ideology, exploitation and domination (re-post)

Thomas Schumacher tschumac at magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu
Sat Jan 7 22:18:30 MST 1995


Perhaps one reason why Cultural Studies chose the Gramscian route over the
autonomist one has to do with the very "historical specificity" which led the
autonomists to theirs.  That is, perhaps one needs to look at the particular
conjuncture around the formation of CCCS work to see why they turned from left-
Leavisism to Althusser to Gramsci, and later in the US to celebrations of
Madonna or tv wrestling.  It's also not clear to me that cultural studies'
adoption of hegemony necessarily lead them to abandon the economic.  It seems
to me that part of the reason that the Centre chose the theoretical baggage
that they did is because of their objectives (i.e., the "sociological" study of
popular culture, not a theory of capitalism).  The particular marxism that
Hall, et al., chose to work with was in many respects quite useful.  The kind
of cultural studies which has gone on to study "resistant readings" has less to
do with the marxist tool that they used as much as it has to do with the fact
that cultural studies has dropped a their marxist tools (in part, as Jon
pointed out, because they've found other things to study [counter-hegemonies]).
I'm still not sure if this can be wholly blamed on their early adoption of
Althusser/Gramsci, although one can see that particular avenues have been
opened and shut to them.

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