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Globalization is ordinary

The institutionalization and codification of Cultural Studies continue apace. This is evident, for example, in the recurring debates and anxieties about disciplinary boundaries, artistic and ethical values, and the de-radicalization of Cultural Studies itself. Meanwhile, an apparently endless stream of publications – readers, textbooks and collections of (more or less) concrete analyses – feeds the demands of teachers and students in higher education. Cultural Studies has become a complex institutional UKand USA-centred assemblage whose parameters are nevertheless transnational, organized around publishers (Routledge, Sage, Duke University Press), journals (Cultural Studies, Public Culture, New Formations, Positions, The Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies (Travesía), Social Text, differences, the recently launched Keywords) and key pedagogic sites (from the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, the Open University and Goldsmithsʼ College in the UK, passing through the Duke and Chapel Hill universities of the North Carolina Research Triangle in the USA, to the Center for Cultural Studies at Taiwanʼs National Tsing Hua University). Recently, its programmes and conferences have begun to attract sponsors – the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations being interested players in the USA and beyond. There is even a star system that provides a set of biographies around which to emplot its history (Richard Hoggart, Raymond Williams, Stuart Hall). [1] For some time now, we have been living through a boom in Cultural Studies.

Forty years after the publication of Raymond Williamsʼs janus-faced pair of texts Culture and Society, 1780–1950 and ʻCulture is Ordinaryʼ – the first bidding farewell to one tradition of thinking about ʻcultureʼ and the ʻmassesʼ, and the second inaugurating another, more radical, engaged and democratic one2 – Cultural Studies is an almost unmappable field of critical enquiry endowed, nevertheless, with a set of both languages and local histories. At its most institutionally radical it is an anti-disciplinary discipline with a multitude of practitioners working, on the one hand, at the boundaries between disciplines and, on the other, in response to social movements and even political parties, with an eye to illuminating the ways in which relations of power are experienced in everyday life. [3]

Consumption without production

However, in her important essay ʻBanality in Cultural Studiesʼ, published in 1988, the Australian critic Meaghan Morris had spotted the populist spectre haunting the field in the form of a rhetoric or repeatable style that seemed to confirm not only its institutionalization but also its industrialization as an intellectual product: having read one cultural study, one increasingly had the feeling of having read them all. [4] The key to this experience is to be found, Morris suggests, in a generalized overvaluation of the power of ʻthe peopleʼ to read creatively and to appropriate the products of mass culture in such a way that the particularities of their mode of production, and its determinations, are erased. Such a populism emerges in a narcissistic simulacrum of identity ʻbetween the knowing subject of cultural studies, and a collective subject, the “people”ʼ. The latter, she goes on,have no necessary defining characteristics – except an indomitable capacity to ʻnegotiateʼ readings, generate new interpretations and remake the materials of culture. … So against the hegemonic force of the dominant classes, ʻthe peopleʼ in fact represent the most creative energies and functions of critical reading. In the end they are not simply the cultural studentʼs object of study, and his native informants.

The people are also the textually delegated, allegorical emblem of the criticʼs own activity. [5]

Globalization is ordinary The transnationalization of cultural studies

John kraniauskas

The textual alliance – or political ventriloquism – Morris discovers in the populism of British Cultural Studies in the 1980s thus has an identifiable conceptual site: an idea of consumption without production – in which ʻproductionʼ would stand for non-populist social particularity and/or the ignored materiality of historical and ideological determination, whilst ʻconsumptionʼ is transformed into a Bakhtinian realm of freedom. [6] This clearly demands to be read as an inversion of the position associated with the ideology-critique of the Frankfurt School, which can be formulated for our purposes here as a production without consumption – in which the abstract logics of commodification and instrumental reason (ideology) incorporate the consumer-reader into the realm of necessity, without remainder. There productivity of consumption was reduced to reproduction. From this point of view, it is possible to interpret ʻBritish Cultural Studiesʼ – or at least those examples with which Morris is concerned – as a populist and uncritical attempt at rescuing ʻthe peopleʼ (who consume) from the prison-house of ideological determination. [7]

Arguably, in her critique of this particular turn in Cultural Studies, Morris delineates the core theoretical and political space of the field itself. It would not, therefore, be the case that it fell into populism in the 1980s after the waning in influence of the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (which, like so many other cultural critics, she mourns) and the rise of Thatcherism. Nor is it merely a question of this or that study being populist in intent. It is rather that populism – its problematic as sketched by Morris – is a constitutive dimension of the field of Cultural Studies itself. [8] There are theoretical and historical reasons for this.

The critical concept of ʻcultureʼ associated with Cultural Studies emerged in dialogue, and indeed conflict, not only with the sedimented conservative concept of ʻcultureʼ associated with the cultivation of taste, but also with traditional Western Marxist concepts of ʻideologyʼ, associated with Lukács (a commodity-centred ʻfalse consciousnessʼ) and Althusser (a state-centred reproduction of structures via ʻinterpellationʼ). It is possible to trace the history of this conflict and dialogue not only in the work of both Williams and Hall but also in the hugely influential historiography of E.P. Thompson and those such as Raphael Samuel associated with the journal History Workshop, as well as in the studies of the Birmingham Centre. Such conceptions of ideology, whilst enhancing the interpretative power (the cultural capital) of intellectuals – who reveal the historical truth behind the ideological illusions that (a) institute a social process of forgetting, and (b) motivate always already recuperable political action – radically de-historicize and disempower the constituencies they present themselves as representing. In the uncritical use of the traditional concept of ʻideologyʼ there is always a danger of a redoubling of the ideological effect through which enlightened intellectual power is installed – the place from where the diagnosis of ʻideologyʼ is enunciated – and the subaltern subalternized.

The Cultural Studies concept of ʻcultureʼ thus struggles with the idea that it is possible to recuperate the real knowledges, histories, memories and practices of these constituencies – configured usually according to ʻraceʼ, class, gender or age – to be found in the very heartland of ʻideologyʼ: for example, in reading as an activity that may use objects and texts in ways not established in their codification or production. [9] In this sense, it extends the democratizing gesture of the anthropological concept of culture as a ʻwhole way of lifeʼ into ideology, whilst – at its non-populist best – recognizing the power of existing structures, including the intellectual elitism of the ideology of ʻideologyʼ: culture, now, as a ʻwhole way of struggleʼ. [10] Rather than the mere valorization of popular or mass cultural forms as such, it is this cultural work of recovery that constitutes the populism that Cultural Studies must – perhaps rightly – risk and pass through. For a concept of ʻcultureʼ that refuses to recognize the power of ideology, be it in the form of commodification and interpellation, or in the epistemic violence that intellectually disempowers, surely does fall into a form of populism that is, in effect, a celebration of the given, reproducing the ʻideological effectʼ of which it is critical: hegemonic capture through ʻmisrecognitionʼ. From this point of view, a critical concept of ʻcultureʼ needs a conception of ideology, just as a critical concept of ʻideologyʼ needs a conception of culture. The early work of Williams and Thompson has been identified with the ʻself-makingʼ culturalist (and populist) side of this tense theoretical space – the key contested term in the 1970s being ʻexperienceʼ rather than ʻconsumptionʼ – whilst the Cultural Studies associated with the Birmingham Centre may be identified with the side of the ʻideologistsʼ, in which recovered forms of resistance were usually shown in the last instance to be structurally overdetermined.

The simulacral gesture of British Cultural Studies as described by Morris – however problematic – would, therefore, seem to respond to a constitutively antiideological and recuperative dimension of the critical concept of ʻcultureʼ that produces Cultural Studies itself. Her example of populism – of consumption without production – even takes the step of appearing to enable ʻthe peopleʼ to share in the speaking of cultural study. From a more literary point of view than Morrisʼs, one might appreciate the radical character of such a gesture as a symbolic act, a kind of utopian fiction of intellectual de-subalternization: how is political responsibility re-presented in the grammar of critique? But because it forgets ʻproductionʼ and displays no appreciation of the real effects of ʻideologyʼ – which in this case seem rather to be disavowed – such a gesture remains entrapped by a populism (the political diagnosis of ʻculturalismʼ) that is voluntaristic at best, a ventriloquism at worst, but that is, never-of subjecthood) so that consent to rule is ideology;12 or, it can seem to weaken it, in so far as it also envisions a politics of alliance which would include negotiation with, and the satisfaction of, alternative corporate needs, desires and fantasies (ʻinterestsʼ in a more Leninist theory of ideology). In this case, forces of counter-hegemony are endowed with transformative agency, a material ʻothernessʼ that hegemonic rule must recognize so as to incorporate. Here negotiation, even rearticulation (as in Hallʼs analysis of Thatcherism as an ʻauthoritarian populismʼ), disturbs the power of ideology. Second, when the political field is thought from the point of view of hegemony, the more abstract determinations associated with the economic instance (such as class) tend to recede with concretion. Their place is taken by new subject positions that are at once polarized and meshed:13 the dominant and the dominated, the hegemonic bloc and the subaltern, the ruling classes and ʻthe peopleʼ – which, of course, doubles as the key legitimizing concept of modern politics. Thus the concept of hegemony produces counter-hegemony as popular, the work of ʻthe peopleʼ, and suitable for cultural recuperation against ideology.

This is a minimal diagram of the relations between the core concepts of Cultural Studies established during the 1960s and 1970s. According to Dennis Dworkin, the not-so-secret cargo of Cultural Studies was the production of a postwar local cultural Marxism in Britain, which reached its peak in the second half of the 1970s. [14] I agree. Indeed, I would go so far as to suggest that the critical concept of culture developed in dialogue with the concepts of ideology and hegemony constitutes an extension and renewal of Western Marxism in a post-imperial UK, the intellectual subject of which would be collective, dispersed and even internally antagonistic, although centred on the work * Paul du Gay, Stuart Hall, Linda Janes, Hugh Mackay and Keith Negus, Doing Cultural Studies: The Story of the Sony Walkman, Sage (in association with the Open University), London, Thousand Oaks CA and New Delhi, 1997. 151 pp., £37.50 hb., £11.99 pb., 0 7619 5433 3 hb., 0 7619 5434 1 pb. Hereafter cited as DCS. Stuart Hall, ed., Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices, Sage Publications (in association with the Open University), London, Thousand Oaks CA and New Delhi, 1997. 400 pp., £39.99 hb., £13.99 pb., 0 7619 5431 7 hb., 0 7619 5432 5 pb. Hereafter cited as RCRSP. Kathryn Woodward, ed., Identity and Difference, Sage Publications (in association with the Open University), London,

Thousand Oaks CA and New Delhi, 1997. 358 pp., £39.99 hb., £13.99 pb., 0 7619 5433 3 hb., 0 7619 5434 1 pb. Hereafter cited as ID. Pual du Gay, ed., Production of Culture/Cultures of Production, Sage Publications (in association with the Open University),

London, Thousand Oaks CA and New Delhi, 1997. 356 pp., £40.00 hb., £13.99 pb., 0 7619 5435 X hb., 0 7619 5436 8 pb.

Hereafter cited as PC/CP. Hugh Mackay, ed., Consumption and Everyday Life, Sage Publications (in association with the Open University), London,

Thousand Oaks CA and New Delhi, 1997. 320 pp., £40.00 hb., £13.99 pb., 0 7619 5437 6 hb., 0 7619 5438 4 pb. Hereafter cited as CEL. Kenneth Thompson, ed., Media and Cultural Regulation, Sage Publications (in association with the Open University),

London, Thousand Oaks CA and New Delhi, 1997. 248 pp., £40.00 hb., £13.99 pb., 0 7619 5439 2 hb., 0 7619 5440 6 pb.

Hereafter cited as MCR.theless, in some sense a stylistic extension of a demand which is constitutive of the Cultural Studies endeavour in the first place.

‘critical culture’

The problematic constitutive of the radicalized field of Cultural Studies in the 1970s is perhaps best formulated as follows: ideology without culture is (historically) empty, culture without ideology is (politically) blind. These are the parameters of the conceptual site from which the critical concept of culture emerges, in a ʻpopulistʼ tussle with ʻideologyʼ. At this point another keyword must be brought to bear: hegemony. One of the main theoretical functions of the concept of hegemony is precisely to mediate the tensions outlined above between the concepts of ʻcultureʼ and ʻideologyʼ. It is the theoretical space from which it is possible to describe Cultural Studies as simultaneously a move away from Marxism and a move into Marxism. [11] ʻHegemonyʼ works in two directions at once: making ideology concrete, and everyday life political. It is the principal mechanism through which the ideas of the ruling class become general (ideology) so that their rule is lived (culture) as consent. Hegemony fastens the state into everyday life and everyday life into the state. This is one way in which ʻhegemonyʼ, famously, undermines the epistemological value of the ʻbase–superstructureʼ metaphor.

Although not populist as such, the concept of ʻhegemonyʼ does tend to reinforce the populist dimension of Cultural Studies in two related ways: by weakening the grasp of ideology and focusing attention on popular agency. First, the idea of ʻconsentʼ can either strengthen the power of ideological incorporation without remainder (as in Althusserʼs development of it in the theory of interpellation – the misrecognition of key individuals. [15] It is from this decentred tradition that the recently published six-volume series of texts Culture, Media and Identities emerges, incorporating and summarizing many, if not all, of the mutations and transformations of the critical concept of culture.* Of all the readers and introductions to Cultural Studies that have appeared over the last few years, this series is probably the most interesting. This is because it shows Cultural Studies at work, as both an analytical disposition and as an alternative pedagogy. Nevertheless, a fundamental characteristic of the history of the field it evokes is a theoretical inflation of the concept of culture as a way of thinking about relations of power, and the simultaneous waning – to near invisibility – of the power of the concepts of ideology and hegemony as critical markers of class rule. [16] If the 1970s witnessed a critical moving into Marxism by Cultural Studies, these texts reflect upon the subsequent moving away.

The circuit of culture

Open University Course D318, Culture, Media and Identities, is organized around five cultural processes: representation, identity, production, consumption and regulation. Each process has a volume dedicated to it. Together they make up what the course organizers (and volume editors) call ʻthe circuit of cultureʼ. In addition, an excellent introductory volume dedicated to the cultural significance of the Sony Walkman analyses a specific articulation of all five processes together. The series is exemplary in its range, combining theoretical exegesis and an interdisciplinary approach with investigations of a variety of histories, practices, objects and subjects that are, furthermore, cross-referenced to other moments in the circuit of culture contained in other volumes. The idea of complex multi-determination throughout the circuit is thus enhanced.Doing Cultural Studies: The Story of the Sony Walkman, written by five members of the course team, introduces the student-reader to the idea of ʻthe circuit of cultureʼ and sets it to work in relation to a particularly well-chosen cultural object that condenses many of the issues dealt with in the series, some of which are not named in the circuit. Globalization is one, to which I shall return below. The relation between private and public spheres is another. The latter is dealt with here in the chapter dedicated to regulation. This is the process within the circuit of culture that looks at the roles of the law and the market in regulating culture, and the role of culture in regulating the law and the market. The main point is that use of the Walkman tends to cut across public and private spheres against the grain of ʻthe increasing privatization of cultural lifeʼ to become, uncannily, ʻout of placeʼ. It does this, of course, by undoing the opposition and inverting the norm – that is, by facilitating private listening and entertainment in public (DCS, p. 120).

It is hardly surprising, then, that when the transgressive dimension of listening under the heading of ʻconsumptionʼ is discussed, the spectre of populism as diagnosed by Meaghan Morris in the 1980s – consumption without production – emerges again, as does the relation between Cultural Studies and the Frankfurt School. And it emerges with regard to one of the same critics referred to by Morris – Iain Chambers – upon whose account of the Walkmanʼs blurring of boundaries between public and private spheres the authors of the volume rely.

According to du Gay, Hall et al., consumption is best interpreted as ʻthe production of meaning through usageʼ – the populist recuperative (and antiideological) moment of Cultural Studies – and as always inscribed in a ʻcomplex power geometryʼ that ʻrecognizes the uneven and differentiated nature of Walkman useʼ (pp. 108, 109).17 The volumeʼs authors marshal difference against Chambersʼ totalizing and binarized version of the opposition of consumption to production, tracing instead both the continuities between the codes governing the manufacture, marketing and use of the Walkman (including those deemed transgressive) and the discontinuities. The recuperative paradigm of Cultural Studies thus remains in operation but is radicalized in a nonpopulist direction through an appeal to differential contextualization – or ʻcontingencyʼ – rather than a Western Marxist sense of ideological recuperation; for example, as a contradictory intensification of the bourgeois notion of possessive individualism, however liberating, through entertainment. Although recogniz-ing a degree of reproduction in consumption, the authors resist ideologycritique and political diagnosis in favour of a radical – or ʻnewʼ – historicism (see ʻIntroductionʼ, CEL, pp. 1–11). The ʻarticulationʼ of the different moments of the cultural circuit, they insist, are ʻnot necessary, determined, or absolute and essential for all time; rather … [their] … conditions of existence or emergence need to be located in the contingencies of circumstanceʼ (DCS, p. 3). 18 In this new mutation of the paradigm of Cultural Studies, ideology – and, some might add, history – is lost between necessity and contingency.

The other five volumes, dedicated to the different but related processes constitutive of the circuit of culture, similarly investigate a variety of cultural practices and forms (photography, story-telling, film and music) while at the same time outlining the shifting paradigms of Cultural Studies since the 1970s. The linguistic and psychoanalytic turns in cultural criticism are important parts of this story, as they are of the analyses of the gendered, sexualized and racialized subjectivities which are reflected upon in the series, especially in Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices, edited by Stuart Hall, and Identity and Difference, edited by Kathryn Woodward. What emerges with particular clarity for the readerstudent in these volumes is that Cultural Studies has not only been concerned with recuperating the experiences of modernity, hegemony, colonization, the culture industries and so forth, but also with the ways in which the social and the psychic realms intersect to constitute subjects, identities and social agents. The ʻwork of representationʼ (Hall, RCRSP, pp. 13–64) is, of course, crucial in this regard, and Stuart Hall, in his chapter on the subject, reminds his readers of the centrality of the semiotic paradigm in Cultural Studies, from the study of myth and fashion in Roland Barthes and its anthropological (Lévi-Strauss) and psychoanalytic (Lacan) inflections, through to the socio-dialogics of Voloshinov, and beyond to Foucauldian notions of discourse and knowledge-power. In combination with psycho-analysis, semiotics and discourse theory became important ways for Cultural Studies to consider the social grammar of subjectivity as it traverses the psyche, offering up diverse social positions to be taken up, desired, disavowed. In this sense, Cultural Studies in the 1970s and 1980s picked up and critically transformed older aestheticist conceptions of ʻcultureʼ designed then to actually fashion – that is, ʻimproveʼ – subjects. [19] The main ideas under which such cultural transformation is imposed today are, of course, ʻmodernizationʼ and ʻdevelopmentʼ.

The chapters that follow focus their attention on a variety of regulative signifying practices, concentrating in the main on iconic, visual forms of address – so important to psychoanalysis – and questions of looking and display: in postwar French photography (Peter Hamilton), museums (Henrietta Lidchi), soap opera (Christine Gledhill), ʻnew manʼ advertising (Sean Nixon), and colonial and post-colonial spectacles of ʻraceʼ (Hall). In ʻThe Body and Differenceʼ (ID, pp. 63–107), meanwhile, Chris Shilling foregrounds the extraordinary importance of Pierre Bourdieuʼs social anthropology for contemporary Cultural Studies in his reflections on ʻphysical capitalʼ, suggesting that we do not forget the historical and social configurations of ʻembodimentʼ beyond the purely semiotic. Thus, apart from the specific investigations the series contains, it also evokes an intellectual history of Cultural Studies: from Williams and Barthes in the 1960s and 1970s to Bourdieu and Foucault in the 1980s. [20]

As is now well known, all relational and structuralist definitions of ʻidentityʼ presuppose ʻdifferenceʼ. But identity does not always successfully impose itself on difference; nor does difference only buttress identity. It also disrupts identity, including the identity of Cultural Studies. The two major transformations of Cultural Studies and its critical concept of culture were the product of feminist and anti-racist cultural criticism in the mid-1970s and 1980s. They were felt on both the culturalist and Marxist sides of the late 1970s paradigm of Cultural Studies: its very own critical concept of ʻcultureʼ was revealed now to have been not only culturally and historically empty but also ideologically and politically blind to the particular experiences of more than half the population of Britain, let alone the world! Gay and queer studies would subsequently further trouble and dynamize the field. The effects of these critiques are evident in all six volumes of this series, but particularly in the two mentioned above and in Media and Cultural Regulation, edited by Kenneth Thompson. Again the work of Hall is important here (apart from co-authoring the first volume and editing the second, he has written three chapters for the series), but the collection also includes excellent chapters by Lynne Segal on the social and gendered configurations of sexuality (ID, pp. 183–228), Bhikhu Parekh on the pros and cons of multiculturalism (MCR, pp. 163–94), and Paul Gilroy, who, continuing his critique of ʻethnic absolutismsʼ, writes on the terror and migrancy constitutive of diasporic identities (ID, pp. 299–343).21

There is a very real sense in which both the feminist and anti-racist critiques revealed the critical concept of culture to be in its own way thoroughly ideological, and thus not critical enough of the dominant conception with which it was now seen to be complicit, in so far as it reified historically constituted power relations – the white, male and English paradigm – as natural. [22] Thus whilst critical of Western Marxismʼs own ideological blindness, they nevertheless shared its critical concern for the distortions produced by ideology – now a marker of gendered and ethnic, as well as class, rule. Similarly, whilst critical of the implied monolithic identity of the culture – for example, ʻthe peopleʼ, ʻthe nationʼ, ʻthe communityʼ – evoked by British culturalism, they shared its democratizing concern for recovering experiences that had been erased from the historical record. In this sense, having had the ideology of its concept of culture revealed, Cultural Studies was potentially radicalized within a transformed paradigm (which would include the anti-racist critique of feminism and the feminist critique of anti-racism). But both forms of critique clearly, and understandably, also unravelled the critical concept of culture, providing the ground for an academic identity politics centred on ethnic and gender claims. This is still the dominant paradigm within the field today, especially in the USA. [23] Interestingly, however, it too is resisted in this series, partly because of the invocation, via the circuit of culture, of complex multi-determination and contingency, and partly because of the perceived transformations in the identity paradigm itself associated with the idea of globalization, including its own, in the guise of ʻhybridityʼ.

The ‘cultural turn‘

The concept of culture available to Cultural Studies has become potentially both more self-reflexive and historically self-conscious: from simply naming an object of knowledge available for empirical description and/or populist recuperation, it is perceived now as an active and regulative signifying practice, in which naming itself – ʻthat culture!ʼ – may be revealed, for example, as a racialized marker of difference and stereotypification (see Hall, ʻThe Spectacle of the “Other”ʼ, RCRSP, pp. 223–79). The history of its emergence needed to be rewritten too, emphasizing not only the contradictory responses to the democratizing of the institutions of higher education in postwar Britain, on the one hand, and the effects of the Hollywoodization of cultural practices, on the other, but also a perceived crisis in post-imperial hegemonic culture. In this regard, the observations made by Homi Bhabha on culture as an enunciative practice are crucial:

Culture only emerges as a problem, or a problemmatic, at the point at which there is a loss of meaning in the contestation and articulation of everyday life, between classes, genders, races, nations. [24]

With the post-colonial critiques of the national framing of Cultural Studies, its critical concept of ʻcultureʼ takes on the scars of its own historical formation and use. [25]

In sum, Cultural Studies has become radically decentred. This is not only a matter of the breaking up of the national frame of its critical paradigm through critique, but also a question of the poly-centred character of the institutionalized practice of Cultural Studies itself: its dissemination from UK institutions to the USA, Australia, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and beyond, all of which have transformed it according to local traditions of radical thought – the ʻcultural frontsʼ whose history in the USA has been written recently by Michael Denning, for example – and the specific political agendas produced by local state and capital forms. 26 Such intellectual production circulates unevenly, producing critical reflections that potentially further transform operative concepts of culture. The post-colonial meets the transnational, and Cultural Studies becomes as ʻhybridʼ as the cultural practices it increasingly purports to take as its object of study. [27]

In the concluding chapter of the series, ʻThe Centrality of Culture: Notes on the Cultural Revolutions of Our Timeʼ, Stuart Hall, chair of the course for which the six volumes were devised, provides both the series and the field of Cultural Studies itself with a context and rationale: ʻIn the twentieth century there has been a “cultural revolution” in the substantive, empirical and material senses of the wordʼ (MCR, p. 209). Two keywords stand out in his account of this historical transformation: ʻexpansionʼ and ʻglobalizationʼ.

In Hallʼs account, culture has left its previous elitist – and even populist – symbolic domain and entered the social, political and economic arenas, practically reconstituting them according to the rules of new cultural formats, to be used by them in turn as a resource (e.g. in the form of ʻcorporate cultureʼ – see du Gay, ʻOrganizing Identity: Making Up People at Workʼ, PC/CP, pp. 285–322):the cultural industries have become the mediating element in every other process … [T]he media both form a critical part of the material infrastructure of modern societies and are the principal means by which ideas and images are circulated. (Hall, MCR, p. 209)In such an expansion, contemporary technologies of communication and representation have both realized and transformed the anthropological theoretical postulate: culture is not just a ʻwhole way of lifeʼ whose rituals are to be described, but is constitutive of the very social relations, institutions and knowledges that make up everyday life. As is well known, todayʼs cultural technologies display very real continuities between modes of entertainment, financial transactions and smart weaponry; it is this continuity that has made Florida one of the most dynamic economies of recent years, and the pleasures of the Sony Walkman available to all. The real expansion of culture thus has epistemological significance: its experience demands that it become an object of knowledge and recognition. From this point of view, the emergence and complex history of the Cultural Studies concept of culture is no longer merely the sign of a populist democratization of existing cultural apparatuses (as in the recuperative dimension of the anthropological conception), nor just a way of reconstituting identities that have been historically disavowed, but is also an effect of the cultural revolution that has created a new ground for thinking the social, political and economic. Hall calls this change in knowledge the ʻcultural turnʼ, for in it social totality becomes cultural totality and, symptomatically, in the volume Production of Culture/ Cultures of Production edited by Paul du Gay, political economy becomes cultural economy.

That cultural technologies are simultaneously forces of production is nothing new. It is their social form that is crucial. This is the point where Hall et al. enter into the cultural terrain of critical postmodernists such as Fredric Jameson and David Harvey, who have underlined the particular visual and spatio-temporal dimensions of contemporary global capitalism. ʻTodayʼ, says Hall, cultural industries … sustain the global circuits of economic exchange on which the worldwide movement of information, knowledge, capital, investment, the production of commodities, the trade in raw materials and the marketing of goods and ideas depend. … They have made a reality of what Marx only dimly foresaw – the emergence of a truly ʻglobalʼ market. (Hall, MCR, p. 209)There is good reason for the inverted commas around the word ʻglobalʼ, because the cultural experience of globalization is always in fact ʻlocalʼ – although ʻthe localʼ is always in its turn constituted by ʻthe globalʼ. This particular configuration is referred to as the ʻglobal–local nexusʼ, and as an idea it arguably provides the dominant tone for the series as a whole, explaining to its student-readers that they too, in their own homes and localities, belong to such a nexus. Indeed, this is an important part of its pedagogy. What was once an experience of colonized and economically dependent nations and peoples within a ʻcentre–peripheryʼ politico-economic configuration is now still uneven, but general – that is, it happens in different measure to rich and poor alike, everywhere.In ʻWhat in the World is Going On?ʼ, one of the best chapters in the collection, Kevin Robbins sets out the difficult issues, addressing his student-reader as follows:

I want you to think about globalization … in terms of your own experiences and encounters, and in terms of what you may see on television or read about in newspapers and magazines. Globalization is ordinary: we are all now exposed to, and increasingly aware of, its consequences. We are all immersed in the globalization process. (PC/CP, p. 12)In other words, the text asks the reader to narrate himor herself into the circuits of global cultural processes, and by implication into the circuits of capital too – that is, its ʻcultural economyʼ, to make ʻglobalization ordinaryʼ. Now, this may seem a thoroughly ideological demand, projecting readers into new hegemonic formations. But it is also part of a critical pedagogy, a kind of ʻcognitive mappingʼ that asks student-readers to become critically aware and reflect upon the spatial complexity of their locations. Furthermore, within the global–local nexus, the ʻlocalʼ is a privileged site of cultural hybridizations which, whilst in some circumstances the sign of cultural loss and tendential homogenization, may also become the sign of creative resistance. On the other hand, Robbins refuses to forget the incorporating power of capital, quoting an excellent article by Richard Wilk – ʻThe Local and the Global in the Political Economy of Beauty: From Miss Belize to Miss Worldʼ – included as one of the chapterʼs readings:

The new global system promotes difference instead of suppressing it, but selects the dimensions of difference. The local systems of difference that developed in dialogue with western modernism are becoming globalized and systematized into structural equivalents of each other. This globalized system exercises hegemony not through content but through form. In other words, we are not all becoming the same, but we are portraying, dramatizing and communicating our differences to each other in ways that are more widely intelligible. The globalizing hegemony is to be found in what I call structures of common difference, which celebrate particular kinds of diversity while submerging, deflating or supressing others. (PC/CP, p. 43)What this means is that the ʻlocalʼ is a prime site for transnational capital and fundamental – from the labour power it offers to the advertising it may demand – for the configuration of particular global–local capitaland-cultural formations. Coca-Cola Incorporated recently claimed ʻwe are not a multinational, we are a multilocalʼ. Sony might have added: ʻand personalʼ.

In the words of Nederveen Pieterse, also quoted by Robbins, ʻthe other side of hybridity is transcultural convergenceʼ (PC/CP, p. 43). From this point of view, the chapters on the cultural economy of globalization, and the tendential merger of capital and culture, are a pedagogy into ideology; but, of course, the heart of ideology has always been the prime site – the locale – for cultural study at its most radical. [28]

The problem with the series, however, is that it functions without a concept of ideology. Preferring contingent analyses, it resists critique of the contemporary transnational culture–capital formations into which the hybrid cultural practices it recovers are nevertheless inscribed. With the apparent ʻreturnʼ of the economic instance in Cultural Studies, the series explicitly refuses to think it politically. The shedding of the ʻpoliticalʼ for the ʻculturalʼ – in political economy – also means that there is no sign of political negativity either, only ʻlocalʼ forms of managed resistance within global–local configurations of capital. This may be because the idea of ʻproductionʼ that forms part of the circuit of culture is more like ʻworkʼ and, moreover, explicitly anti-Marxist – indeed, one of the key rhetorical strategies of many of the texts in the series is to create their own intellectual space by locating themselves between neoliberal and Marxist versions. It is, in other words, a production without relations of production; or, drawing again on Morrisʼs critique of populism, a production without production. Of course, just as it has become difficult to draw the outline of a shifting and phantasmagoric ruling transnational bourgeoisie, it has also become increasingly difficult to recognize its modes of negation. But perhaps the post-Gramscian concept of subalternity, created by critical Indian historians during the 1980s, might provide for such a negativity, socializing and politicizing – by splitting – ʻhybridityʼ and ʻthe localʼ within the global, which, without such theorization, themselves become fetishistic replicas of what capital desires. [29] In other words, ideological. A Cultural Studies without ideology-critique threatens to become again the anthropology it had left behind. Perhaps not a populist anthropology, because of the contingent geometries of power it evokes, and even historically full; but also potentially blind.


1. ^ See the complaints of Bill Schwarz against this type of biography-based history in his aptly-titled ʻWhere is Cultural Studies?ʼ, Cultural Studies, vol. 8, no. 3, 1994, pp. 377–93.

2. ^ Francis Mulhern, ʻA Welfare Culture? Hoggart and Wil-liams in the Fiftiesʼ, Radical Philosophy 77, May–June 1996, pp. 26–37.

3. ^ See Richard Johnson, ʻReinventing Cultural Studies: Remembering for the Best Versionʼ, in Elizabeth Long, ed., From Sociology to Cultural Studies: New Perspectives, Blackwell, Oxford, 1997, p. 462.

4. ^ Meaghan Morris, ʻBanality in Cultural Studiesʼ, Discourse, vol. X, no. 2, Spring–Summer 1988, pp. 3–29.

5. ^ Ibid., p. 17.

6. ^ For reflections on the ʻpopulistʼ dimension of Bakhtinʼs representation of carnival, see Peter Stallybrass and Allon White, The Politics and Poetics of Transgression, Methuen, London, 1986, pp. 1–26.

7. ^ The specific works to which Morris is referring are John Fiske, ʻBritish Cultural Studies and Televisionʼ, in Robert C. Allen, ed., Channels of Discourse: Television and Contemporary Criticism, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1987; and Iain Chambers, Popular Culture: The Metropolitan Experience, Methuen,

New York, 1986. The term ʻBritish Cultural Studiesʼ is Fiskeʼs.

8. ^ For a similar outcome, although from a different point of view, see Jon Beasley-Murrayʼs important article ʻPeronism and the Secret History of Cultural Studies:

Populism and the Substitution of Culture for the Stateʼ, Cultural Critique (forthcoming). See also Jim McGuiganʼs Cultural Populism, Routledge, London and New York, 1992, p. 13 (quoted in Beasley-Murray): ʻa nonpopulist cultural studies is very nearly a contradiction in termsʼ.

9. ^ The most important work to establish this principle in Cultural Studies was Michel de Certeauʼs The Practice of Everday Life, trans. Steven F. Rendall, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1984. See Morris, ʻBanality in Cultural Studiesʼ, pp. 23–8, who makes clear that his work is not reducible to the ʻrecuperationʼ she is criticizing; and Angela McRobbie, ʻLooking Back at New Times and its Criticsʼ, in David Morley and Kuan-Hsing Chen, eds, Stuart Hall: Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies, Routledge, London and New York, 1996.

10. ^ See E.P. Thompsonʼs classic critique of the early Williams, ʻThe Long Revolutionʼ, New Left Review 9, May–June 1961, pp. 24–33; also the famous ʻPrefaceʼ to his The Making of the English Working Class (1963), Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1979, pp. 9–15.

11. ^ ʻI came into marxism backwardsʼ, writes Stuart Hall.

See ʻCultural Studies and its Theoretical Legaciesʼ, in David Morley and Kuan-Hsing Chen, eds, Stuart Hall, p. 264. For the transformation of the anthropological concept of culture and the enlightenment concept of ideology by the concept of hegemony, see Raymond Williams, Marxism and Literature, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1977.

12. ^ In ʻThe Antinomies of Antonio Gramsciʼ, New Left Review 100, November 1976–January 1977, pp. 5–78, Perry Anderson concludes that it is formal democracy itself that provides the best articulation of ideological incorporation into bourgeois society.

13. ^ See the discussion of ʻthe popularʼ in Stuart Hall, ʻNotes on Deconstructing “the Popular”ʼ, in Raphael Samuel, ed., Peopleʼs History and Socialist Theory, Routledge,

London, 1981, pp. 227–40.

14. ^ Dennis Dworkin, Cultural Marxism in Postwar Britain: History, the New Left and the Origins of Cultural Studies, Duke University Press, Durham NC, 1997.

15. ^ In this sense, the critical concept of ʻcultureʼ associated with Cultural Studies at this time might be seen as a kind of ironic response to Perry Andersonʼs complaint that reflection on ʻcultureʼ, especially literary culture, stood in for the emergence of a national sociology or a strong local (Western) Marxist tradition. See his essay ʻComponents of the National Cultureʼ, in Alexander Cockburn and Robin Blackburn, eds, Student Power, Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1969, pp. 214–84; and Considerations on Western Marxism, New Left Books, London, 1976.

16. ^ For the tendency whereby the idea of ʻcultureʼ tends to replace ʻideologyʼ, see the interview with Stuart Hall, ʻCulture and Powerʼ, Radical Philosophy 86, November/December 1997, pp. 24–41.

17. ^ A section from Chambersʼ ʻA Miniature History of the Walkmanʼ is included as one of the volumeʼs ʻreadingsʼ (DCS, pp. 141–3). Rey Chowʼs ʻListening Otherwise, Music Miniaturized: A Different Type of Question about Revolutionʼ may be read as a more contextualized counterpoint (DCS, pp. 135–40).

18. ^ Such a historicism is even more radical than Gramsciʼs historical materialist version: ʻThe philosophy of praxis is absolute “historicism”, the absolute secularization and earthliness of thought, an absolute humanism of historyʼ, Selections from the Prison Notebooks, edited and translated by Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith,

Lawrence & Wishart, London, 1978, p. 465.

19. ^ See David Lloyd and Paul Thomas, Culture and the State, Routledge, New York and London, 1998.

20. ^ The key figure for the 1990s may be Gilles Deleuze.

See Hall in ʻCulture and Powerʼ, p. 25; and, in particular, Lawrence Grossberg, ʻHistory, Politics and Postmodernism: Stuart Hall and Cultural Studiesʼ, in Morley and Kuan-Hsing Chen, eds, Stuart Hall, pp. 151–73, and Dancing in Spite of Myself: Essays on Popular Culture, Duke University Press, Durham NC, 1997.

21. ^ For Hallʼs negotiation of the impact of feminism on the Birmingham Centre, see the interview with Stuart Hall by Kuan-Hsing Chen, ʻThe Formation of a Diasporic Intellectualʼ, in Morley and Kuan-Hsing Chen, eds, Stuart Hall, pp. 484–503.

22. ^ See Paul Gilroy, ʻThere Ainʼt No Black in the Union Jackʼ: The Cultural Politics of Race and Nation, Hutchinson, London, 1987; and Angela McRobbie, ʻSettling Accounts with Subcultures: A Feminist Critiqueʼ, Screen Education 34, Spring 1980, pp. 37–49.

23. ^ This is the institutional form taken by what Fredric Jameson calls the ʻdesire called Cultural Studiesʼ. See his ʻOn “Cultural Studies”ʼ, Social Text 34, 1993, pp. 17–52.

24. ^ Homi K. Bhabha, The Location of Culture, Routledge,

London, 1994, p. 34. From this point of view Dworkinʼs history is too national.

25. ^ A key moment of this process was Stuart Hallʼs recent critique of Raymond Williams in ʻCulture, Community,

Nationʼ, Cultural Studies, vol. 7, no. 3, 1994. See also Gilroy, ʻThere Ainʼt No Black in the Union Jackʼ.

26. ^ Michael Denning, ʻCulture and the Crisis: the Political and Intellectual Origins of Cultural Studies in the United Statesʼ, in Cary Nelson and Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar, eds, Disciplinarity and Dissent in Cultural Studies, Routledge, New York and London, 1996, pp. 265–86.

27. ^ Local ʻorders of readingʼ are also important. In Argentina, cultural critics like Beatriz Sarlo turned to Raymond Williams, escaping Althusser in a context of military dictatorship, enforced ʻflexibleʼ modernization, and radi-cal rethinking of revolutionary and socialist projects.

In Australia, according to Meaghan Morris, Cultural Studies was rearticulated through the importance there of ʻhistoryʼ rather than ʻEnglishʼ as state-craft as in the UK. See Meaghan Morris, ʻA Question of Cultural Studiesʼ, in Angela McRobbie, ed., Back to Reality? Social Experience and Cultural Studies, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1997, p. 52. For developments in Southeast Asia, see Kuan-Hsing Chen, ʻNot Yet the Postcolonial Era: The (Super) Nation-State and Transnationalism of Cultural Studies: Response to Ang and Strattonʼ, Cultural Studies, vol. 10, no. 1, 1996, pp. 37–70. On ʻhybridityʼ and Cultural Studies, see my ʻHybridity in a Transnational Frame: Latinamericanist and Postcolonial Perspectives on Cultural Studiesʼ, in Avtar Brah and Annie E. Coombes, eds, From Miscegenation to Hybridity? Re-thinking the Syncretic, the CrossCultural and the Cosmopolitan in Culture, Science and Politics (forthcoming).

28. ^ In the work of Fredric Jameson on postmodernism there is a tendency also to think of all cultural production as simultaneously ideological. It is his refusal to risk the recuperative populist gesture of critical Cultural Studies, however, that makes his critique both so abstract and so productive. In his view, of course, one of the defining charcteristics of postmodernism is precisely its cultural populism. See Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, Verso, London, 1991.

29. ^ That is, a form of ʻneo-orientalismʼ. See Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Outside in the Teaching Machine, Routledge, London, 1993; Dipesh Chakrabarty, ʻMarxism after Marx: History, Subalternity, and Differenceʼ, in Saree Makdisi, Cesare Casarino and Rebecca E. Karl, eds, Marxism Beyond Marxism, Routledge, New York, 1996, pp. 55–70; and Alberto Moreiras, ʻHybridity and Double Consciousness: A Subalternist Perspectiveʼ (unpublished manuscript).

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