Questions of Cultural Identity


Edited by: Stuart Hall & Paul du Gay

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    Notes on Contributors

    Zygmunt Bauman is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Leeds. His recent publications include: Mortality, Immortality & Other Life Strategies (Polity), Postmodern Ethics (Blackwell) and Life in Fragments (Blackwell).

    Homi K. Bhabha is a Professor of English at the University of Chicago. His publications include: The Location of Culture (1994).

    James Donald is Reader in Media Studies at the University of Sussex. His recent publications include: Sentimental Education (Verso), and the co-edited collections Race, Culture & Difference (Sage), and Space and Place (Lawrence and Wishart). He has edited the journals Screen Education and New Formations.

    Paul du Gay is Lecturer in Sociology and Secretary of the Pavis Centre for Sociological and Social Anthropological Studies at the Open University. He is the author of Consumption and Identity at Work (Sage, 1996).

    Simon Frith is Professor of English and Co-Director of the John Logie Baird Centre at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. His latest book is Performing Rites: the Value of Popular Music (Harvard, 1996).

    Lawrence Grossberg is the Morris Davis Professor of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is editor of the international journal Cultural Studies. His most recent publications include: We Gotta Get Out of This Place: Popular Conservatism and Postmodern Culture, Dancing in Spite of Myself: Essays in Cultural Studies (forthcoming) and ‘It's a Sin’ and Other Essays on Popular Culture and Postmodernity (forthcoming).

    Stuart Hall is Professor of Sociology at the Open University. He has written widely in the areas of culture, politics and race. His recent publications include Formations of Modernity (1992) and Modernity and its Futures (1992).

    Kevin Robins is Professor of Cultural Geography at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and a researcher in the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies. He is the author of Geografia dei Media (Baskerville, 1993) and, with David Morley, of Spaces of Identity (Routledge, 1995).

    Nikolas Rose is Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths College, University of London. He is the author of The Psychological Complex (Routledge, 1985), Governing the Soul (Routledge, 1990) and Inventing Our Selves (Cambridge, 1996). His current research is on changing rationalities and technologies of political power and the government of conduct.

    Marilyn Strathern is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. The Gender of the Gift (1988) is a critique of anthropological theories of society and gender relations as they have been applied to Melanesia, while After Nature: English Kinship in the Late Twentieth Century (1992) comments on the cultural revolution at home. Her most recent publication is the co-authored Technologies of Procreation (1993).


    The chapters in this volume originated in a series of seminars organized by the Sociology Research Group at the Open University as part of its 1993–94 research theme ‘Cultural Identities’. The aim of the seminar series was to examine why questions of cultural identity have acquired increasing visibility and salience in recent years in social and cultural theory as well as in a number of different fields of research in the social sciences, cultural studies and the humanities. Bringing together contributions from different disciplines and theoretical traditions this collection aims both to illuminate and to move forward debates about ‘cultural identity’ and their meaning in contemporary social formations.

    The Introduction to the volume identifies some of the main themes explored in the chapters that follow as well as offering explanations of its own as to why the question of identity has emerged in so compelling and at the same time so deconstructed and decentred a form. However, neither the Introduction nor the volume as a whole lays claim to providing a ‘complete’ account, even in schematic form. Nor should readers expect to find complete agreement amongst the contributors. Rather, the collection aims to open up a wide range of significant questions and possible lines of analysis.

    We would like to thank everybody who contributed to the seminar series, particularly Henrie Lidchi who helped substantially in its organization and smooth running and Kenneth Thompson who chaired a number of sessions. Our thanks also to the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Open University whose financial support enabled the series to take place.

    Finally, the chapter authors have borne stoically the successive rounds of alterations and amendments. Our thanks to them and to Pauline Turner for her marvellous secretarial support throughout the production process.

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