This book represents a distinctive approach to cultural analysis, using multi-dimensional methods for addressing issues of public interest. The approach, which deploys Jim McGuigan's original concept of the cultural public sphere, is demonstrated in several case studies, including:
- Celebrity death Festivals and urban regeneration
- Race and multicultural controversy
- Popular television (for instance, Little Britain and The Apprentice)
- Social significance of the all-purpose mobile communication device in a privatized and individualized way of life
- Riskiness and uncertainty at both the levels of environmental politics and working life in the creative and media industries
These various case studies are analyzed with regard to the dialectic of production and consumption in cultural circulation and situated in relation to major issues of social change. The book stresses the impact of neoliberalism throughout the world since the 1970s and the formation of a cool-capitalist culture that has colonized everyday life around much of the globe. In effect, this is a radical intervention in the research agendas and conceptual development of cultural policy studies, cultural sociology, and, more generally, in the broad field known as cultural studies. It offers challenging theoretical arguments that are substantiated with concrete evidence of cultural and social processes.
Chapter 10: Cultural Studies and Cool Capitalism
Cultural Studies and Cool Capitalism
This chapter traces various trajectories of development in the field of Cultural Studies, identifying five in particular: theoreticism, methodism, pragmatism, subjectivism and consumerism.
The chapter concentrates on the consumerist trajectory as it emerged in Britain. While the phrases ‘the Birmingham School’ and ‘British Cultural Studies’ have been used to label this trajectory, it is more accurately named ‘Hallian Cultural Studies’ since Stuart Hall was its leading exponent and inspiration. Hall himself, however, is not necessarily responsible for the problems associated with the consumerist trajectory in the work of his followers.
There is a discernible homology and, indeed, to an extent, a convergence between consumerist Cultural Studies and the neoliberal ideology of consumer sovereignty, which incorporates signs of disaffection ...