Mod-01 Lec-02 Understanding Cultural Studies Part 2

Mod-01 Lec-02 Understanding Cultural Studies Part 2


Welcome back to NPTEL, the National Program
on Technology Enhanced Learning. As you are aware, we are in a series of lectures
collectively entitled ‘Cultural Studies’. These lectures are being brought to you by
the Indian Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institute of Science. The lectures are for students in engineering
colleges and in IITs, where humanities and social sciences are taught as both core and
elective subjects. I am Liza and I teach at the Department of
Humanities and Social Sciences in IIT Guwahati. So, we have already been through the introductory
lecture. In the first lecture of the series, the lecture
being given today is a continuation of the first lecture. In that, we look at the scope of cultural
studies in a bit to understand cultural studies as a discipline, as a domain. Some of the characteristics of cultural studies
we have already talked about in the first lecture, for instance, we saw that cultural
studies was quite resolutely interdisciplinary in nature and by the fact that it has no really
referent, and it is to do with ways of talking. We also found ways of talking about cultural
forms cultural practices. We saw that key terms and concept are essential
to the discourse of cultural studies. Well, before we begin to talk about the topic
in every lecture, we are going to do a brief recap. At the beginning of each lecture we are going
to talk briefly about what we did not lecture in a bid to know retain the degree of continuity
from the previous lectures. So, we move on now to the recap of lecture
one, and we saw that Chris Barker, in his Sage Dictionary of Cultural Studies, terms
Cultural Studies, domain of Cultural Studies as an interdisciplinary or post disciplinary
field and also he points to the fact that cultural studies really is a language-game. It is constituted by the language-game of
talking in various ways, in the re-describing cultural practices forms, institutions in
a bit as we will find later to in bit to remove, establish ways and patterns of thinking that
we may have collected over so many years. And that the theoretical terms developed and
deployed by persons calling their work Cultural Studies. It is these themselves constitute what Cultural
Studies is. Then we found that, Raymond Williams, Richards
Hoggart and EP Thompson are the three persons who were responsible for eventually leading
to the discipline ‘Cultural Studies’ and we also saw that we could actually pin-point
a date as far as birds. So, to speak of cultural studies as the discipline
as an academic discipline is concerned and we, for that, we need to go back to the establishment
of the Center for Contemporary Cultures Studies of Culture at the University of Birmingham,
whose first director was Richard Hoggart. Then, we saw that this break from established
ways of thinking which eventually led to the formation of Cultural Studies as a discipline
is characterized by what we called Culturalism, Materialism and Marxism. At least, at early phase is not that cultural
study, as a discipline has remained with these characteristics. As we shall see, there has been a cultural
term. In fact, we saw from Bennett and Fraw that
the cultural term is about meanings is about discourses, about meaning formation signification
along with the fact that it does retain certain Culturalism and definitely a Marxist point
of analysis. Then, we defined culture as something that
is ordinary and we distinguished it from common sensical ways of looking at culture as to
do with, to do with cultural practices like points, cultural forms like music, theoretic
etcetera. And we said that no culture is ordinary and
we saw through Raymond Williams that culture is a way of life and cultural studies takes
as its data, the various everyday practices and cultural forms that constitute our culture. So, in that, I should add here that popular
culture also therefore, becomes very important part of cultural studies; a very important
part of the data of cultural studies. So, culture is then, ordinary culture is a
way of life, culture is democratized and culture is to do with the creation and generation
of meaning. We also saw that we need to make a difference
between cultural studies and the study of culture in that, the culture, the study of
culture we may say safely is to do with the older ways of doing anthropology, whereas
cultural studies is to do with symbolic forms and their signifying practices. Therefore, a few of the ways in which culture
is variously seen with the point that we can gain from the last lecture are these: at culture
is a tool, culture is a tool through which he may find out way in our social and cultural
life. Culture is the language. Culture refers to artifacts. Cultural is of course a way of life and culture
is deeply endued with power. So, these are the various ways in which we
shall be looking at culture in our course Cultural Studies. So, the key source takes in this second lecture
are Chris Barker’s Cultural Studies Theory and Practice book which had said in lecture
one. May be the if you have to choose a particular
text as a textbook, this would be it. And the other books in this, referred to in
this course, is again by Barker- the Sage Dictionary of Cultural Studies and making
sense of Cultural Studies. So, what was edited volume representations,
Tony Bennett and John Frow’s edited volume- The Sage Handbook of Cultural Analysis and
Pramod Nayar’s An Introduction to Cultural Studies. Well. So, the lecture today is designed in such
a way as to be able to unpack the scope of cultural studies. So, while we talk about the scope of cultural
studies and all that is entailed in the study of Cultural Studies, that is we cannot talk
about all that is entailed at least within the limits of a single one hour lecture, but
we shall be able to understand what cultural studies is as a domain as we looked at the
various things that fall into the scope of cultural studies. These would also; all that I am going to say
in this lecture on Understanding Cultural Studies is this. Most of it is going to be reflected in individual
lectures devoted to individual topics. So, I hope by you looking at some of the components
of cultural studies. We will be able to understand in a better
way, what this domain is all about, what this discipline is all about if at all we can call
it a discipline. The first thing that we need to note here
is many or other, it has been accepted way of considering nature and nurture as separate. Nature is related to biology, nature is a
people think nature is different from culture, but in our course, we are going to have, we
are going to look at ourselves as cultural beings from a bio cultural perspective. So, we bring in nature and nurture together. We do not really separate these as binary
oppositions and say that nature is different and nurture is different. In at least the cluster of lectures in module
one devoted to what science has to tell us about ourselves is cultural beings. There in, we shall be able to see that nature
and nurture cannot or nature and culture are not to be separated when we try and build
discourse on understanding ourselves is cultural beings. Second, Cultural Studies also looks at the
body for now; this follows from the slide before this. The individual body is not again an individual,
not isolated and it is not an individual body in the sense that, the body becomes social
instrument. We are cultural beings, we are in a body. So, the body too is understood is one the
scope of cultural studies includes looking at the body as social or cultural instruments
and docile, as one of the philosophers, Michel Foucault has said as a docile tool of productivity
a malleable or manipulable tool of productivity. So, beginning with biology, beginning with
the body, we find that cultural studies also encompass looking at the body as a cultural
form not simply as a biological form. Next as I mentioned in the first lecture,
subjectivity is an immensely important term. It is a key term with identity really perhaps
among the most important terms in cultural studies and much of about we are going to
talk in just around subjectivity and while Chris Barker may define subjectivity at three
levels that the subjectivity may be defined as the condition of being a person and subjectivity
are all also refers to the processes that go into the construction of a person and it
is a experience of being a person. Recall also from the last lecture, that objectivity
is highly suspect in cultural studies. We understand everything to do with culture,
including science as emanating from human beings, from human, from knowledge produced
by human beings and much of it is understood as being subjective, whether at the individual
level or whether at the collective level knowledge. Therefore, cultural forms are seen as subjective
forms and subjectivity is an important part, important component of cultural studies. The next term that we have to look at is identity
and like subjectivity is so many of cultural studies and identity is also a keys term that
contributes to the discourse of cultural studies and these other terms also coming as are the
cultural studies domain is concerned and these terms are terms like class, ethnicity, gender,
race and sexuality. These are also part and parcel of ourselves
as cultural beings, in that we belong to a certain class or an ethnic group or at least
some community or a race, we have certain sexual orientations and also we are our behaviors
largely constructed by the expectation of gender roles and gender modules. So, remember what was our mega question, why
do we live the kind of life that we live. So, why do we live the kind of life that we
live is informed by these categories, these categories are categories of identity- class,
ethnicity, gender, race and sexuality. So, we as cultural beings also live out our
lives according to very well find ourselves in these categories. What cultural studies do again is question
quite radically, what is meant by common sense. Common sense cultural studies holds may be
spontaneous, it may be unconscious but common sense is nothing but the habits of thinking,
the patterns of thinking that we have collected and which needs to be queried. We need to scrutinize common sense and in
a bit. And our goal in cultural studies is to show
that whatever is common, need not full of sense. So, our cultural practices are informed by
these many forms of common sense which may behind there so called, so called innocent
venure or behind their so called naturalized, naturalized use may actually attribute to
certain social inequalities and may also help in power to instantiate itself in many ways. So common sense is again an area that is that,
it is within the scope of cultural studies to unravel what is not sore of sensible in
common sense. Then, the scope of cultural studies includes
very importantly the study of Ideology. Ideology is understood as ideas or understood
as consciousness, a certain world view way will look and understand and perceive the
world and our place in it. It can also become a doctrine if you follow
a particular ideology or you are caught in a certain ideology and these ideology also
forms the maps of meaning. So, ideology therefore is an important part
of cultural studies because it tells us that as cultural beings, we are to a large extent
under the sway of certain ideologies or ways of thinking and in our, in some of our lectures
for instance, in our lecture on Marxism, we shall find that ideology is part and parcel
of the power of the ruling class. So, we are constituted by ideology and or
actions or propel to speak by the ideologies or the worldviews that we hold in our minds. So if culture is ordinary is culture is to
do with the ways of life, these ways of life are as culture studies will show us are deeply
imbued by certain ways of thinking. In fact, Chris Barker in The Sage Dictionary
of Cultural Studies has this to say about the importance of ideology in cultural studies. Now he says this, so influential has the concept
of ideology been within cultural studies that the whole field was once dubbed ‘ideological
studies’. This is just to show you how important the
study of ideology is in cultural studies. Then the scope of cultural studies within
which we understand the domain of cultural studies has representation as a very important
term in it; representation or to re-present things. We understand everything has a representation
or everything is mediated any representation is mediated by a certain ideology or a certain
way of thinking. So representation therefore, if we look at
this slide, is both inclusive and exclusive. It includes some people and it excludes others,
excludes others. It includes certain ways of thinking and it
excludes other ways of thinking. So, representation we understand as in cultural
studies, we understand as being always impartial, always provisional and always whether overtly
or covertly always backed by power. So, the scope of cultural studies also, in
case an understanding of terms like representation and how representations are often as mentioned
by one of the critics Danny Carolier are often also misrepresentations of things. Then let me bring your attention to an important
phrase called the Circuit of Culture and this is by Stuart Hall, we came across Stuart Hall
in our first lecture and Stuart Hall gives us this diagram, this circuit of culture. So, culture may be understood as a circuit
having certain components these components are in turn, the key concepts or terms that
build the discourse of cultural studies and these are a representation, regulation, identity,
consumption and production. So, the circuit of culture is again, one of
the fundamental formulations that in his scholar cultural study needs to look at. Representation, regulation, consumption, identity
and production are its key components, are the key components in this circuit, as given
to us by Stuart Hall. Then also, understanding cultural studies
in detail, in recognizing the fact that language, language really is what Chris Barker calls
a central concern in cultural studies. So, according to Chris Barker, language is
a central concerned of cultural studies. It is the means and medium for the generation
of significance or meaning. We saw in the last lecture that meaning creation
or the generation of meaning is one of the ways in which culture is understood. Culture is a site, culture is an agent for
the generation of meaning in a social cultural practices
So, Chris Barker says that how we talk about meaning? How is meaning generated and he says that
language is the chief concern in cultural studies, in that it is both the means by which
meaning is generated, significant generator and it is also the media for the generation
of meaning. So, let us read on from Chris Barker, the
concept of meaning is core to the explication of culture. To investigate culture is to explore, look
at this to investigate culture. This is how we understand the both methodology
and the domain of cultural studies. To investigate culture is to explore how meaning
is produced symbolically in langue as a signifying system. It is only through language that you can have
meaning; you can have the generation, the encoding and the decoding of meaning. So, to investigate culture, what is culture
again; the practices of our in our ordinary practices or every day to day practices. So, to investigate culture from cultural studies
methodology using a cultural studies methodology entails this. So, explore how meaning is produced symbolically
in language as the signifying system. Here meaning is generated through difference,
the relational one signifier to another rather than by reference to fix entities in an independent
object world. Now, at this juncture we will not unpracticed
because are we devoting this lecture solely to understanding the switches, the lecture
on structuralism. How culture is full of signifying practices
and how there is no really following the linguistic model, there is no direct references to things
both in language and in culture obtained a meaning by a system of difference and system
of relation to other units in that. Culture in that sense, works like a language. At this juncture, suffices for us to simply
understand that culture is explored by looking at our symbolic practices. By looking at the way in which meaning is
created and how is meaning created? Meaning is created because of this phenomenon
call language. Language is both as Barker says both the means
and the medium for the generation of meaning. Indeed, in another book Making Sense of Cultural
Studies, Barker says, the machinery and operations of language are central concerns, and problems,
for cultural studies. Indeed, the investigation of culture has often
been regarded as virtually interchangeable with the exploration of meaning produced symbolically
through signifying systems that work ‘like a language’. So important so central is language in cultural
studies that we look at our culture practices in terms also of language, in terms of signifying
practices keep practices the generate meaning. Therefore, from this we may argue again argue
for the importance of subjectivity and the relative, the fact that objectivity is highly
suspect in cultural studies. We therefore, going to say that, there are
no objective truths there that they can only be justifications. Knowledge is a matter of being able to justify. Remember, we had used the term epistemology
in the last lecture, and what did we, how did we define an epistemology? We define epistemology as the theory of knowledge;
we define a epistemology as a branch in philosophy that looks at the scope, the origins and the
limits of knowledge limits in the sense of the conditions under which knowledge is possible. There may be different ways in which we can
get knowledge for in sense, imperialism is one way in which knowledge may be constructed,
and rationalism is another way. Now, as far as knowledge production, as far
as meaning production is concerned in cultural studies, Barker and other scholars say that,
it all depends on how you justify, how you justify a belief for instance, we make this,
and we make this difference at least for an elementary purposes. We make this difference or distinction between
belief and knowledge. We say that we may hold the belief that need
not be knowledge. So, knowledge is defined as justified belief
that has been justified. The cultural studies holds, that in a scenario
where we can never have objective truths because everything is a representation and representations
are made by human beings in a certain condition of knowledge, in a certain knowledge situation
of which have been given rise to by contingent evens by being in a particular situation in
space and time. So, cultural studies therefore, holds that
all we can do is only put forward justifications and justifications are represented through
one medium which is language. So, therefore knowledge becomes more a subjective
matter and subjectivity is therefore again like language, a central concern in cultural
studies. So, what have, we understood till now, I would
say that culture is understood, if it is understand culture and cultural studies. Culture is understood as not high forms on
practices, culture is ordinary, culture is part and parcel over way of life. The cultural practices, the forms, the institutions
education for instance, is an institution is part of culture. Culture is democratized and culture is doing
with the production of meaning. As far as last point is concerned, we found
that the production of meaning behind the production of meaning, the means and medium
for significance and meaning creation is none but language. And we found that there are other important
things like representation which is always partial like epistemology, like subjectivity,
where knowledge is ultimately a matter of not knowing objective truths but about justifications. Now, the more you can justify, the more whatever
you put forward is understood. Now, now behind this, these justifications
are also issues of power and politics, whose definition we should take whose description
should we take and we also found one of the concerns of cultural studies is to re-describe,
to resignify things. To talk about things in new ways, cultural
studies is all about talking about things in newer ways building different discourses,
so that habitual pattern of thinking habitual ways of thinking are a sort of dismantled
and we begin to see things a new. So far, this is what is meant by cultural
studies, which is, this is meant, what is meant by studying cultural studies, studying
our culture from cultural studies methodology; this is what is meant by studying culture
using cultural studies methodology. Then the scope of cultural studies also includes
studying other issues in terms of cultural formations. For instance, the nation is seen as a cultural
construct. Now, many of us are used to thinking of nations
as a given, for instance, I am in Indian, my nationality is Indian, I belong to place
which has certain boundaries and there is, geographically we are all bound together in
a country known as India. In cultural studies, we re-describe this by
talking about nation in a different way. This is one example by which you can understand
what we do in cultural studies. What we do is, we re-describe things, we sort
of try and cancel out, established ways of thinking. Now, the example I am giving you is that the
nation and what would cultural studies say? Cultural studies would say that nation is
not simply a political organization. Nation is also a matter of discourse. Now, you may think how is need to know the
nation is a political and administrative unit. It has definite geographical boundaries. How is nation a matter of language, how is
nation a matter of discourse? The answer is, nation is a cultural construct
and we represent nation in language. Nation is a discourse, nation is symbolic. For example how is nation symbolic? The nation is symbolic in the sense that our
perception of a unitary nation is held together in the common imagination of the people by
certain symbols, certain images. For instance, the national flag, the national
anthem and all various things that signify our nation. So, the nation is to be understood as discursive,
the nation is to be understood as symbolic, because even if we do not, it is impossible
for us to know each and every member of our nation. We none the less are bound to gather by a
commonality or common pool of. So, to speak imaginative or resources in the
imagination and these are, as we said, our national anthem are on our national flag and
we also have so many known national things like our national flower or national dance
form etcetera. So, this is one way in which we understand
what we do in cultural studies. We see well, almost everything as a discursive
creation or as a creation of languages, creation of representation, as a creation of subjectivity. So, this full understanding of all cultural
forms, all cultural practices and institutions as first and foremost, a matter of language,
a matter of signifying practices, a matter of symbolic practices. This I would say is how cultural studies is
different from other domains, different also from it is kinrith related domains like anthropology,
like sociology, literature and language. Further, I had leaded to science in the last
lecture and I said that even science is seen as a discourse and the understanding of ourselves
as beings, is when we look at science as discourse, you find for a instance, that science mediates
culture. If you look at this slide, here as I said,
it all about description. If you have a question like, if you pose a
question like what is it to be a human being, then you are increasingly drawing from the
domains or discourses to speak of genetics, of science and technology and of the medical
sciences. So, when you describe yourself as a human
being from within biology for instance, then you would say that it is science that is enabling
you. It is a discourse of science that is enabling
you; it is science that is a mediating force in your understanding or description of yourself
as a human being to follow. So, understanding culture, understanding what
cultural studies does is also entails looking at areas like science which are not considered
part of culture, which is things like domains like science which are considered by for instance,
positivist, as being isolated from all other different cultural activities. But we would say in cultural studies like
science too is a cultural activity, science too is a description in language, science
too uses a common pool of symbols and science too is needs to be self reflective in its
understanding of how it is a cultural practice. More about this when we talk about a science,
technology and cultural studies in a lecture in module four. So therefore, this is related to the beginning
of cultural studies. Cultural studies began also as what many would
call an insurgent sociology. It was part of sociology in the fact that,
it did not agree with some of the impulses in theoretical impulses in sociology, particularly
positivism. So, it was an insurgent sociology that was
against the purely functionalist view of culture. It tried to say that, well there are huge
issues to do with power and politics behind the so called working of society, behind the
so called functions of the different units of the society, do you understand? For instance, let us take an example, the
family for instances, the family is a core unit in sociology. It is a core unit of society. And if you study family simply from the point
of view of how family as a functional part of society and you do not talk about the politics
of the family, you do not talk about unequal power relations within a family, and then
you are doing simply functionalist analysis of a family as a unit. Not only that, you are dangerously playing
into the hands of very powerful discourses, powerful ideologies that hold the family to
be simply well functioning unit of society, hiding issues of inequality and hiding issues
of power and politics within the family. So therefore, cultural studies is to be understood
as almost as a domain that resist certain established ways of thinking, particularly
the functionalist and positivist phase of looking at our cultural forms and institutions. Secondly, cultural studies also came about
as a critic, as a radical critic of instrumental rationality. Now, by instrumental rationality we mean that
reason rationality that is used to maintain the status quo that is it comes from an unwavering
faith in science and technology. It comes from looking at science and technology
and technological rationality as an imperative, which has around, which we are not to look
at issues of power and politics points in. It came about; cultural studies therefore
came about as a staunch and radical critic of such kind of rationality. Such kind of rationality gave us a sense of
an objectivity that was, that could talk about, that everything from talk about, everything
in the sense, I would give us the truth with the capital T so to speak. So, there was therefore, cultural studies
is again a domain that looks very kind of, it is very suspicious about a functionalist
way of looking at culture, as positively way of looking positivist way of looking at knowledge
and it is also deeply critical of instrumental rationality. It would rather devised a critical rationality
or as putting rationality to the test, critiquing rationality and accepting the best that is
there from rationality or reason base thinking. So, again therefore, Barker says, we have
to understand the power. Let us look at this power which gives the
domain the right to name, which creates official versions and which creates common sense, which
legitimizes knowledge. Power is therefore, like subjectivity, like
identity, like representation; a key concepts and a key term in cultural studies and in
fact, cultural studies goes on to say that everything is infused with power. Everything is imbued with power. There is nothing that is natural. All systems are imbued with power and that
is why, that is the reason why cultural studies has this methodology; the need to re-describe
things. Power can name something, then we need to
in a bit to counter power, you will have to be re-describe and rename things. We have to remove the labels that power has
given and we have to be re-describing these things. For instance, again as you saw the understanding
of family as perfectly working, you need functioning unit contributing to society is a description
that has been given by the dominant culture by dominant ideologies, as we said, hiding
the practices of power that are there. So, when moment we re-described family as
not simply a functional unit, but as in our own site of power and subjectivity and of
identity, then what we are doing is, we are challenging the dominant ways of looking at
the family by the re-describing. So, you understand that is how language is
used in cultural studies. Language is a tools and medium of cultural
studies. It is really a technology of kind of resisting
power. Moment you can re-signify, re-describe, you
have half the battle is already won because you begin to, as we say, cancel out habitual
race of thinking. So, therefore, as Barker says, power needs
to be investigated because power legitimizes the dominant ways of thinking. Then, cultural studies are also, as we say,
not only about discourses, is not only about abstractions and key concepts. Cultural studies has as part of it, is scope;
a certain pragmatic way of thinking. Yes, we do describe things, we do look at
the workings of power of the politics of representation of everything as the cultural form, the subject
of forms, but we also have a pragmatic attitude, in the sense that, we understand everything
in culture to be not at all representative of things in his totality. Pragmatism sees cultural forms, institutions
and practices as anti-representational, as having no foundation, as being provisional
and being anti-realist in the sense that, we cannot ever have a complete understanding
of reality. All we can have really our representations. So, all this is towards social policy, towards
making cultural social policies and social reform. So, culture studies definitely have as a part
of his methodology and scope, a deeply political commitment and the commitment is that, we
re-describe things. We talk about power presentation and identity
etcetera in not simply as a linguistic exercise. This is what many people, many critics of
cultural studies perhaps in mistake, make this mistake of understanding cultural studies
only talking about, only for verify this course where we keep re-describing things and talk
about everything as having no foundations, that is not at all the point. Cultural studies has as part of with scope
a very powerful aspect and that is showing, unraveling the politics, the workings of politics
in culture of power and culture and to help devise policies that would contribute to cultural
and social reform. So, I would end with finally with again one
of the very important words and cultural studies and that this discourse. We found that cultural studies, we found through
Barker that cultural studies may also be called the discursive formation ways of speaking. So, discourses therefore, in cultural studies
are objects. They are structured systems and structuring
systems, discourses are ideological systems and discourses are texts that can be decoded
by us. So, if everything is a way of speaking then;
obviously, these are very powerful objects. They are highly structured objects. They are also of these they structure us as
cultural beings. they are filled with ideology always all thinking
and that is why the understanding of discourse and we have, in fact, the whole lecture devoted
to discourse where we shall be looking at discourse in detail, but that this level it
is important for us to understand that discourse is important because the discourse enables
power. Let us look at this slide, discourse enables
power, discourse creates power and with power, we find that power can give us justifications. Power can give us justifications that finally
go on to become truths. Power through discourse can give us meaning,
power gives us morality and power describes and power determines our practices. So, what are the therefore, what are the terms
that make up the scope of cultural studies. First we found that we cannot make a clear
distinction, we are not to make a clear distinction between what is natural and what is cultural. We are biological beings and the cultural
beings and the best way to understand ourselves as part and parcel being part and parcel of
culture is from a bicultural perspective. Then we also saw that cultural studies is
essentially formations of discourse and there we found that we cannot ever claim truly or
purely objectivist or purely objective understanding of reality. Cultural forms that is constructed by human
beings who are themselves part of cultural practices and ways of life, cultural forms
are subjective forms. Therefore, subject forms culture is to do
with representations, with the effects of representations. It is mediated through language, it is mediated
through discourse and behind dominant cultural practices are issues of power and politics. Finally, we saw that cultural studies is not
simply talking about things in different ways and re-describing things. Cultural studies has as its goal, its goal
is a political environment in the sense that, it seeks to finally contribute to social reform
and to better cultural policies simply by using their findings as they make the find
out how meaning is constructed, how discourse have formed, how discourses and representations
have power to make this world a better place by showing how inequality operates because
of misrepresentation for instance. How media forms again for instance, instantiate
certain ways, certain definitions for instance of being a woman in society, of being a good
mother for instance. All of these are matters of power and representations
and this essentially is brought about by certain practices of meaning formation. So, how meaning is constructed, how meaning
operates in culture in our ways of life, how significance comes in. In fact, Clifford Gates defines culture as
the webs of the significance that have been spun by us, that have spun by man in which
we are all suspended. So, it is important for us therefore, as being
as culture beings to see how we are constituted. What are the descriptions that we go by, what
are the descriptions that we abide by. And in doing so, we help processes in cultural
policy in trying to devise better ways of living better descriptions, more fair descriptions
and also lead to better ways of really living more encompassing ways of living. What we have done in this lecture is, we have
tried to understand cultural studies by pointing to some or pointing at some of its constituent
terms and some of its articulation and all this would be unpacked so in the lectures
to come. So, we end with quotation again from Chris
Barker and with we know Chris Barker’s texts Cultural Studies Theory and Practice is text
that you put it, take up as text book really for this course. And Barker says here, the forms of power that
cultural studies explores our diverse member, Cultural studies targets power, the forms
of power that cultural studies explores our diverse and include gender, race, class, colonialism
etcetera. Cultural studies seek to explore the connections
between these forms of power and develop ways of thinking about culture and power that can
be utilized by agent in the pursuit of change. So, if anyone says that a cultural study is
really rarified, only discursive linguistic exercises and they are utterly wrong. Because all these investigations are really
as Barker says here, to be used by us in the pursuit of social change and of cultural and
political change. So, we move on then to the discussion and
for our first question here is, why are subjectivity and identity centered concerns in cultural
studies? Subjectivity is a central concern in cultural
studies because everything in the cultural form is seen is really as subjective form
in an individual or collective sense and the study of subjectivity is important because
subjectivity is what it is a condition, it forms a condition by which we are formed as
persons, by which we are understand ourselves as human beings. Then subjectivity also is important as key
term in cultural studies because subjectivity really are the processes or other some subjectivity
comprises the processes that go into the construction of ourselves as human beings, as cultural
beings as knowing being. Finally, the subjectivity about the experience
of being a person, all these are cultural constructions and how we are made subjects. Remember in the first lecture, I have said
that, if you have a question like why do we live the kind of life that live, in cultural
studies, we need to reformulate this as how are we constructed as subjects. So, we are essentially then, in cultural studies
subjects, we are agents and how our subjectivity has been formed. This should be one of the first questions
we ask in cultural studies. Then, identity is again important identity
visa we subjectivity is, are you a life or experiences and the processes that go into. Identity is seen by many at least in distinction
to the subjectivity as a social label that is given to us. So, identity, the study of identity, is immensely
important as a scope, as a part of the scope in cultural studies because his identities
tied to issues of class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, race; in that we use phrases like
racial, identity are ethnic identity, our class identity, our sexual identity and our
gender identity. These also are part and parcel of the labors
that are given to us in our in cultural practices. So, how we are formed as beings in culture. Subjectivity and identity are the key areas
that we need to explore, if we have to understand ourselves as culture beings. Next question, how do cultural studies problematise
common sense? And we saw that common sense is not exactly
be considered sensible in cultural studies, and common sense we found is spontaneous,
too spontaneously you would say, and unconscious. When things are spontaneous and unconscious
and we considered these to be not well thought out and we consider these with part and parcel
of tools of ideology or the tools of the workings of power. So, cultural studies also look at common sense,
the whole idea of common sense and tries to in fact, towards Hall in one of his saying
that, we have to look at the so called common sensical practices and to see what goes behind
making something matter of common sense. And we will see that their issues of power
and politics and ideology behind things that are considered common sensical. Therefore, common sense is tied to ideology
basically two dominant forms of ideology and we described ideology as ideas, doctrines,
consciousness, world view and maps of meaning. Now, again we may unpack this further and
we can say that power is about naming things and making those names stick though descriptions
stick. Power is what gives rise to common sense and
official versions and power is for legitimize all these things, the descriptions that you
give, the common sense knowledge and official versions are all workings of power and these
need to be scrutinized if these have to be dismantled. Then finally, why it is important to study
discourse in Cultural Studies? Remember, Cultural Studies itself is defined
by Chris Barker as discursive formation of ways of speaking. This is important that we need to look at
discourse and discourse forms are important part of the scope of cultural studies in that,
discourse creates power. Discourse creates power and discourse and
power give us what we understand and accept as truth, whereas we say in cultural studies
that there is no objective truth. All forms of knowledge are subjective. Then power gives us meaning, gives us descriptions,
power gives us our practices and power finally gives us our morality. So, remember cultural studies see everything
as representations is representation if cultural studies are everything as provisional. And this is very flexibility of knowledge
in cultural studies that ultimately opens doors to social and cultural change. Remember habits of thinking, this is what
is sort to be dismantled by cultural studies in a bit for social and cultural change. So, we come to the end of the second lecture
and I hope you have been able to at least have a grasp, to begin with, of some of the
terms in discourse, power points for instance, representation, ideology, subjectivity, identity
and the fact that cultural studies is a domain that is, that has as one of its goals, political
change in society towards leading to better way of living. And more so as individuals, we understand
how we are constructed. Remember again, I leave with a mega question,
why do we live the kind of lives that we live, if already by now I hope, had some idea in
the sense that, why we live the kind of lives we live are really matters to do with subjectivity,
to do with identity, to do with power, representation and discourse among other key terms. So, we shall meet in the next lecture. And then I said, the next cluster of lectures
in this module would be devoted to and understanding of ourselves as cultural beings from the point
of view of what science has to tell us. Remember, we are not going to make a distinction
between a nature and culture here. We are also beings of nature and the way we
are described as natural beings is also a matter of language. At the same time, we have, we share and as
cultural beings, all of us share evolutionary lineage which has given rise to a certain
mind. And culture has been there, created by the
mind which itself has changed with the changes in brain. So, we need to look at evolution, we need
to look at evolutionary psychology, we need to look at how the brain has changed for instance. So, I shall see you in the next class when
we begin to talk about Darwinian evolution. Thank you.

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