Cultural Studies


Cardiff University, UK; Murdoch University, Australia

DOI: 10.1002/9781118989463.wbeccs086

Since the 1970s, cultural studies has been both an irritant and a master trope in the humanities and qualitative social sciences, blending and blurring textual analysis with social and cultural theory and empirical ethnography, and focusing on the margins of power rather than reproducing established lines of force and authority. For example, rather than researching canonical works of art, governmental leadership, or quantitative social data, cultural studies devotes time to subcultures, popular media, music, clothing, environmental representations, and sport. It does so with strong commitments to class, gender, racial, sexual, and cosmopolitan equality and justice, bringing together and incarnating various tendencies that productively splinter the human sciences: Marxism, feminism, queer theory, and postcolonialism.

In addition to this conceptual and political trajectory, cultural studies has an interesting spatial one as well. Anglophone readers may associate it with Britain and the United States, but cultural studies has equally vibrant and generative traditions that emanate from Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Some of these histories are interlocking, but others are quite autonomous, in keeping with the history of political, economic, linguistic, and educational colonialism. It is no surprise that several leading practitioners have moved between different ...

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