Communications vs. Cultural Studies: Overcoming the Divide
Kellner, Douglas. (19??) Communications vs. Cultural Studies: Overcoming the Divide. ??
Divisions within Communications
Field is unclear from the start
- Liberal arts, humanities
- Social sciences
- Depts get all kinds of different names
- ICA has many divisions
Disciplinary "crisis" is divide between:
- Cultural studies
- More humanities
- Mass-mediated communication
- More empirical
Frankfurt School, 1930s
- Combined "political economy"
- Audience reception, ideological effects
- Analysis of "mass production: commodification, standardization, massification"
- First systematic analysis, critique of mass-mediated culture
- Adorno, Lowenthal, Herzog, Horkheimer
- Pop music, soaps, radio drama, etc.
- Oppressive agents of socialization
- High/low cultural distinction
- Low culture is always spectacular
- Spectrum of culture rather than high/low
- Agencial, active audience/reader
- Reconstruction of culture industries argument (distraction)
Birmingham, British Cultural Studies, 1980s
Stuart Hall, Raymond Williams, John Fiske
Attempts to bridge gaps that open in media/communication studies
- Artifacts of the culture industries can be resources for resistance, change
- Theory of social production and reproduction
- Uses Gramsci's model of hegemony/counterhegemony
- Materialist, concerned with socio-historical conditions
- Rather than idealist, textualist
- Revising the Frankfurt "mass cult" critique
- that which audiences make of and do with the commodities of culture industries
- "risks blunting the critical edge of cultural studies"
- Seeking "new agents of change" in post-1960s subcultures
- Race, ethnic studies
United States manifestation
- "Too one-sided"
- "Focusing too intently on cultural texts and audience reception"
Kellner's festish complaints:
- Fetishism of the audiences
- Fetishism of resistance
- Fetishism of audience pleasure
Kellner goes deeper into a critique based on a simplistic version of Birmingham/Fiske
Kellner argues that political comments are essential and must be "progressive"