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The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies, 7 Volume Set by Fabienne Darling-Wolf, Radhika Parameswaran, Erica Scharrer, Vicki Mayer, Sharon Mazzarella, Kelly Gates, John Nerone, Angharad N. Valdivia

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31

Unmasking Class and Tradition

Questioning Recuperative History and Affiliation in Cultural Studies

Cameron McCarthy and Jennifer Logue

ABSTRACT

Drawing on examples of cinematic and literary production, this chapter calls attention to the limitations of British cultural studies regarding topics on which the theorization of proponents has been long thought to be fundamentally secure. These topics are class and tradition. The chapter further maintains that the field-bound, ethnographic, and center–periphery paradigm that has fueled the subcultural studies approach to the working class of cultural studies has been overtaken by events associated with globalization in which culture is being separated from place and the long-held stable social identities associated with the working class are being disembedded. Now, identities have become more hybrid, and more coordinated across a plurality of styles, tastes, needs, interests, and organizational capacities. Working-class actors increasingly recuperate their identities in the domain of hyperconsumption rather than production. This is the era of the working class without work. Understanding this requires greater attention to the international division of labor and transnational and postcolonial perspectives.

Introduction

COMBO: Milk, I have got one question to ask you. Do you consider yourself English or Jamaican?
MILKY: [long pause] . . . English!
COMBO: That's what we need. That's what this nation has been built on. Proud men. ...

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