An Introduction to Cultural Studies
Diambil dari Chris Barker, Cultural Studies: Theory and Practice (New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2000), hal. 3-34.
The kind of cultural studies influenced by poststructuralists theories of language, representation and subjectivity is given greater attention than a cultural studies more concerned with the ethnography of lived experience or with cultural policy Cultural studies does not speak with one voice, it cannot be spoken with one voice
The language-game of cultural studies
Cultural studies is constituted by the language-game of cultural studies Language-game: by which the meaning of words are located in their usage in a complex network of relationships between words and not from some essential characteristic or referent Meaning is contextual and relational It depends on the relationships between words which have family resemblances and on specific utterances in the context of pragmatic narratives In Lyotard's works, the term 'language games', sometimes also called 'phrase regimens', denotes the multiplicity of communities of meaning, the innumerable and incommensurable separate systems in which meanings are produced and rules for their circulation are created 3
Cultural Studies as Politics
For Hall, what is at stake is cultural studies’ connections to matters of power and politics, to the need for change and to representations of and ‘for’ marginalized social groups, particularly those of class, gender and race Knowledge is never a neutral of objective phenomenon but a matter of positionality, of the place from which one speaks, to whom, and for what purposes
ideas. images and practices. social activity or institutional site in society’ Cultural studies is constituted by a regulated way of speaking about objects (which it brings into view) and coheres around key concepts.The Parameters of Cultural Studies
There is a difference between the study of culture and institutionally located cultural studies Cultural studies is a discursive formation: ‘a cluster (or formation) of ideas. forms of knowledge and conduct associated with. and concerns
. a particular topic. which provide ways of talking about.
the formation of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at Birmingham University (UK) in the 1960s was a decisive organizational instance Since that time. Asia. cultural studies has extended its intellectual base and geographic scope There are self-defined cultural studies practitioners in the USA. Latin America and Europe.The Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies
Though cultural studies has been reluctant to accept institutional legitimation. Africa. with each ‘formation’ of cultural studies working in different ways
routines of life and habitual forms of conduct The forms of power that cultural studies explores are diverse and include gender. competencies. etc. beliefs. colonialism. The prime institutional sites for cultural studies are those higher education. and as such cultural studies is like other academic discplines
.Disclipining Cultural Studies
Cultural studies is an interdisciplinary field in which perspectives from different discplines can be selectively drawn on to examine the relations of culture and power Cultural studies is concerned with all those practices. institutions and systems of classification through which there are incalculated in a population particular values. race. class.
and to understand culture is to explore how meaning is produced symbolically in language as a ‘signifying system’
. but is constitutive of those very meanings and that very knowledge These processes of meaning production are signifying practices.Key Concepts in Cultural Studies: Culturethe actual grounded terrain of practices. Culture: and Signifying Practices
representations. languages and customs of any specific society Culture: the contradictory forms of common sense which have taken root in and helped to shape popular life Language is not a neutral medium for the formation of meanings and knowledge about an independent object world ‘existing’ outside of language.
Representation: how the world is socially constructed and represented to and by us The study of culture as the signifying practices of representation This requires us to explore the textual generation of meaning It also demands investigation of the modes by which meaning is produced in a variety of contexts
another category or level of a social formation
.Materialism and NonReductionism
Cultural studies has developed a form of cultural materialism which is concerned to explore how and why meanings are inscribed at the moment of production Cultural studies tries to connect them with political economy. a discipline concerned with power and the distribution of economic and social resources One of the central tenets of cultural studies is its non-reductionism Culture is seen as having its own specific meanings. rules and practices which are not reducible to. or explainable solely in terms of.
Articulation: the formation of a temporary unity between elements that do not have to go together Articulation suggests both expressing/representing and a ‘puttingtogether’ Representations of gender may be ‘puttogether’ with representations of race. as in the case of gendered nationality above. in context-specific and contingent ways which cannot be predicted before the fact
but the processes that generate and enable any form of social action. though it certainly is this. is also enabling
Power is not simply the glue that holds the social together. or the coercive force which subordinates one set of people to another. relartionship or order Power. while certainly constraining.
while they purport to be universal truth. are historically specific understandings which obscure and maintain power Hegemony: the process of making. maintaining and reproducing ascendant meanings and practices Hegemony implies a situation where a ‘historical bloc’ of powerful groups exercises social authority and leadership over subordinate groups through the winning of consent 13
. with which cultural studies has been especially concerned.Popular Culture
Subordination is a matter not just of coercion but also of consent Popular culture. is said to be the ground on which consent is won or lost Ideology: maps of meaning which.
readers will not necessarily share all the same meanings with each other Further. as forms of representation. are polysemic
. but all practices which signify This includes the generation of meaning through images.sounds. though this is one of its senses.Texts and Readers
The concept of text suggest not simply the written word. texts. objects (such as clothes) and activities (like dance and sport) The meanings that critics read into cultural texts are not necessarily the same as those produced by active audiences or readers Indeed.
the product of discourses or regulated ways of speaking about the world
. is that identities are not things which exist They have no essential or universal qualities Rather. known as anti-essentialism. subjectivity.Subjectivity and Identity
The moment of consumption marks one of the processes by which we are formed as persons What it is to be a person. identity. became central areas of concern in cultural studies during the 1990s The argument. and how we describe ourselves to each other. they are discursive constructions.
a form of historical materialism It stresses the hisrtorical specifity of human affairs and the changeable character of social formations whose core features are located in the material conditions of existence Thus labour. it is inherently tied up with relations between people which. that is. above all. and the forms of social organization that material production takes. a mode of production.The Intellectual Strands of Cultural Studies: Marxism and the Centrality of Class
Marxism is. are central categories of Marxism The organization of a mode of production is not simply a matter of co-ordinating objects Rather. cooperative an co-ordinated. are also matters of power and conflict
. while social.
qualities and signs are turned into commodities
The centrepiece of Marx’s work was an analysis of the dynamics of capitalism. a mode of production premised on the private ownership of the means of production The fundamental class division of capitalism is between those who own the means of production. must sell their labour to survive A commodity is something available to be sold in the marketplace and commodification the process associated with capitalism by which objects. the bourgeoisie. being a propertyless proletariat. and those who.
Marxism suggests that there are regularities or structures to human existence which lie outside of any given individual Cultural studies. Marxism and cultural studies have a commitment to change through human agency achieved by a combination of theory and action (praxis)
. along with other disclipines like sociology. has sought to explore the characteristics of those structures On the other hand.Marxism and Cultural Studies
On the one hand.
creative. capacity of people to construct shared meaningful practices There is an explicit partisanship in exploring the class basis of culture which aims to give ‘voice’ to the subordinated and to examine the place of culture in class power ‘left culturalism’
.Culturalism and Structuralism: Culture is Ordinary
Culturalism >< structuralism Culturalism stresses the ‘ordinariness’ of culture and the active.
If culturalism takes meaning to be its central category and casts it as the product of active human agents. structuralism speaks instead of signifying practices which generate meaning as an outcome of structures or predictable regularities which lie outside of any given person A structuralist understanding of culture is concerned with the ‘systems of relations’ of an underlying structure (usually language) and the grammar which makes meaning possible
understanding culture to be analogous to (or structured like) a language Saussure: meaning is generated through a system of structured differences in language Significance is the outcome of the rules and conventions which organize language (langue) rather than the specific uses and utterances which individuals deploy in everyday life (parole)
.Deep Structures of Languages
Structuralism in this sense takes signification or meaning production to be the effect of deep structures of language which are manifested in specific cultural phenomena or human speakers but which are not the outcome of the intentions of actors per se Structuralism is concerned with how cultural meaning is generated.
Culture As Like A Language
We find structuralist principles at work when LeviStrauss describes kinship systems as ‘like a language’ Barthes→ myths Culturalism→ focused on meaning production by human actors in an historical context Structuralism→ culture as an expression of deep structures of language which lie outside of the intentions of actors and constrain them Culturalism → stresses history Structuralism→ synchronic in approach. analysing the structures of relations in a snapshot of particular moment Culturalism→ interpretation as a way of understanding meaning Structuralism → the possibility of a science of signs. of objective knowledge
surpasses structuralism Poststructuralism rejects the idea of an underlying stable structure which founds meaning through fixed binary pairs (black-white. it is claimed.Poststructuralism (and Postmodernism)
Poststructuralism → after structuralism Poststructuralism absorbs aspects of structural lingustics while subjecting it to a critique which. meaning is unstable. coherent human subject as the origin of stable meanings
. good-bad) Rather. being always deferred and in process Intertexuality→meaning is the outcome of relationships between texts Poststructuralism is anti-humanist in its decentring of the unified.
Derrida: The Instability of Language
Derrida accepts Saussure’s argument that meaning is generated by relations of difference between signifiers rather than by reference to an independent object world Derrida introduces the notion of differance. ‘difference and deferral’→the production of meaning in the process of signification is continually deferred and supplemented in the play of more-than-one For Derrida. ‘we think only in signs’ There is no original meaning circulating outside of ‘representation’ so that writing is crucial to the generation of meaning
Foucault and Discursive Practices
Foucault is concerned with the description and analysis of the surfaces of discourse and their effects under determinate material and historical conditions Discourse constructs. defines and produces the objects of knowledge in an intelligible way while at the same time excluding other ways of reasoning as unintelligible Discursive practices and discursive formation → the historical conditions and determining rules of formation of regulated ways of speaking about objects ‘Regime of truth’ Genealogy
it points to them as being not universals of nature but productions of culture in specific times and places Poststructuralism offers us irony → an awareness of the contingent.Anti-Essentialism
Essentialism → words have stable referents and social categories reflect an essential underlying identity The speaking subject is dependent on the prior existence of discursive subject positions. constructed character of our beliefs and understandings which lack firm universal foundations
. empty spaces or functions in discourse from which to comprehend the world Anti-essentialism does not mean that we cannot speak of truth or identity Rather.
plural and diverse knowledges
. meaning and moral path of human ‘development’ Postmodernism in its understanding that knowledge is specific to languagegames.Postmodernism
Postmodernism → the rejection of truth as a fixed eternal object Lyotard → postmodern: ‘incredulity towards metanarratives’ Lyotard rejects the idea of grand narratives or stories that can give us certain knowledge of the direction. embraces local.
Psychoanalysis and Subjectivity
Psychoanalysis’ its great strength lies in its rejection of the fixed nature of subjects and sexuality Psychoanalysis concentrates on the construction and formation of subjectivity Not what a subject is but on how s/he comes into being
can be the target of desire
. a superego (social conscience) and the unconscious (the source and repository of the symbolic workings of the mind which functions with a different logic from reason) Through processes of identification with others and with social discourses we create an identity which embodies an illusion of wholeness The libido or sexual drive does not have any pre-given fixed aim or object Rather. which includes persons or parts of bodies.The Freudian Self
Freud → the self is constituted in terms of an ego (or conscious rational mind). through fantasy. any object.
nor do we have a sense of ourselves as male or female The resolution of the Oedipus complex involves the repudiation of the mother as a love-subject and the separation of the subject from the mother Psychoanalysis → phallocentrism → be made appropriate to the political project of feminism
.The Oedipus Complex
The Oedipus complex marks the formation of the ego and of gendered subjectivity Prior to the Oedipal moment we are unable to distinguish clearly between ourselves and other objects.
and in particular on questions of gender. Race and Postcolonial Theory In this context. race and ethnicity
. there has been a growing emphasis on difference in the social field.The Politics of Difference: Feminism.
has subordinated women to men Feminism is centrally concerned with sex as an organizing principle of social life where gender relations are thoroughly saturated with power relations Patriarchy: male-headed family.Feminism
Feminism: a field of theory and politics which contains competing perspectives and prescriptions for action We may locate feminism as asserting that sex is a fundamental and irreducible axis of social organization which. radical feminism
. and superiority Liberal feminism. socialist feminism. to date. ‘mastery’.
who have argued that the movement has defined women as white and overlooked the differences between black and white women’s experiences
.Problems with Patriarchy
A criticism of the concept of patriarchy is its treatment of the category of woman as undifferentiated That is. all women are taken to share something fundamental in common in contrast to all men This is an assumption continually challenged by black feminists.
beliefs.Race. values. cultural symbols and practices which mark a process of cultural boundary formation The idea of ‘racialization’ has been deployed to illustrate the argument that race is a social construction and not a universal or essential category of either biology or culture Postcolonial theory → dominationsubordination and hybridity-creolization The denigration and subordination of ‘native’ culture by colonial and imperial powers and the relationship between place and diaspora identities
. Ethnicity and Hybridity
Ethnicity is a cultural concept centred on norms.
that is. methodology
.Questions of Methodology
Cultural studies has not devoted itself to questions of research methods and methodology It is not with the technicalities of method but with the philosophical approaches which underpin them.
of whose interpretations are to count as truth
. that is.Epistemology
Epistemology: questions about the status of knowledge and truth has been between representationalist (realist) and antirepresentationalist (poststructuralism. postmodernism and pragmatism) Nietzsche’s characterization of truth as a ‘mobile army of metaphors and metonyms’ Knowledge is a question not of true discovery but of the construction of interpretations about the world which are taken to be true In so far as the idea of truth has an historical purchase. it is the consequence of power.
which has often been linked with culturalist approaches and a stress on ‘live experience’ 2. A range of textual approaches. A series of reception studies. Ethnography. which are eclectic in their theoritical roots
. which have tended to draw from semiotics.Key Methodologies in Cultural Studies
Work in cultural studies has centred on three kinds of approach: 1. poststructuralism and Derridean deconstruction 3.
with questions of cultures. life-worlds and identities In the context of media-oriented cultural studies. that is. ethnography has become a code-word for a range of qualitative methods. in-depth interviews and focus groups
Ethnography: an empirical and theoritical approach inherited from anthropology which seeks detailed holistic description and analysis of cultures based on intensive fieldwork Ethnography concentrates on the details of local life while connecting them to wider social processes Ethnographic cultural studies has been centred on the qualitative exploration of values and meanings in the context of a ‘whole way of life’. including participant observation.
The Problem of Representation
Not withstanding qualifications about reflexivity. justifications Ethnography now becomes about dialogue and the attempt to reach pragmatic agreements about meaning between participants in a research methods
. feelings an cultures of others’ In this way. ethnography relied on an implicitly realist epistemology Ethnography has personal. ethnography has tried to ‘represent the subjective meanings. rather than epistemological. poetic and political.
Semiotics 2.Textual Approaches
The three outstanding modes of analysis in cultural studies draw from: 1. Narrative theory 3. deconstructionism
Texts as Signs
Semiotics explores how the meanings generated by texts have been achieved through a particular arrangement of signs and the deployment of cultural codes Such analysis draws attention to the ideological or myths of texts The media’s selective and value-laden representations are not ‘accurate’ pictures of the world but the site of struggles over what counts as meaning and truth
Texts as Narratives
Narrative theory plays a part in cultural studies A narrative is an ordered sequential account which makes claims to be a record of events Narratives are the structured form in which stories advance explanations for the ways of the world Narratives offer us frameworks of understanding and rules of reference about the way the social order is constructed and in doing so supply answers to the question: how shall we live? Soap opera is the name of a genre Genres structure the narrative process and contain it Genres regulate it in particular ways using specific elements and combinations of elements to produce coherence and credibility Genre thus represents systematizations and repetitions of problems and solutions in narratives
which serve to guarantee truth by excluding and devaluing the ‘inferior’ part of the binary The purpose of deconstruction is not simply to reverse the order of binaries but to show that they are implicated in each other Deconstruction seeks to expose the blind-spots of texts. black/white. the unacknowledged assumptions upon which they operate
. to undo. nature/culture. etc.. in order to seek out and display the assumptions of a text Deconstruction involves the dismantling of hierarchical conceptual oppositions such as man/women.Deconstruction
To deconstruct is to take apart. reality/appearance. reason/madness.
will be activated by actual readers/audiences/consumers Hall: the production of meaning does not ensure consumption of that meaning as the encoders might have intended because (television) messages. involving not merely reproduction of textual meaning but the production of meaning by the readers
. constructed as a sign system with multiaccentuated components.Reception Studies
Exponents of reception or consumption studies argue that whatever analysis of textual meanings a critic may undertake. are polysemic that is. they have more than one potential set of meanings Understanding is always from the position and point of view of the person who understands. if any. it is far from certain which of the identified meanings.
The Place of Theory
Theory can be understood as narratives which seek to distinguish and account for general features which describe. definition. prediction and control Theoritical work can be thought of as a crafting of the cultural signposts and maps by which we are guided As a political theory. instrument or logic for intervening in the world through the mechanisms of description. cultural studies has hoped to organize disparate opposition groups into an alliance of cultural politics
. it is a tool. define and explain persistently perceived occrurences Theory does not picture the world more or less accurately Rather.