I have just finished reading John Hartley’s hugely entertaining and provocative book on cultural studies past, present and future. Called Digital Futures for Cultural and Media Studies, it argues that cultural studies as a discipline has ossified into a field where ‘reading’ after ‘reading’ of cultural texts accumulates to no particular end, and where those readings are based on assessments of value (some form of the ‘how critical is this?’ question) rather than any other methodology.
I’m pretty sure if I was a fully paid-up member of the cultural studies club I would be pretty aghast at the very generalised level of his account… nonetheless, a lot of his argument really got me thinking. Not least because I am trying to figure out a way to plan the ending of a paper I am writing without assessing the value (ie how critical of capitalism/neoliberalism/national identity/) of the images…
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