you ask about cultural studies' impact on psychology, economics, political science, or international relations, because you might as well be asking about the carbon footprint of unicorns."


Read more here.





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5 comments:

Dana said...

What I usually think about when considering this question is the productivity aspect. Discipline borrowing is inevitable and, for the most part, a noble thing but every field should contribute similarly, no?

Dana said...

Oh, and I was also thinking of Sokal's Fashionable Nonsense and the Kristeva habit of 'borrowing' from mathematics.

Ben said...

In order for Cultural Studies to truly reach productive success is its need to market itself as necessary and, well, helpful to the field.

Nicki said...

Cultural Studies is not only a relevant field, it's necessary. Especially in this day and age where cultural boundaries keep shifting and morphing into different things. If any discipline could do justice to cultural issues that's the Humanities. Granted, I'm biased. However, not many scholars are delivering on this. For some reason the jargon keeps getting more and more convoluted and further divorced from the very reality it purports to 'study' and explore.

Nicki said...

Also, appropriation of certain slang is fine. Well, as long as it is contextually accurate. Thinking of Sokal's Fashionable Nonsense and his critique of scholars like Kristeva.....