This book explores how issues of power, form and subjectivity feature at the core of all serious thinking about the media, including appreciations of their creativity as well as anxiety about the risks they pose. Drawing widely on an interdisciplinary literature, the author connects his exposition to examples from film, television, radio, photography, painting, web practice, music and writing in order to bring in topics as diverse as reporting the war in Afghanistan, the televising of football, documentary portrayals of 9/11, reality television, the diversity of taste in the arts and the construction of civic identity. The book is divided into two parts. In the first part, three big chapters on each of the key notions provide an interconnected discussion of the media activities opened up for exploration and the debates they have provoked. The second part presents examples, arguments and analysis drawing on the author's previous work around the core themes, with notes placing them in the context of the whole book. The book brings together concepts both from Social Studies and the Arts and Humanities, addressing a readership wider than the sub-specialisms of media research. It refreshes ideas about why the media matter, and how understanding them better remains a key aim of cultural inquiry and a continuing requirement for public policy.
The transgressive zine culture of industrial music in the 1970s and
(eds), RE/Search 4/5: William S. Burroughs, Throbbing Gristle, Brion Gysin (San
Francisco, CA: V/Search Productions, 1982), p. 87.
15 ‘Throbbing Gristle’, in RE/Search 6/7, p. 19.
16 David Welch, The Third Reich: Politics and Propaganda (Abingdon: Routledge, 2002),
17 Such an approach would inevitably necessitate a sustained engagement with Walter
Benjamin. For a brief Benjamin-ian perspective, see Erich Hertz, ‘Rethinking Aura
Through Temporality: Benjamin and “Industrial Otherness”’, in Institute of CulturalInquiry (ed.), Benjamin’s Blind Spot
separates its scope from those of other kinds of inquiry, including other types of culturalinquiry, we can be forgiven some scepticism as to whether we should ascribe the status of a ‘discipline’ to it or even whether it matters whether we do so or not. 5 Within the social sciences, economics could be described as a discipline, and so might psychology. Being disciplinary is not necessarily a good thing however. For example, it is highly questionable as to whether political science is a discipline, or whether it should be. The argument here, anyway, is not that modern
the field of culturalinquiry,
Greenblatt remarks that ‘the oscillation between totalisation
and difference, uniformity and … diversity … unitary
truth and a proliferation of distinct entities’ found in the
differing views of late capitalism held by Lyotard and Jameson
‘depends less upon poststructuralist theory’ than upon
the ‘poetics’ – the ‘everyday
The Australian Aborigines and the question of difference
, most of them
English, it is difficult to make a case for a perspective on the Aborigines that
was distinctly German and different. What links their texts is rather a tradition
of culturalinquiry that grew out of the interchange between travel literature and
anthropology and to which they contributed as Germans. It enabled them not only to
engage seriously with the question of unity and the challenges posed by cultural
difference but also to step outside their
resilience of the special relationship.
Turning to our chapters, the analysis of literature has long been an intricate and rewarding field of culturalinquiry, as words can serve to mirror realities as well as alter them, and so we found it only natural to open with two chapters addressing literary influences on Anglo-American relations. Analyzing P. G. Wodehouse’s early twentieth-century fiction, in Chapter 1 Finn Pollard charts the evolution of the famous British author’s portrayals of the United States and its people from his initial use of common archetypes to much
once… This experience (one to which artists and thinkers occasionally devote themselves,
but which is by no means the unique privilege of those who claim or
to whom we grant such status), this experience may be sought with or
without ‘drugs’, at least without any ‘narcotic’, ‘classiﬁed’ as such by the
Law. We will always have unclassiﬁed or unclassiﬁable supplements of
drugs or narcotics. (Derrida, 1995: 245)
Drugs are thus of no special signiﬁcance (amongst the set of all possible
themes of culturalinquiry) to deconstruction, but deconstruction can
assist in the
from Signs to Practices in CulturalInquiry’, History and Theory 39 (2000), pp. 289–310, p. 290, p. 293, italics in original. See also Victoria E. Bonnell and Lynn Hunt (eds), Beyond the Cultural Turn (Berkeley, 1999).
34 Alun Munslow, Deconstructing History (2nd edn, London, 2006), p. 177. See also discussion of deconstruction (and associated theoretical articles) in Keith Jenkins and Alun Munslow (eds), The Nature of History Reader (London, 2004), pp. 12–15. Elizabeth Deeds Ermarth engaged with the problem of temporality to which Munslow alluded in her