Talk:Cultural studies

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Critical Theory vs. Marxist Literary Criticism[edit]

The first sentence describing cultural studies seems problematic to me. It is a contradiction- to say that CS is grounded in these two. Critical Studies, literally defined, in a misnomer. I think that perhaps it would read better if written "Cultural studies is an academic field concerned with the political nature of culture." -or- "Cultural Studies is an academic field concerned with systems of power." Start simple and then get into the different aspects of sourced theory and ideology? Let me know what you think. Marxist literary criticism build the framework for CS, but does not fundamentally represent cultural studies as it exists today. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:30, 10 March 2011 (UTC)


I think "came under the influence of the Frankfurt School" has undesirable connotations which make the Frankfurt School's critique of mass culture sound like a powerful narcotic (in the dialect of English I speak, at least, "under the influence" has a strong primary meaning of "intoxicated"). "Was influenced by" is free of this connotation, and so is better, as it draws on the primary scholarly meaning of "influence" as predecessor and inspiration. -- Rbellin 06:24, 23 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Marxist influence[edit]

Raymond Williams does apply a marxist model of culture, indeed. But it is not an orthodox marxism conception. Basically, the determination of the cultural superstructure by the base, and the conception of ideolology (the first developed by Marx just as an example), are both extensively critiziced by Williams in his book titled Culture (i'm not exactly sure about the title, sorry). He takes a different approach based on the concepts developed by Antonio Gramsci in his Prison Notesbooks, written while he was imprisoned by Mussolini (who was a marxist intelectual, but not orthodox).

Much of the article is critical of cultural studies and appears to have been written as a polemic. while this is informative and relevant to consideration of the topic, the criticism overwhelms topical material and positive critique. more substantive material or positive polemics are necessary for this page to present anything near a general and basic, (also unbiased) presentation of the matter. critique should be labelled as such so that the page doesn't appear to present nothing but negative statements as to a characterization of cultural studies.

British cultural studies[edit]

British cultural studies was originally leftist, but it was a reaction to orthodox Marxism, which many of the scholars in the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) at Birmingham University were interested in complementing with a more balanced view of society. From early on, the CCCS was interested in the lived experience of the everyday. If capitalist domination functioned through the ownership of the means of production and various other apparatus (following Marx, Gramsci, Althusser), then wouldn't it be just as valid to examine how everyday people encountered this domination and dealt with it, instead of only looking at the way messages of domination were produced?

In this respect Stuart Hall's contribution should not be overlooked. Hall's essay "Encoding/Decoding in the Television Discourse" was important because it introduced the idea that people viewing texts were free to understand them in a way that was different to the way the producer of the text intended. Once this was established, it helped develop a more balanced view of how power and domination might work in society. Instead of the meaning of a message (an advertisement, say) being injected into the viewer/reader/listener as if through a syringe, there is room for active interpretation, and even resistance to the message.

Hall's paper was also a reaction to behaviourism and positivism in the study of the media that was current in the 1970s (effects theories of communication, also referred to as hypodermic needle theories). So, British cultural studies can be viewed as both a reaction to orthodox Marxism, and as a respond to behaviourist and positivist research (which still has relevance today as some psychologists continue to search for proof of a hypodermic-style model of media effects). 10:35, 1 February 2007 (UTC)


While it is indeed true that some applications of Marxist cultural critism are rigidly deterministic (in my view the ones that derive from Stalinist schools of thought), it is hardly neutral to claim (as this article appears to, that all Marxist cultral critism is "rigidly deterministic". marxist critics would (for one) deny this.--JK the unwise 13:53, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

Aren't you no longer a Marxist once you drop the deterministic relationship of culture to the economic base structure? Aren't you "post-Marxist", "Marxist-influenced" or "Marxist-derived" once you don't accept that relationship as deterministic? So isn't it a valid use of the terminology to criticise "Marxist" analysis as deterministic? Therefore the only problem seems to be with the word "rigidly" being used to describe the determinism, not the determinism itself. Looking at the edit history reveals "rigidly deterministic" was removed 12 Dec 2005. So the objection appears to be dealt with and I will remove the NPOV flagging, if there is a problem with this, feel free to replace it but re-specify your reasons as the current complaint seems to have been satisfied a while ago. -- a visitor

it depends on what you think Marx's views were. This is not the place to determine the truth of what Marx said but rather just to note that there is debate about whether Marx's system was deterministic. For example the trotskyist John Rees(who sees himself as a traditional Marxist) writes that Marx and Engels "...were not mechanical materialists or economic determinists"(The Algebra of Revolution, P.97, Routledge, 1998. I have a problem with this debate because I'm not sure that "determinism" has a firm enough meaning to argue over, however like I said this isn't the place for the argument rather we should just note the debate.--JK the unwise 09:49, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
Reading the current version I have no complaint with it.--JK the unwise 09:53, 24 February 2006 (UTC)


Understand the immense complexity of the field of cultural studies and make the writer identify themselves by name.

Cultural Anthropology?!

Separate from "Area Studies"? What about History, Communication, Media, Rhetoric, Etc?

This intro makes Cultural Studies seem like frou frou crap.

There are more writers than just de Certeau. Cultural Studies is applicable to everyday life, and that makes it political.

It is also about Epistemology and the History of thought.

And in all my years in Cultural Studies, I have *never* heard them called 'researchers'. That term introduces a bad connotation.

etc, etc, etc. The writer needs to be named. He could be an anthropologist who hates cultural studies. The structure of thought in anthropology is very different from the structure of thought in cultural studies. Cultural Studies complicates everything. Anthropologists wish we would have left Foucault alone and just shut up. Granted, not all. Naturally.

As this is about an academic topic, let's show the respect that such articles need in order to be evaluated, and NAME NAMES. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

I agree with everything said above - especially the "etc, etc, etc." part. Also, it would be nice if, instead of Britain and American being compared, it were Britain and North America - Bloody American exceptionalists man.

Look, it's funny because this writer isn't named. (Type four tildes - ~~~~ - after your post to sign it.) --Grace 10:57, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

anthropology VS? cultural studies

The last poster may not have opened anything written by a cultural anthropologist in the last 25 years, but anyone who was to do so would be hard-pressed to miss the development of a very fruitful dialogue between anthropology (in all subfeilds of the discipline) and cultural studies. As he or she does not actually describe the "structure of thought" that is seen to characterize anthropology and which is so antithetical to that of cultural studies, it is hard for me to argue specifics. But suffice to say that, besides cross-publishing by the same authors in cultural studies and anthrpology journals (which is an obvious sign of cross-discplinary dialogue) it's hard to overstate the degree to which key theorists in cultural studies have influenced the majority of cultural anthropologists working today. Contrary to the implications of the previous post, its actually hard to find a contemporary author in anthropology who does not engage in some way with the work of authors such as Hall, Williams, etc. The ideas of these and other authors working in cultural studies have been part of the conceptual developments that have inspired a fundamental reworking of anthropological conceptions of identity as well as the relationship between (or dialectical interpenetration of) culture and power, giving rise to an entire body of anthropological scholarship on 'cultural politics'. This dialogue is so fundamental that the work of cultural studies authors is even referenced in some introductory cultural anthropology courses.

And, as a post script, I would add that, far from wishing that Foucault didn't exist, most cultural anthropologists have engaged with his ideas so deeply that many scholars referencing biopower and governmentality no longer cite Foucault directly - because he has become part of the canon of the discipline for so many anthropologists working today. Azontine 00:03, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Sokal overemphasis?[edit]

I wonder if the Sokal hoax/controversy is given too much attention here. I mean, he did lampoon a cultural studies journal (Social Text), but I always felt that he was spoofing postmodernism. In any case, I think that the Sokal hoax was clever, but it's often used as a wrecking ball by people who think that Reason, Rationality, and Science should lord over all thought. Cultural studies has, for my money, contributed to the critique of Western knowledge. Anyway, I'm for truncating the huge quotes and emphasis on Sokal. --Dylanfly 21:27, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

I agree, the Sokal hoax shouldn't be covered in so much depth here, as it's not really centrally about cultural studies. Also, the semi-random list of theorists seems like it doesn't really belong in this article (few of those names are primarily associated with cultural studies). And while we're discussing places to trim, the See Also list might use a bit of pruning. -- Rbellin|Talk 21:38, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Bakhtin quote[edit]

The note from Bakhtin is poorly attributed. It doesn't provide the text (The Dialogic Imagination?). First of all, Bakhtin never mentioned cultural studies---it comes far after, but he has had a huge impact on the field. Also, I suspect that this reference is from an intro. to the book, written by another scholar. Can someone clear it up? --Dylanfly 21:35, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Fixed it. Was indeed the Dialogic Imagination, and it is a Bakhtin citation, not from his editor. But it's still a bit poorly done at this point. I recommend editing on this little area. --Dylanfly 17:17, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

area studies link[edit]

There is some question whether the following paragraph should stay:

In a loosely related but separate usage, the phrase cultural studies sometimes serves as a rough synonym for area studies, as a general term referring to the academic study of particular cultures in departments and programs such as Islamic studies, Asian studies, African American studies, et al.. However, strictly speaking, cultural studies programs (such as the PhD program at George Mason University and at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro) are not concerned with specific areas of the world so much as specific cultural practices.

I think the article should continue to note that "cultural studies" is often used as a synonym for area studies. The non-expert reader may otherwise come to this article confused about why it does not describe the area-studies fields. I realize that's not the subject of this article (and it shouldn't be), but this usage crops up enough that readers may need direction. Having said that, we could certainly trim and/or reword this, or relocate it elsewhere in the article if there's a reason to do so. The second sentence and especially the mentions of particular programs seem a bit out of place here. -- Rbellin|Talk 22:08, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Sorry for just deleting that out of hand. Thanks to User:Rbellin for observing polite protocol. I think the beginning of the piece (the paragraph Rbellin quotes) is sticky, awkward, and marginally useful. I mean, I'm a prof in the field and this isn't a concern. I think there could be some mention somewhere, but not right up front . Also, George Mason, Islamic studies, UNC Greenboro... I mean this is a LOT of clutter. GMU and UNC-G aren't well known in the field at all. So the article launches the reader off into some unhelpful directions. I propose we junk the area studies stuff altogether, omit references to GMU and UNC-G, and get the article off to a flying start. :) --Dylanfly 22:14, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
I agree that this reads a bit awkwardly, but I think at least the first sentence ought to stay. A good lead section in a Wikipedia article needs to distinguish the article's subject from other topics that resemble or overlap it. -- Rbellin|Talk 22:36, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
Hmmm. I see your point, but after the first two paragraphs, the avg. reader is going to have practically no clue as to what cult stud is. That's pretty weak for an encyclopedia. It's sorta like introducing Babe Ruth by talking about football, hockey, Hank Aaron, and radio. I mean, seems to me we gotta come out and say what the field is, not what it's confused with, not what it's related to. That comes in down the line. I don't object in pointing out that it is, by definition, interdisciplinary, but I think the start of the article isn't too constructive. --Dylanfly 23:00, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
I agree that the lead section badly needs rewriting for accuracy and lucidity. But even a pithy and accurate lead could (and in my opinion should) close with this sentence pointing to area studies. That the current lead section doesn't provide a helpful capsule summary of what cultural studies is is not a reason to delete the pointer to a commonly confused field that it is not. -- Rbellin|Talk 17:28, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

Condensing lists[edit]

I took the liberty of "condensing" the "SEE ALSO" and "Compare" sections. That is, instead of a vertical list, I made them into continuous, horizontal text. This helps to compact the material, save printing, and (I think) make the article more readable. It's also the format used in print encyclopedias. I propose doing the same for that theorists list. --Dylanfly 22:26, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Frankly, I think the list of theorists should simply be deleted. I can't see what purpose it serves here, and it's too vague a miscellany to be truly useful to interested readers. About the format of the See Also section, please see Wikipedia:Guide to layout#See_also for the standard form these lists take on Wikipedia. I think Wikipedia style consistency generally trumps individual article editors' ideas on format for things like this. -- Rbellin|Talk 22:39, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
As for deleting the list of scholars, I say yeah. I mean, I think we should get them across in the article. Marx, Gramsci, McRobbie, Hall, etc. It's redundant to make a list. If they're important, the ought to be integrated and mentioned, eh whot? --Dylanfly 23:04, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Links to Greensboro and GMU[edit]

Folks, I don't think it's valid to favor UNC-Greensboro or George Mason. They're undistinguished cult studs programs. I've got nothing against them, but they don't deserve mention or a link. No more or less do they deserve this than about 100 other cult stud programs. I'm beginning to suspect a COI (Conflict of Interest).--Dylanfly 16:21, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

I agree. The external links to these places don't really belong here, on the Wikipedia is not a directory of external Web links principle. If someone wants to write a paragraph or two discussing North American cultural studies programs in a neutral and well-sourced way, that would be a useful addition (but there too we'd want to avoid giving undue prominence to specific programs unless that prominence is widely acknowledged elsewhere). -- Rbellin|Talk 17:00, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
I left a note on that recent user's page, and have gotten no reply, nor have we heard any comments in this space, so I've got an nixed the link to George Mason. If folks feel the need to nominate a link to a particular cult stud program, please discuss here first. :) --Dylanfly 19:07, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

Adequate references?[edit]

Perhaps the call for more references ought now to be removed? --Dylanfly 17:09, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Done. This was egregious, though it might to do with {{refimprove}}'s original design. Circeus 15:04, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

influence of Frankfurt School[edit]

The Frankfurt School was always more influential in the United States. In England in the 1970s and 1980s the primary influence was the structuralist Marxism of Louis Althusser, and others influenced by him. The text has been changed to correct an undue emphasis on the Frankfurt School. (9 Sept 2007) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:22, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Australian views vs CCCS' views?[edit]

Folks, I feel that Tony Bennett and the Aussies aren't getting their due here. There has been a strong Foucauldian position in cultural studies emanating from Australia. I'm surprised the Down Under crew hasn't addressed it here, but we do need to take it on . Smilo Don (talk) 18:20, 27 March 2008 (UTC)


The criticism section focuses mainly on people who criticize what might loosely be called "continental philosophy" generally. However there is also criticism from within that roughly delineated grouping; for example, Zizek has made numerous critical comments, especially of American cultural studies. I'm not really familiar enough myself to write this section, though. --Delirium (talk) 06:10, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

Does anyone who watches this page follow work on Queer theory or Feminist theory?[edit]

If so could you check out this discussion and see if you can add some clarity? Slrubenstein | Talk 01:50, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

Original Research/missing citations?[edit]

While I think this is a good article in many ways, lots of potentially tendentious statements are not given a citation and seem to be POV or original research. I'm not saying it's not a good, incisive summary of the emergence of the concept of cultural studies, but it definitely needs more referencing. So I've tagged it here (on the talk page) as "Original Research". I don't know if it's now wikipedia policy to place these tags on talk pages rather than on the article itself, but being cautious, I've done it here. GKantaris (talk) 16:33, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

What's the point though if no one plans to fix it? The Sound and the Fury (talk) 01:28, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

Contested deletion[edit]

I may not understand the Duplicate Detector, but it seems to say that it found (only) two matching phrases. Is this correct? If so, it doesn't seem adequate grounds. To be sure, the notes for the article are quite inadequate, but if the text is not copied and pasted, then the issue is different. ) ch (talk) 23:09, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

Restored article[edit]

I have restored this article because I do not see any evidence of copyright infringement.

The book named as having been infringed, English Language and Literary Criticism, was published on April 30, 2009, according to Amazon. The matching text, however, was added to the Wikipedia article on April 6, 2006. Without any other evidence, it appears that the book copied from the Wikipedia article and not the other way around.

If anyone finds copyright violations from other works, please be sure to indicate exactly what was copied here on the talk page if it's not obvious. ... discospinster talk 02:02, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

Reverted recent additions under "academic reception/sociologists"[edit]

It looks like someone decided to add what reads like a dissertation abstract from the field of cultural studies that doesn't have anything to do with an overview of the subject of cultural studies. It's explaining de Lizaur's various positions, written in the tone of a research paper. Pretty clearly in the WP:SYN area of WP:OR. More obviously, it has nothing to do with academic reception of cultural studies. (Note that this is not a judgment of Dr. de Lizaur, her positions, or the quality of academic work introduced here -- it's just not appropriate for Wikipedia. --Rhododendrites (talk) 14:53, 17 October 2013 (UTC)

Bias and structure of the article[edit]

This article, and in particular the introduction don't have the form of a Wikipedia article. The introduction is too long, the article repeat itself and don't explore things in depth. It's also biased. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:43, 23 April 2016 (UTC)

I've removed a bit of unsourced, improperly sourced, or essay-like content, as well as a number of non-notable organizations. This may address some of your concerns. Please be more specific if you have concerns that haven't been addressed. For instance, what bias are you referring to? Chrisw80 (talk) 17:15, 23 April 2016 (UTC)
The claim of "intricate detail" that has been entered above the article seems patently wrong to me, particularly when this entry is compared to other entries that deal with academic fields, many of which are far more elaborated and detailed than this entry. Nor can I find any evidence of "bias," whatever that might mean to the anonymous complainant.Chacocaca (talk) 00:59, 1 May 2016 (UTC)