[csaa-forum] Conformist and lacking critical force

Terry Flew t.flew at qut.edu.au
Fri Aug 26 15:59:18 CST 2005

Dear Mel, Jean, Josh and CSAA'ers

Another place which people may wish to go on the issues below is the 
special issue of Continuum (18:2, June 2004) edited by Mark Gibson and 
myself on cultural studies and the 'new humanism'. The dialogue between 
James Donald and myself in that issue, as well as Mark's introduction, may 
provide an interesting counterpoint to the quote you provide below. It may 
also be suffused with the perspective of the 'old tertiary technical 
training departments' that Simon During comments on in your earlier email. 
Anyway, very interested in the discussion.



At 02:03 PM 26/08/2005, you wrote:
>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 humanities."
>-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
>discussion list of the cultural studies association of australasia
>change your subscription details at 

More information about the csaa-forum mailing list