Cultural Studies: Making Ignorable VisibleNazife Güngör
This essay discusses cultural studies, which are known as an important academic and intellectual tradition of the 20th century that paved the way for the development of an academic discourse and different way of thinking from the usual ones. As such, cultural studies focus on what had been left out of the official scientific perspective and discourse. Focusing on the phenomenon of culture, cultural studies deal with what had hitherto been ignored by the dominant scientific and intellectual paradigm, which had only been concerned with the dominant [PE2] segments of society. Cultural studies were formed as an intellectual and scientific tradition alternative to this dominant paradigm. The lifestyles as well as the cultural and artistic productions of the oppressed sections of society and ordinary people became the primary interests of the school of cultural studies. Marxist thought can be said to have had an important impact on how the tradition of cultural studies formed. The critical philosophical tradition of the West was additionally significantly influential in how the intellectual tradition of these cultural studies formed. Meanwhile, the tradition of cultural studies had in fact also taken something from almost all scientific disciplines and therefore had gained an interdisciplinary character. Richard Hoggart, Raymond Williams, and Stuart Hall were among the founders of the school of cultural studies, which became institutionalized as the Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies within the University of Birmingham in 1964. The school of cultural studies focuses on such subjects as ethnicity, race, working class, youth subcultures, women, ideology, popular culture, and media. Very original theories and methods have been developed within the tradition of cultural studies, so much so that the theories, concepts, and methods that have been developed in cultural studies can be considered important contributions to today’s scientific and academic studies. Discourse analyses and reception analyses in particular are important methodological contributions in this sense.
Kültürel Çalışmalar: Görmezden Gelinenin Görünür KılınmasıNazife Güngör
Bu yazıda, yirminci yüzyılın önemli bir akademik ve düşünsel geleneği olarak bilinen kültürel çalışmalar ele alınmaktadır. Bu gelenek bilindik olanlardan farklı bir akademik söylem tarzının ve düşünüş biçiminin gelişmesine önayak oldu. Bu yanıyla kültürel çalışmalar, resmi bilimsel perspektifin ve söylemin dışında bırakılana odaklandı. Merkezine kültür olgusunu koyan kültürel çalışmalar o zamana kadar egemen bilimsel ve düşünsel paradigma tarafından görmezden gelinenle ilgilendi. Egemen bilimsel ve düşünsel paradigmanın ilgi alanı toplumun egemen kesimleriyle sınırlıydı. Kültürel çalışmalar bu egemen paradigmaya alternatif nitelikte bir düşünsel ve bilimsel gelenek olarak ortaya çıktı. Toplumdaki ezilen kesimlerin, sıradan insanların yaşam tarzı, kültürel ve sanatsal üretimleri kültürel çalışmalar okulunun öncelikli ilgi alanı oldu. Kültürel çalışmalar geleneğinin oluşmasında Marksist düşüncenin önemli bir etkisi olduğu söylenebilir. Onun yanı sıra Batının eleştirel felsefe geleneği de kültürel çalışmalar düşünsel geleneğinin oluşmasında önemli ölçüde etkili olmuştur. Ama şurası da bir gerçektir ki kültürel çalışmalar geleneği hemen hemen bütün bilimsel disiplinlerden beslenmiştir ve bu nedenle de interdisipliner bir karaktere sahiptir. 1964 yılında İngiltere’de Birmingham Üniversitesi bünyesinde Çağdaş Kültürel Çalışmalar Merkezi adıyla kurumsal bir yapıya kavuşan kültürel çalışmalar okulunun kurucuları arasında Richard Hoggart, Raymond Williams ve Stuart Hall yer alır. Kültürel çalışmalar okulu etniklik, ırk, işçi sınıfı, gençlik alt kültürleri, kadın, ideoloji, popüler kültür, medya gibi konular üzerinde yoğunlaşır. Kültürel çalışmalar geleneği içerisinde oldukça özgün kuramlar ve yöntemler geliştirilir. Öyle ki kültürel çalışmalar içerisinde gelişen kuramlar, kavramlar ve yöntemler günümüzün bilimsel ve akademik çalışmaları açısından önemli katkılar olarak değerlendirilebilir. Özellikle de söylem çözümlemesi ve alımlama çözümlemesi bu anlamda önemli yöntembilimsel katkılardır.
Cultural studies have emerged as an interdisciplinary academic tradition, and its founders include thinkers such as Richard Hoggart, Raymond Williams, and Stuart Hall. The Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies was founded as a school in 1964 at the University of Birmingham in England. The Center’s main areas of interest involve such topics as ethnicity, race, women’s studies, working class studies, environmental studies, media studies, and popular culture studies. The Center focuses in particular on examining the cultures and lifestyles of the oppressed segments of society. Cultural studies are known as a scientific and intellectual tradition that developed as an alternative to the dominant paradigm. The thinkers behind cultural studies had been inspired by Marxism, due in particular to their concerns for those oppressed in society. The tradition of cultural studies was also nurtured by philosophers such as Hegel and Kant. In fact, cultural studies were influenced by many disciplines and therefore has gained an interdisciplinary character. Cultural studies also developed their own methods and theories, with discourse analyses and reception analyses being among these. In addition, concepts such as ethnicity, race, popular culture, feminism, and subculture have formed the theoretical basis of cultural studies. However, cultural studies also use almost all the same qualitative methods used by other scientific disciplines, especially the social sciences.
Cultural studies are an intellectual/academic formation that was developed to examine humans and human culture in connection with the functioning of social systems. The formation of the tradition of cultural studies took place under the leadership of a group of British Marxist intellectuals. Cultural studies emerged at a time when the world, especially the Western world, was on the verge of a new socioeconomic and political renewal, and these studies became an alternative to the dominant scientific paradigms. The social segments that are excluded by the dominant paradigms constitute cultural studies’ primary area of interest. Thinkers who for centuries had always looked from the same perspective were unable to pass beyond repeating themselves. However, other perspectives would allow different things to be seen. Cultural studies have dealt with the oppressed segments, the laborers, the poor, and the ordinary people to whom the dominant paradigm had looked as being external.
With the emergence of intellectuals from other segments of society such as poor families and the working class, developing perspectives that are able to view and evaluate people and society from another perspective has become possible. Therefore, cultural studies have been shaped as an intellectual and academic field in which “the other” is taken into account. The social segments such as the poor, laborers, slaves, blacks, various ethnic groups, and youth subcultures that had ignored by the dominant paradigm and were not felt to be worth examining thus entered the field of cultural studies. E. P. Thompson’s extensive studies on the English working class are of great importance in this respect. Richard Hoggart’s studies on working-class culture are equally important. The role that Raymond Williams’ studies have had on culture and popular culture has been very important in how the tradition of cultural studies formed. Williams developed the concept of the culture of the ordinary people, which is particularly important in this sense. Stuart Hall’s studies on ethnicity and racism were also of particular importance in shaping the format of cultural studies. Angela McRobbie’s research on youth subcultures also has an important place in cultural studies. Therefore, looking at society and people from different perspectives became possible with the theories, concepts, and methods that have been developed within cultural studies. Another point requiring emphasis is that cultural studies have been shaped by the various subjects and understandings in different academic environments. Thus, cultural studies can also be said to have been shaped according to the intellectual and academic environment in which they’ve taken place. This essay discusses the emergence, development, and current status of the tradition of cultural studies along these main lines, with additional emphasis on the spread of cultural studies in the world and in Turkey.