[csaa-forum] Conformist and lacking critical force

Melissa Gregg m.gregg at uq.edu.au
Fri Aug 26 13:33:24 CST 2005

In the lead up to our first meeting at QUT's Creative Industries 
Precinct on Friday September 9, the Brisbane-based Monthly Media and 
Cultural Studies (MACS) network 
(<http://cccs.uq.edu.au/index.html?page=22640&pid=21774>) would like to 
invite debate and feedback on the current state of Australian cultural 
studies and particularly how the Creative Industries paradigm fits 
within this discussion. As younger researchers inheriting these debates 
we are keen to discuss issues such as:

- disciplinarity: what it means (practically, ethically, conceptually) 
to do “media and cultural studies” within the CI paradigm
- opportunities for and the politics of academic labour for RHD 
students and Early Career Researchers in the context of the shift from 
individualistic “humanities” research to project/team-based approaches
- the changing research culture of Australian universities, especially 
the perceived incommensurability between "pragmatic" and "critical" 
approaches as evidenced in the following quotation:

"Nowadays Australian cultural studies is increasingly normalised, 
concentrating on cultural policy studies and, often uncritically, on 
popular culture and the media. Indeed it is in Australia that the 
celebration of popular culture as a liberating force… first took off 
through Fiske and Hartley’s contributions. The young populists of the 
seventies now hold senior posts and what was pathbreaking is becoming a 
norm. The readiness of a succession of Australian governments to 
encourage enterprise universities has empowered the old tertiary 
technical training departments in such areas as communications, 
allowing them to have an impact on more abstract and theorised cultural 
studies in ways that appear to have deprived the latter of critical 
force. Furthermore, the structure of research funding, which asks even 
young academics to apply for grants, has had a conformist effect. 
Perhaps Australian cultural studies offers us a glimpse of what the 
discipline would be like were it to become relatively hegemonic in the 

-Simon During, Cultural Studies: A Critical Introduction (2005) p.26

More details for the MACS forum will follow shortly, but in the 
meantime we are keen to use the CSAA-forum as a means to hear others' 
experiences and opinions on the topic so that a dialogue might take 
place around the actual event.

Melissa Gregg, Jean Burgess and Joshua Green

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