Introduction to Cultural Studies
What is Culture? 'cultural processes'?
'Circuit of Culture'?
is culture for you? Is MacDonald's part of Taiwanese culture?
What is Cultural Studies?
an approach, in literary study
as well as other areas in the Humanities, with some basic
an academic discipline--its
Culture? (from Representation Hall, 1997, p. 3)
1. traditional ones:
"the best that has been thought and said"
in a society. It is the sum of the great ideas, as
represented in the classic works of literature, painting, music and philosophy-the
'high culture' of the age.
2. the widely distributed
forms of popular music, publishing, art, design and literature, or the
activities of leisure time and entertainment, which make up the everyday
lives of the majority of 'ordinary people'-what is called the 'mass culture'
or the 'popular culture' of an age.
3. whatever is distinctive about
the 'way of life' of a people, community, nation or social group.
--shared values/meanings of a group or of society.
"Culture ...is not so much a
set of things ...as a process, a set of practices. Primarily, culture
is concerned with the production and the exchange of meanings-'the giving
and taking of meaning'-between the members of a society or group."
"Culture is involved in all
those practices...which carry meaning and value for us, which need to be
meaningfully interpreted by others, or which depend on meaning for their
effective operation. Culture, in this sense, permeates all of society"
Value-feelings, attachments and emotions
Circuit of Culture--the
five interacting loci of cultural practices
(definitions from Media and Identities
series. London: Sage, 1997.)
*another way of defining "production"
is to see the production of meaning at different cultural moments: "material
production, symbolic production, textual production, and the 'production
in use' of consumption" (J. Storey 2).
'the production and circulation
of meaning through language';
"language" as system of representation,
as a signifying practice (semiotic approach), and as discourse
government policies and
the reproduction of a
particular pattern and order of signifying practices (so that things appear
to be 'regular' or 'natural');
cultural policy as well as cultural
politics, involving struggles over meanings, values, forms of subjectivity
a dynamic process that is often
derive from a multiplicity of
sources--from nationality, ethnicity, social class, community, gender,
sexuality--sources which may conflict in the construction of identity positions
and lead to contradictory fragmented identities.
identity gives us a location
in the world and presents the link between us and the society in which
"cultural economy" economic
processes and practices as cultural phenomena, as depending on meaning
for their effective operation
an active process and often
celebrated as pleasure,
In postmodern accounts, cultural
consumption is seen as being the very material out of which we construct
our identities: we become what we consume.
of cultural studies:
longer the great divide between high art and popular culture; place the
text in the context of 'the circuit of culture," of society, nation as
well as multinational capitalism and global cultural exchanges (migration).
"Marxism informs cultural
studies in two fundamental ways.
1. to understand the
meanings of culture we must analyze it in relation to the social structure
and its historical contingency
2. cultural studies
assumes that capitalist industrial societies are societies divided unequally
along ethnic, gender, generational and class lines. ...culture
is one of the principal sites where this division is established and contested:
culture is a terrain on which takes place a continual struggle over meaning,
in which subordinate groups attempt to resist the imposition on meanings
which bear the interests of dominant groups. It is this which makes
culture ideological." (Storey p. 3)
is Culture? highly recommended
 outlines some
of the broad-ranging debates which have gone on about the concept of culture
during the past century.
 offer some insight into
what the culture debate means in our own lives and to provide some examples
of how cultural
meanings are formed, maintained,