資料彙整   /  概念  /  文化研究主要概念:0.Main Concerns and History

What is Cultural Studies?
    Main Concerns and History


I. Main Concerns:
Culture --
  • Raymond William: 'a particular way of life, whether of a people, a period or a group'
  • John Fiske: culture in cultural studies 'is neither aesthetic nor humanist in emphasis, but political.'
  • Richard Johnson: ". . . cultural processes are intimately connected with social relations, . . . " (1: 3)
  • popular culture-- central to the project of cultural studies.  (1: 1)

 2. Text --
  • Richard Johnson: ". . . the ultimate object of cultural studies is not . .  . the text, but the social life of subjective forms at each moment of their circulation, including their textual embodiment."
  • John Frow and Meaghan Morris: "Rather than designating a place where meanings are constructed in a single level of inscription (writing, speech, film, dress. .  .), it works as an interleaving[sic] of 'levels'.  If a shopping mall [for example] is conceived on the model of textuality, then this 'text' involves practices, institutional structures and the complex forms of agency they entail, legal, political, and financial conditions of existence, and particular flows of power and knowledge, as well as a particular multilayered semantic organization; it is an ontologically mixed entity, and one for which there can be no privileged or 'correct' reading.  (1: 2)
 Hegemony and the consumer
Hegemony theory in cultural studies operates not always quite as formatted by Gramsci.  The concept has been expanded and elaborated to take into account other areas of struggle.  Whereas for Gramsci the concept is used to explain and explore relations of power articulated in terms of class, recent formulations in cultural studies have extended the concept to include, for example, gender, race, meaning and pleasure.  (1: 10)  history ->
Neo-Gramscian hegemony theory at its best insists that there is a dialectic between the processes of production and the activities of consumption.  The consumer always confronts a text or practice in its material existence as a result of determinate conditions of production.  But in the same way, the text or practice is confronted by a consumer who in effect produce in use the range of possible meaning(s)--these cannot just be read off from the materiality of the text or practice, or the means or relations of its production.  (1: 9)

In every decade in the history of cultural studies, the point has been made and repeated.  It is the 'Gramscian insistence' (before, with and after Gramsci), learnt from Marx, that we make culture and we are made by culture; that is agency and there is structure.

 Articulation: to express and to join together

[Hall] argues that cultural texts are not inscribed with meaning guaranteed once and for all by the intentions of production; meaning is always the result of an act of 'articulation' meaning meaning has to be expressed, but it is always expressed in a specific context, a specific historical moment, within a specific discourse(s).  Thus expression is always connected (articulated) to and conditioned by context.  (1:4) 


II. History
英國文化研究興起的社會因素:(學院內建制:1964  Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies)

  • 二次大戰後英國社會面臨全面性調整(如「經濟蕭條、生產方式重組、福利國家的建立、冷戰態勢的形成﹐似乎重新調整了經濟、社會、文化及政治之間的關係」2: 8)﹐美國文化入侵
   新左派(New Left)
  • 關心文化議題 2: 7);「新左派之名誕生於一九五六年的歷史環結中:十一月蘇聯坦克開入匈牙利鎮壓匈牙利革命;不久﹐英法入侵蘇伊士運河區。」(前者代表史達林的教條主義﹐後者代表殖民主義。)
  • 新左派的社會主張
    1. 投入社會運動﹐表達對工人階級的關懷(e.g. Richard Hoggart, The Use of Literacy; Raymond Williams Culture and Society, The Long Revolution, E.P. Thompson The Making of English Working Class. )
    2. 「在『全面的改變』[社會全面中產階級化]或是『沒有任何改變』[老左派]之間﹐新左派承認戰後資本主義的發展是有結構性的改變﹐必須重新分析……﹐這些過程確實造成了社會結構及政治意識上轉變的效果。消費主義的擴散瓦解了許多傳統文化上的認知﹐社會位階(social hierarchy)也產生了新的社會認知及位階的重組。…需要細膩……分析。」2: 9)
    3. 文化層次不再是次要的;權力關係普遍存在。
  文化研究的理論發展:2: 11)
社會主義者的人道主義(socialist humanism)
Hoggart, Williams, Thompson; 新左派 創造力行動主體
60's --
Althusser 的反人道主義 反對將主體及其生活經驗視為歷史的來源
Gramsci vs.
-- Derrida +
-- Althusser + Lacan
80's 中期  -- postmodern debate    

  Guiding principles of hegemony

  • 50's -- how [mass productions] are altering those attitudes and how they are meeting resistance.  [culturalism, the account of culture as 'ordinary', the making and taking of meaning in everyday life.']
  • 60's --   given a culturalist accent by Hall and Whannel; 'Teenage culture is a contradictory misture of the authentic and the manufactured: it is an area of self-expression for the young and a lush graxing pasture for the commercial providers'.
  • 70's--Gramscian tone; Clarke, 'Each group makes something of its starting conditions -- and through this 'making', through this practice, culture is reproduced and transmitted."
  • 80's -- Foucauldian--Mica Nava; 'Consumerism is a discourse through which disciplinary power is both exercised and contested.'
  • 90's postmodernism  (1: 10)

  Cultural Studies and Marxism

  • Green: cultural studies was born in a double refusal.  One the one hand, it 'refused the elitism of high culture and the great tradition' and, on the other, 'it was equally opposed to the reductions of marxism understood as a hard determinism of the economic'.(1: 7)


  1. Storey, John.  "Cultural Studies: an introduction."  What is Cultural Studies: A Reader.  Ed. John Storey.   London: Arnold, 1996.
  2. 陳光興.  〈英國文化研究的系譜學〉.  《內爆麥當奴》.  陳光興、楊明敏編.  台北:島嶼邊緣雜誌社, 1992:7-15。


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