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What is Cultural Studies?
Cultural Studies is an academic field that examines the numerous ways that culture has shaped societies and vice versa. The discipline develops analytical methods for understanding the local, regional, national, and global cultures of all societies. Cultural Studies also draws on disciplines such as sociology, history, comparative literature, philosophy, and anthropology to understand cultures in different times or places.
The “cultural turn” in contemporary theory began in the 1960s as part of a widespread questioning (of modernity) that remains a central feature of current-day literary theory.
Cultural Studies is an umbrella field, incorporating diverse subfields such as Gender Studies, Urban Studies, and New Media Studies. The goal of cultural studies is to understand all aspects of culture (i.e. art, society, politics). Cultural studies investigate the totality of social practices—all forms of cultural representation and social institutions—in a given society.
Types Of Cultural Studies
Cultural studies theory– Cultural studies is an interdisciplinary academic area that explores the relationship between cultural values, practices, beliefs, and symbols.
Markets of taste– A market is a market because of its sellers and buyers. People with similar values seek products from similar lifestyles. These markets are associated with different cultures in terms of locality, ethnicity, or social status. Markets develop as individuals identify with particular ideologies or cultural groups and serve to communicate their ideas about what should be produced for consumption during a specific time period within a given culture at any given location.
Intersectionality– Intersectionality is a theory of power differentials and how people are impacted differently by various social identities. Intersectionality can be used to explain how individual experiences shape an individual’s lived experiences.
Institutional Oppression– The idea that institutions, such as the government, church, or corporations, are oppressive because of the perpetuation of stereotypes or discrimination against certain groups of people. This is done by those in power to maintain their socioeconomic status and overall power within society.
Race/Gender/Sexualities– These three concepts are inherently different from each other, but in a cultural studies approach, they can be related because of their social constructions of them. The institutions in society that create these identities are also responsible for the ways that power is distributed among them. The intersection of these three social constructs and the institutions creates a space for one part to take advantage of another. This can be seen through colonialism and slavery.
Precarity– This idea is a postmodern critique of power in society. Many early feminist theorists used the idea of patriarchy to describe modern society based on a core group of white male leaders that were in charge of society making decisions for everyone else. This was not just true for women but also for other races such as blacks and Native Americans. The precarity approach developed from this theory and has many similarities, but there are also differences that can be seen in this approach.
Cultural Studies as a field of study has been criticized on a number of fronts. Social science fields have criticized the lack of a core curriculum in Cultural Studies as opposed to other disciplines such as sociology. Many researchers argue that this notion leads to “analysis” over “research” and creates too broad a span for the field, making it impossible for it to graduate students specifically in the areas of their interest.
Importance Of Cultural Studies
Being able to understand other cultures and people is extremely important for everyone. Whether you’re thinking about traveling abroad or just want to be better-rounded, cultural studies can help you take your first steps in becoming a better human being. It exposes you to new ideas and findings that might seem foreign at first but eventually grow on you. Even if your interests lie outside the world of academia, having an understanding of different cultures will ultimately make life richer in countless ways.
Cultural studies have a lot to offer because it gives you a space to explore the multiple facets of the world. Most people don’t have the opportunity to learn about other cultures through their own experiences. They are only exposed to these things on television and in movies but having an understanding of them can change your views and make you more aware of the world around you.
Many people tend to turn their heads away from other cultures and their day-to-day lives. Part of the reason for that is because they only speak the language of their own culture and are therefore limited in terms of trying to understand others. But when you approach cultural studies as a way to learn more about the world, you’re going to be surprised at how much it expands your knowledge and understanding. All it takes is a little effort on your part to help make that happen.
Topics Studied Under Cultural Studies
- Gender and Sexuality
- Music and Arts
- Media and technology
- Postcolonial studies/Indigenous studies
- Media and Communication
- Popular Culture
- Language, Literature, and Literary Theory
- Visual culture, Art, Design, and Architecture
- Social Institutions
- Sport and Games
- Society, Power, Place, and Space
- Social Research
- Society and Culture
- History of Ethnology
- Immigration and immigration studies
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