Cultural studies is a field of theoretically, politically, and empirically engaged cultural analysis that concentrates upon the political dynamics of contemporary culture, its historical foundations, defining traits, conflicts, and contingencies. Cultural studies researchers generally investigate how cultural practices relate to wider systems of power associated with or operating through social phenomena, such as ideology, class structures, national formations, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, and generation. Cultural studies views cultures not as fixed, bounded, stable, and discrete entities, but rather as constantly interacting and changing sets of practices and processes. The field of cultural studies encompasses a range of theoretical and methodological perspectives and practices. Although distinct from the discipline of cultural anthropology and the interdisciplinary field of ethnic studies, cultural studies draws upon and has contributed to each of these fields.
Cultural studies was initially developed by British academics in the late 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, and has been subsequently taken up and transformed by scholars from many different disciplines around the world. Cultural studies is avowedly and even radically interdisciplinary and can sometimes be seen as antidisciplinary. A key concern for cultural studies practitioners is the examination of the forces within and through which socially organized people conduct and participate in the construction of their everyday lives. As a result, Cultural Studies as a field of research is not concerned with the linguistically uncategorized experiences of individuals, or, in a more radical approach, holds that individual experiences do not exist, being always the result of a particular social-political context.
Cultural studies combines a variety of politically engaged critical approaches drawn including semiotics, Marxism, feminist theory, ethnography, critical race theory, post-structuralism, postcolonialism, social theory, political theory, history, philosophy, literary theory, media theory, film/video studies, communication studies, political economy, translation studies, museum studies and art history/criticism to study cultural phenomena in various societies and historical periods. Cultural studies seeks to understand how meaning is generated, disseminated, contested, bound up with systems of power and control, and produced from the social, political and economic spheres within a particular social formation or conjuncture. Important theories of cultural hegemony and agency have both influenced and been developed by the cultural studies movement, as have many recent major communication theories and agendas, such as those that attempt to explain and analyze the cultural forces related and processes of globalization.
During the rise of neo-liberalism in Britain and the US, cultural studies both became a global movement, and attracted the attention of many conservative opponents both within and beyond universities for a variety of reasons. Some left-wing critics associated particularly with Marxist forms of political economy also attacked cultural studies for allegedly overstating the importance of cultural phenomena. While cultural studies continues to have its detractors, the field has become a kind of a worldwide movement that is to this day associated with a raft of scholarly associations and programs, annual international conferences, publications and students and practitioners from Taiwan to Amsterdam and from Bangalore to Santa Cruz. Somewhat distinct approaches to cultural studies have emerged in different national and regional contexts such as the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Italy.
As Dennis Dworkin writes, "a critical moment" in the beginning of cultural studies as a field was when Richard Hoggart used the term in 1964 in founding the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) at the University of Birmingham in the UK, which was to become home for the development of the intellectual orientation that has become known internationally as the "Birmingham School" of cultural studies. CCCS at the university thus became the world's first institutional home of cultural studies.
Hoggart appointed Stuart Hall as his assistant, and Hall was effectively directing CCCS by 1968. Hall formally assumed the directorship of CCCS in 1971, when Hoggart left Birmingham to become Assistant Director-General of UNESCO. Thereafter, the field of cultural studies became closely associated with Hall's work. In 1979, Hall left Birmingham to accept a prestigious chair in Sociology at the Open University in the UK, and Richard Johnson took over the directorship of the Centre.
In the late 1990s, "restructuring" at the University of Birmingham led to the elimination of CCCS and the creation of a new Department of Cultural Studies and Sociology (CSS) in 1999. Then, in 2002, the University of Birmingham's senior administration abruptly announced the disestablishment of CSS, provoking a substantial international outcry. The immediate reason for disestablishment of the new department was an unexpectedly low result in the UK's Research Assessment Exercise of 2001, though a dean from the university attributed the decision to "inexperienced ‘macho management.’" The RAE, a holdover initiative of the Margaret Thatcher-led UK government of 1986, determines research funding for university programs.
Beginning in 1964, after the initial appearance of the founding works of British Cultural Studies in the late 1950s, Stuart Hall's pioneering work at CCCS, along with that of his colleagues and postgraduate students including Paul Willis, Dick Hebdige, David Morley, Charlotte Brunsdon, John Clarke, Richard Dyer, Judith Williamson, Richard Johnson, Iain Chambers, Dorothy Hobson, Chris Weedon, Tony Jefferson, Michael Green and Angela McRobbie, gave shape and substance to the field of cultural studies. Many cultural studies scholars employed Marxist methods of analysis, exploring the relationships between cultural forms (the superstructure) and that of the political economy (the base). By the 1970s, the work of Louis Althusser radically rethought the Marxist account of "base" and "superstructure" in ways that had a significant influence on the "Birmingham School." Much of the work done at CCCS studied youth subcultural expressions of antagonism toward "respectable" middle-class British culture in the post-WWII period. Also during the 70s, the politically formidable British working classes were in decline. Britain's manufacturing industries were fading and union rolls were shrinking. Yet millions of working class Britons backed the rise of Margaret Thatcher. For Stuart Hall and his colleagues, this shift in loyalty from the Labour Party to the Conservative Party had to be explained in terms of cultural politics, which they had been tracking even before Thatcher's victory. Some of this work was presented in the cultural studies classic, Policing the Crisis, and in other later texts such as Hall's The Hard Road to Renewal: Thatcherism and the Crisis of the Left and New Times: The Changing Face of Politics in the 1990s.
To trace the development of British Cultural Studies, see, for example, the work of Richard Hoggart, E. P. Thompson, Raymond Williams, Stuart Hall, Paul Willis, Angela McRobbie, Paul Gilroy, David Morley, Charlotte Brunsdon, Richard Dyer, and others.
By the late 1970s, scholars associated with The Birmingham School had firmly placed questions of gender and race on the cultural studies agenda, where they have remained ever since. Also by the late 1970s, cultural studies had begun to attract a great deal of international attention. It spread globally throughout the 1980s and 90s. As it did so, it both encountered new conditions of knowledge production, and engaged with other major international intellectual currents such as poststructuralism, postmodernism and postcolonialism. The wide range of cultural studies journals now located throughout the world, as shown below, is one indication of the globalization of the field.
In the US, prior to the emergence of British Cultural Studies, several versions of cultural analysis had emerged largely from pragmatic and liberal-pluralist philosophical traditions. However, when British Cultural Studies began to spread internationally in the late 1970s, and to engage with feminism, poststructuralism, postmodernism and race in the late 70s and 1980s, critical cultural studies (i.e., Marxist, feminist, poststructuralist, etc.) expanded tremendously in US universities in fields such as communication studies, education, sociology and literature. Cultural Studies, the flagship journal of the field, has been based in the US since its founding editor, John Fiske, brought it there from Australia in 1987.
A thriving cultural studies scene has existed in Australia since the late 1970s, when several key CS practitioners emigrated there from the UK, taking British Cultural Studies with them, after Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister of the UK in 1979. A school of cultural studies known as "cultural policy studies" is one of the distinctive Australian contributions to the field, though it is not the only one. Australia also gave birth to the world's first professional cultural studies association (now known as the Cultural Studies Association of Australasia) in 1990. Cultural studies journals based in Australia include International Journal of Cultural Studies, Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies and Cultural Studies Review.
In Canada, cultural studies has sometimes focused on issues of technology and society, continuing the emphasis in the work of Marshall McLuhan, Harold Innis, and others. Cultural studies journals based in Canada include Topia: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies.
In Latin America, cultural studies has drawn on thinkers such as José Martí, Ángel Rama and other Latin American figures, in addition to the Western theoretical sources associated with cultural studies in other parts of the world. Leading Latin American cultural studies scholars include Néstor García Canclini, Jésus Martín-Barbero, and Beatriz Sarlo. Among the key issues addressed by Latin American cultural studies scholars are decoloniality, urban cultures, and postdevelopment theory. Latin American cultural studies journals include the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies.
Even though cultural studies developed much more rapidly in the UK than in continental Europe, there is a significant cultural studies presence in countries such as France, Spain and Portugal. The field is relatively undeveloped in Germany, probably due to the continued influence of the Frankfurt School, which is now often said to be in its third generation, which includes notable figures such as Axel Honneth. Cultural studies journals based in continental Europe include the European Journal of Cultural Studies, the Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies, French Cultural Studies, and Portuguese Cultural Studies.
In Germany, the term cultural studies specifically refers to the field in the Anglo-sphere especially British Cultural Studies to differentiate it from the German Kulturwissenschaft which developed along different lines and is characterized by its distance from political science. However, Kulturwissenschaft and cultural studies are often used interchangeably, particularly by lay persons.
Throughout Asia, cultural studies has boomed and thrived since at least the beginning of the 1990s. Cultural studies journals based in Asia include Inter-Asia Cultural Studies. In India the Centre for Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore and the Department of Cultural Studies at The English and Foreign Languages University Hyderabad at two major institutional spaces for Cultural Studies.
As noted above, Marxism has been an important influence upon cultural studies. Those associated with CCCS initially engaged deeply with the structuralism of Louis Althusser, and later in the 1970s turned decisively toward Antonio Gramsci. Cultural studies has also embraced the examination of race, gender, and other aspects of identity, as is illustrated, for example, by a number of key books published collectively under the name of CCCS in the late 1970s and early 80s, including Women Take Issue: Aspects of Women's Subordination (1978), and The Empire Strikes Back: Race and Racism in 70s Britain (1982).
To understand the changing political circumstances of class, politics and culture in the United Kingdom, scholars at The Birmingham School turned to the work of Antonio Gramsci, an Italian thinker, writer and communist party leader of the 1910s, 20s and '30s. Gramsci had been concerned with similar issues: why would Italian laborers and peasants vote for fascists? What strategic approach is necessary to mobilize popular support in more progressive directions? Gramsci modified classical Marxism, and argued that culture must be understood as a key site of political and social struggle. In his view, capitalists used not only brute force (police, prisons, repression, military) to maintain control, but also penetrated the everyday culture of working people in a variety of ways in their efforts to win popular "consent." It is important to recognize that for Gramsci, historical leadership, or "hegemony," involves the formation of alliances between class factions, and struggles within the cultural realm of everyday common sense. Hegemony was always, for Gramsci, an interminable, unstable and contested process.
Scott Lash writes:
In the work of Hall, Hebdige and McRobbie, popular culture came to the fore... What Gramsci gave to this was the importance of consent and culture. If the fundamental Marxists saw power in terms of class-versus-class, then Gramsci gave to us a question of class alliance. The rise of cultural studies itself was based on the decline of the prominence of fundamental class-versus-class politics.
Edgar and Sedgwick write:
The theory of hegemony was of central importance to the development of British cultural studies [particularly The Birmingham School. It facilitated analysis of the ways subordinate groups actively resist and respond to political and economic domination. The subordinate groups needed not to be seen merely as the passive dupes of the dominant class and its ideology.
The development of hegemony theory in cultural studies was in some ways consonant with work in other fields exploring agency, a theoretical concept that insists on the active, critical capacities of subordinated peoples (e.g. the working classes, colonized peoples, women). As Stuart Hall famously argued in his 1981 essay, "Notes on Deconstructing 'the Popular'," "ordinary people are not cultural dopes." Insistence on accounting for the agency of subordinated peoples runs counter to the work of traditional structuralists. Some analysts have however been critical of some work in cultural studies that they feel overstates the significance of or even romanticizes some forms of popular cultural agency.
Cultural studies often concerns itself with agency at the level of the practices of everyday life, and approaches such research from a standpoint of radical contextualism. In other words, cultural studies rejects universal accounts of cultural practices, meanings, and identities.
Judith Butler, an American feminist theorist whose work is often associated with cultural studies, wrote that
the move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure. It has marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power.
In recent decades, as capitalist culture has spread throughout the world via contemporary forms of globalization, cultural studies has generated important analyses of local sites and practices of negotiation with and resistance to Western hegemony.
Cultural Studies criticizes the traditional view of the passive consumer, particularly by underlining the different ways people read, receive and interpret cultural texts, or appropriate other kinds of cultural products, or otherwise participate in the production and circulation of meanings. On this view, a consumer can appropriate, actively rework or challenge the meanings circulated through cultural texts. In some of its variants, then, cultural studies has thus shifted the analytical focus from (traditional understandings of) production to consumption, which is nevertheless understood as a form of production (of meanings, of identities, etc.) in its own right. Stuart Hall, John Fiske, and others have been influential in these developments.
A special 2008 issue of the field's flagship journal, Cultural Studies, examined "Anti-Consumerism" from a variety of cultural studies angles. As Jeremy Gilbert noted in his contribution to this issue, cultural studies must grapple with the fact that “we now live in an era when, throughout the capitalist world, the overriding aim of government economic policy is to maintain consumer spending levels. This is an era when ‘consumer confidence’ is treated as the key indicator and cause of economic effectiveness."
Cultural studies, drawing upon and developing semiotics, uses the concept of text to designate not only written language, but also television programs, films, photographs, fashion, hairstyles, and so forth; the texts of cultural studies comprise all the meaningful artifacts of culture. This conception of textuality derives especially from the work of the pioneering and influential semiotician, Roland Barthes, but also owes debts to other sources, such as Juri Lotman and his colleagues from Tartu–Moscow School. Similarly, the field widens the concept of "culture." "Culture," for a cultural studies researcher, includes not only traditional high culture (the culture of ruling social groups), but also everyday meanings and practices, which have, as noted above, become a central focus of cultural studies. Cultural studies even approaches sites and spaces of everyday life, such as pubs, living rooms, gardens and beaches, as "texts."
Jeff Lewis summarized much of the work on textuality and textual analysis in his cultural studies textbook and a post-9/11 monograph on media and terrorism. According to Lewis, 'textual studies' use complex and difficult heuristic methods and require both powerful interpretive skills and a subtle conception of politics and contexts. The task of the cultural analyst, for Lewis, is to engage with both knowledge systems and texts, and observe and analyse the ways the two interact with one another. This engagement represents the critical dimensions of the analysis, its capacity to illuminate the hierarchies within and surrounding the given text and its discourses.
Cultural studies has evolved through the confluence of various disciplines—anthropology, media and communication studies, literary studies, education, geography, philosophy, sociology, politics and others. While some have accused certain areas of cultural studies of meandering into political relativism and a kind of empty version of "postmodern" analysis, others hold that at its core, cultural studies provides a significant conceptual and methodological framework for cultural, social and economic critique. This critique is designed to "deconstruct" the meanings and assumptions that are inscribed in the institutions, texts and practices that work with and through, and produce and re-present, culture. Thus, while some scholars and disciplines like to dismiss cultural studies for its methodological openness and rejection of disciplinarity, its core strategies of critique and analysis have had a profound influence throughout the more progressive and critical areas of the social sciences and humanities. Cultural studies work on forms of social differentiation, control and inequality, identity, community-building, media, and knowledge production, for example, has had a substantial impact. Moreover, the influence of cultural studies has become increasingly evident in areas as diverse as translation studies, health studies, international relations, development studies, computer studies, economics, archaeology, and neurobiology, as well as across the range of disciplines that initially shaped the emergence of cultural studies, including literature, sociology, communication studies, and anthropology.
Cultural studies has also diversified its own interests and methodologies, incorporating a range of studies on media policy, democracy, design, leisure, tourism, warfare and development. While certain key concepts such as ideology or discourse, class, hegemony, identity and gender remain significant, cultural studies has long engaged with and integrated new concepts and approaches such as deconstruction and postmodernism. The field thus continues to pursue political critique through its engagements with the forces of culture and politics.
The Blackwell Companion to Cultural Studies, edited by leading cultural studies scholar Toby Miller, contains essays that analyze the development of cultural studies approaches within each of a wide range of disciplines across the contemporary social sciences and humanities.
Many cultural studies practitioners work in departments of English or Comparative Literature. Nevertheless, some traditional literary scholars such as Yale professor Harold Bloom have been outspoken critics of cultural studies. On the level of methodology, these scholars dispute the theoretical underpinning of the movement's critical framework.
[T]here are two enemies of reading now in the world, not just in the English-speaking world. One [is] the lunatic destruction of literary studies...and its replacement by what is called cultural studies in all of the universities and colleges in the English-speaking world, and everyone knows what that phenomenon is. I mean, the...now-weary phrase 'political correctness' remains a perfectly good descriptive phrase for what has gone on and is, alas, still going on almost everywhere and which dominates, I would say, rather more than three-fifths of the tenured faculties in the English-speaking world, who really do represent a treason of the intellectuals, I think, a 'betrayal of the clerks'."
Marxist literary critic Terry Eagleton is not wholly opposed to cultural studies, but has criticised aspects of it and highlighted what he sees as its strengths and weaknesses in books such as After Theory (2003). For Eagleton, literary and cultural theory have the potential to say important things about the "fundamental questions" in life, but theorists have rarely realized this potential.
Cultural studies has also had a substantial impact on sociology. For example, when Stuart Hall left CCCS at Birmingham, it was to accept a prestigious professorship in Sociology at the Open University in Britain. The subfield of cultural sociology, in particular, is disciplinary home to many cultural studies practitioners. Nevertheless, there are some differences between sociology as a discipline and the field of cultural studies as a whole. While sociology was founded upon various historic works purposefully distinguishing the subject from philosophy or psychology, cultural studies has explicitly interrogated and criticized traditional understandings and practices of disciplinarity. Most CS practitioners think it is best that cultural studies neither emulate disciplines nor aspire to disciplinarity for cultural studies. Rather, they promote a kind of radical interdisciplinarity as the basis for cultural studies.
One sociologist whose work has had a major influence upon cultural studies is Pierre Bourdieu. Bourdieu's work makes innovative use of statistics and in-depth interviews. However, although Bourdieu's work has been highly influential within cultural studies, and although Bourdieu regarded his work as a form of science, cultural studies has never embraced the idea that it should aspire toward "scientificity," and has marshalled a wide range of theoretical and methodological arguments against the fetishization of "scientificity" as a basis for cultural studies.
Two sociologists who have been critical of cultural studies, Chris Rojek and Bryan S. Turner, argue in their article, "Decorative sociology: towards a critique of the cultural turn", that cultural studies, particularly the flavor championed by Stuart Hall, lacks a stable research agenda, and privileges the contemporary reading of texts, thus producing an ahistorical theoretical focus. Many, however, would argue, following Hall, that cultural studies has always sought to avoid the establishment of a fixed research agenda; this follows from its critique of disciplinarity. Moreover, Hall and many others have long argued against the misunderstanding that textual analysis is the sole methodology of cultural studies, and have practiced numerous other approaches, as noted above. Rojek and Turner also level the accusation that there is "a sense of moral superiority about the correctness of the political views articulated" in cultural studies
In 1996, physicist Alan Sokal expressed his opposition to cultural studies by submitting a hoax article to a cultural studies journal, Social Text. The article, which was crafted as a parody of what Sokal referred to as the "fashionable nonsense" of postmodernism, was accepted by the editors of the journal, which did not at the time practice peer review. When the paper appeared in print, Sokal published a second article in a self-described "academic gossip" magazine, Lingua Franca, revealing his hoax on Social Text. Sokal stated that his motivation stemmed from his rejection of contemporary critiques of scientific rationalism:
"Politically, I'm angered because most (though not all) of this silliness is emanating from the self-proclaimed Left. We're witnessing here a profound historical volte-face. For most of the past two centuries, the Left has been identified with science and against obscurantism; we have believed that rational thought and the fearless analysis of objective reality (both natural and social) are incisive tools for combating the mystifications promoted by the powerful -- not to mention being desirable human ends in their own right. The recent turn of many "progressive" or "leftist" academic humanists and social scientists toward one or another form of epistemic relativism betrays this worthy heritage and undermines the already fragile prospects for progressive social critique. Theorizing about "the social construction of reality" won't help us find an effective treatment for AIDS or devise strategies for preventing global warming. Nor can we combat false ideas in history, sociology, economics and politics if we reject the notions of truth and falsity."
Hall and others have identified some core originating texts, or the original "curriculum", of the field of cultural studies:
The Américo Paredes Center for Cultural Studies is a research center focused on the production and distribution of cultural studies research. As part of the University of Texas at Austin, the Center pulls on many different disciplines and departments. The center was founded in 1967 as the Center for Folklore Studies by Americo Paredes, who received a Ph.D. from the UT-Austin English Department in 1956 and joined the faculty in 1958. Scholars historically associated with the center include Richard Bauman and Steven Feld.Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies
The Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) was a research centre at the University of Birmingham, England. It was founded in 1964 by Richard Hoggart, its first director. From 1964 to 2002, the Centre played a "critical" role in developing the field of cultural studies.Communication studies
Communication studies or communication sciences is an academic discipline that deals with processes of human communication. There are three types of communication: verbal, involving listening to a person to understand the meaning of a message; written, in which a message is read; and nonverbal communication involving observing a person and inferring meaning. The discipline encompasses a range of topics, from face-to-face conversation to mass media outlets, such as television broadcasting.
Communication studies shares with cultural studies an interest in how messages are interpreted through the political, cultural, economic, semiotic, hermeneutic, and social dimensions of their contexts. In political economics, communication studies examines how the politics of ownership affects content. Quantitative communication studies examines statistics in order to help substantiate claims.Cross-cultural
Cross-cultural may refer to
cross-cultural studies, a comparative tendency in various fields of cultural analysis
cross-cultural communication, a field of study that looks at how people from differing cultural backgrounds communicate
any of various forms of interactivity between members of disparate cultural groups (see also cross-cultural communication, interculturalism, intercultural relations, hybridity, cosmopolitanism, transculturation)
the discourse concerning cultural interactivity, sometimes referred to as cross-culturalism (See also multiculturalism, cosmopolitanism, transculturation, cultural diversity)Cross-cultural studies
Cross-cultural studies, sometimes called holocultural studies or comparative studies, is a specialization in anthropology and sister sciences (sociology, psychology, economics, political science) that uses field data from many societies to examine the scope of human behavior and test hypotheses about human behavior and culture. Cross-cultural studies is the third form of cross-cultural comparisons. The first is comparison of case studies, the second is controlled comparison among variants of a common derivation, and the third is comparison within a sample of cases. Unlike comparative studies, which examines similar characteristics of a few societies, cross-cultural studies uses a sufficiently large sample so that statistical analysis can be made to show relationships or lack of relationships between the traits in question. These studies are surveys of ethnographic data.
Cross-cultural studies are applied widely in the social sciences, particularly in cultural anthropology and psychology.Cultural history
Cultural history combines the approaches of anthropology and history to look at popular cultural traditions and cultural interpretations of historical experience. It examines the records and narrative descriptions of past matter, encompassing the continuum of events (occurring in succession and leading from the past to the present and even into the future) pertaining to a culture.
Cultural history records and interprets past events involving human beings through the social, cultural, and political milieu of or relating to the arts and manners that a group favors. Jacob Burckhardt (1818–1897) helped found cultural history as a discipline. Cultural history studies and interprets the record of human societies by denoting the various distinctive ways of living built up by a group of people under consideration. Cultural history involves the aggregate of past cultural activity, such as ceremony, class in practices, and the interaction with locales.Cultural memory
Because memory is not just an individual, private experience but is also part of the collective domain, cultural memory has become a topic in both historiography (Pierre Nora, Richard Terdiman) and cultural studies (e.g., Susan Stewart). These emphasize cultural memory’s process (historiography) and its implications and objects (cultural studies), respectively. Two schools of thought have emerged, one articulates that the present shapes our understanding of the past. The other assumes that the past has an influence on our present behavior. It has, however, been pointed out (most notably by Guy Beiner) that these two approaches are not necessarily mutually exclusive.Cultural practice
Cultural practice generally refers to the manifestation of a culture or sub-culture, especially in regard to the traditional and customary practices of a particular ethnic or other cultural group. In the broadest sense, this term can apply to any person manifesting any aspect of any culture at any time. However, in practical usage it often refers to the traditional practices developed within specific ethnic cultures, especially those aspects of culture that have been practiced since ancient times.
The term is gaining in importance due to the increased controversy over "rights of cultural practice", which are protected in many jurisdictions for indigenous peoples and sometimes ethnic minorities. It is also a major component of the field of cultural studies, and is a primary focus of international works such as the United Nations declaration of the rights of indigenous Peoples.Cultural practice is also a subject of discussion in questions of cultural survival. If an ethnic group retains its formal ethnic identity but loses its core cultural practices or the knowledge, resources, or ability to continue them, questions arise as to whether the culture is able to actually survive at all. International bodies such as the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues continually work on these issues, which are increasingly at the forefront of globalization questions.Cultural property
Cultural property are physical items that are part of the cultural heritage of a group or society. They include such items as historic buildings, works of art, archaeological sites, libraries and museums.Culture
Culture () is the social behavior and norms found in human societies. Culture is considered a central concept in anthropology, encompassing the range of phenomena that are transmitted through social learning in human societies. Cultural universals are found in all human societies; these include expressive forms like art, music, dance, ritual, religion, and technologies like tool usage, cooking, shelter, and clothing. The concept of material culture covers the physical expressions of culture, such as technology, architecture and art, whereas the immaterial aspects of culture such as principles of social organization (including practices of political organization and social institutions), mythology, philosophy, literature (both written and oral), and science comprise the intangible cultural heritage of a society.In the humanities, one sense of culture as an attribute of the individual has been the degree to which they have cultivated a particular level of sophistication in the arts, sciences, education, or manners. The level of cultural sophistication has also sometimes been seen to distinguish civilizations from less complex societies. Such hierarchical perspectives on culture are also found in class-based distinctions between a high culture of the social elite and a low culture, popular culture, or folk culture of the lower classes, distinguished by the stratified access to cultural capital. In common parlance, culture is often used to refer specifically to the symbolic markers used by ethnic groups to distinguish themselves visibly from each other such as body modification, clothing or jewelry. Mass culture refers to the mass-produced and mass mediated forms of consumer culture that emerged in the 20th century. Some schools of philosophy, such as Marxism and critical theory, have argued that culture is often used politically as a tool of the elites to manipulate the lower classes and create a false consciousness, and such perspectives are common in the discipline of cultural studies. In the wider social sciences, the theoretical perspective of cultural materialism holds that human symbolic culture arises from the material conditions of human life, as humans create the conditions for physical survival, and that the basis of culture is found in evolved biological dispositions.
When used as a count noun, a "culture" is the set of customs, traditions, and values of a society or community, such as an ethnic group or nation. Culture is the set of knowledge acquired over time. In this sense, multiculturalism values the peaceful coexistence and mutual respect between different cultures inhabiting the same planet. Sometimes "culture" is also used to describe specific practices within a subgroup of a society, a subculture (e.g. "bro culture"), or a counterculture. Within cultural anthropology, the ideology and analytical stance of cultural relativism holds that cultures cannot easily be objectively ranked or evaluated because any evaluation is necessarily situated within the value system of a given culture.Culture theory
Culture theory is the branch of comparative anthropology and semiotics (not to be confused with cultural sociology or cultural studies) that seeks to define the heuristic concept of culture in operational and/or scientific terms.Dominant culture
A dominant culture is a cultural practice that is dominant within a particular political, social or economic entity, in which multiple cultures are present. It may refer to a language, religion/ritual, social value and/or social custom. These features are often a norm for an entire society. It achieves dominance by being perceived as pertaining to a majority of the population and having a significant presence in institutions relating to communication, education, artistic expression, law, government and business. The concept of "dominant culture" is generally used in academic discourse in fields such as sociology, anthropology and cultural studies.The culture that is dominant within a particular geopolitical entity can change over time in response to internal or external factors, but one is usually very resilient and able to reproduce itself effectively from generation to generation. In a multicultural society, various cultures are celebrated and respected equally. A dominant culture can be promoted deliberately and by the suppression of minority cultures or subcultures.Musa Najafi
Musa Najafi (Persian: موسی نجفی) (born in 1962 in Isfahan) is an Iranian professor, historian and author. He is the director of the Department of Political Thought and Philosophy at Islamic Azad University and directs the PhD group in political science at Imam Khomeini Educational Research Institute, with a focus on the issues of Iran. Najafi also heads the Research Institute of Culture and Islamic Civilization and Revolution, where he is head of the Department of Islamic Revolution Theory. Najafi is a former faculty member of the Department of the Political Science at Tehran University.
He owns "the theory of evolution and the formation of national identity of Iranian" in the seats theorist. Najafi won an Iranian Book of the Year Award for Levels of Political Philosophy in Islamic Civilization, which was recognized by Iran's Secretariat of Islamic Scholars in 2003.Najafi founded the House of constitutional theory in Isfahan, Iran.Non-material culture
Culture consists of both material culture and non-material culture. Thoughts or ideas that make up a culture are called the non-material culture. In contrast to material culture, non-material culture does not include any physical objects or artifacts. Examples of non-material culture include any ideas, beliefs, values, norms that may help shape society.Polyculturalism
Polyculturalism is an ideological approach to the consequences of intercultural engagements within a geographical area which emphasises similarities between, and the enduring interconnectedness of, groups which self-identify as distinct, thus blurring the boundaries which may be perceived by members of those groups. It differs from multiculturalism which instead emphasises the separateness of the identities of self-identifying cultural groups with an aim of preserving and celebrating their differences in spite of interactions between them. Supporters of polyculturalism oppose multiculturalism, arguing that the latter's emphasis on difference and separateness is divisive and harmful to social cohesion.Racial integration
Racial integration, or simply integration, includes desegregation (the process of ending systematic racial segregation). In addition to desegregation, integration includes goals such as leveling barriers to association, creating equal opportunity regardless of race, and the development of a culture that draws on diverse traditions, rather than merely bringing a racial minority into the majority culture. Desegregation is largely a legal matter, integration largely a social one.Shield-maiden
A shield-maiden (Old Norse: skjaldmær), in Scandinavian folklore and mythology was a female warrior. They are often mentioned in sagas such as Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks and in Gesta Danorum. Shield-maidens also appear in stories of other Germanic peoples: Goths, Cimbri, and Marcomanni. The mythical valkyries may have been based on the shield-maidens.Stuart Hall (cultural theorist)
Stuart McPhail Hall, FBA (3 February 1932 – 10 February 2014) was a Jamaican-born British Marxist sociologist, cultural theorist and political activist. Hall, along with Richard Hoggart and Raymond Williams, was one of the founding figures of the school of thought that is now known as British Cultural Studies or The Birmingham School of Cultural Studies.In the 1950s Hall was a founder of the influential New Left Review. At Hoggart's invitation, he joined the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at Birmingham University in 1964. Hall took over from Hoggart as acting director of the Centre in 1968, became its director in 1972, and remained there until 1979. While at the Centre, Hall is credited with playing a role in expanding the scope of cultural studies to deal with race and gender, and with helping to incorporate new ideas derived from the work of French theorists like Michel Foucault.Hall left the centre in 1979 to become a professor of sociology at the Open University. He was President of the British Sociological Association 1995–97. He retired from the Open University in 1997 and was a professor emeritus. British newspaper The Observer called him "one of the country's leading cultural theorists". Hall was also involved in the Black Arts Movement. Movie directors such as John Akomfrah and Isaac Julien also see him as one of their heroes.Hall was married to Catherine Hall, a feminist professor of modern British history at University College London.Visual culture
Visual culture is the aspect of culture expressed in visual images. Many academic fields study this subject, including cultural studies, art history, critical theory, philosophy, media studies, and anthropology.