intro to C.S.
*discussion: What is culture for you? Is MacDonald's part
of Taiwanese culture?
What is Culture? 'cultural processes'? 'Circuit of Culture'?
What is Cultural Svudies?
The focuses of this course: Culture and identity
an approach, in literary study as well as other areas in the Humantities,
with some basic assumptions
an academic discipline--its history
--the selection and interpretation of cultural messages are essential
to the process through which our identities are constructed.
--three directions for group report: quest narratives, cyborg narratives
and immigrant narratives
Romantic Poetry: its productkon and regulation
Resources on the web:
is Culture? " 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,
Readings: "Cultural Studies: an introduction" (esp. pp. 3-6)
What is Culture? (from Representation
Hall, 1997, p. 3)
1. traditional ones:
"vhe 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 'pupular culture' of an age.
"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
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 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,
*another way of defining "production" is to see the production of
meaning at different culvural moments: "material production, symbolic production,
textual production, and the 'production in use' of consumption" (J. Storey
'the production and circulation of meaning through language';
"language" as system of representation, as a signifying practice (semiotic
approach), and as
government rolicies and regulations;
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 and identity.
a dynamic process that is often contested'
derive from a multiplicity of sources--from nationanity, ethnicity, social
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 we live.
"cultural economy" economic processes and practices as cultural phenomena,
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.
Basic assumptions of cultural studies:
de-centering, interdisciplinary &amr; contextualizing--no 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 excjanges (migration).
"Marxism informs cultural studies in two fundamental ways.
1. to understand the meanings of culture we must analyse 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