Reading against the grain: Examining the status of the categories of class and tradition in the scholarship of British cultural studies in light of contemporary popular culture and literature

Cameron McCarthy, Jennifer Logue

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This article addresses the turbulent relationship that British cultural studies scholars have with the concepts of 'class' and 'tradition' and the problematic status of these key terms within the cultural studies literature. The authors maintain, in part, that these concepts have been deployed within a center-periphery thesis and a field-bound ethnographic framework by cultural studies scholars pursuing a sub-cultural studies approach. Within this framework, 'Britishness' has been the silent organizing principle defining metropolitan working-class traditions and forms of cultural resistance. British cultural studies proponents have therefore pursued the study of class and culture as a localized, nation-bound set of interests. This has placed cultural studies in tension with postcolonial subjectivities. The authors write against the grain of the textual production of the working class within cultural studies scholarship, insisting that recent films and literary works offer a more complex story of class identities in the age of globalization and transnationalism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-160
Number of pages16
JournalPolicy Futures in Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 20 2009


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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