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Posted on April 29th, 2014, by

This paper presents the information on cultural studies, as well as answers the questions concerning the materials from Graeme Turner’s British cultural studies.

Cultural studies is the branch of social sciences that studies culture and the most common patterns of its development. The objectives include as follows: understanding culture as a holistic phenomenon, identifying the most general laws of its functioning, as well as analyzing the cultural phenomenon as a whole system. Nowadays, the notion of cultural studies is commonly described as the name for a number of important theories and practices dealing with social and human sciences.

Talking about the characteristics of the field of cultural studies, it is possible to say that the field is considered to be devoted to the notion that the research and analysis of cultural processes and, in particular popular culture, is seen as essential and useful, as well as theoretically and politically indispensable. Since the field has now received recognition for many ”˜achievements’, it became the formation that is very difficult to define.

Observing the information on the images such as the two photos of Afghani President, Hamid Karzai, Graeme Turner suggests that we read the images with the help of the codes, discourses, signs. ”˜If your image of the typical Afghanistan male is still a turban-wearing, Kalashnikov-toting, cave-dwelling scruff, prepare to be dazzled by Hamid Karzai, the world’s best-dressed warlord.’ No doubt that the Prime Minister of Afghanistan is considered to be a media sensation ”˜with his neatly cropped salt-and-pepper beard, sumptuous silk capes and jaunty hats.’ (qtd. in Jackson 12).

In addition, a set of intertextual contrasts must be taken into account. For instance, compared with the Taliban representatives, who wear a turban, long beard, etc., Karzai’s appearance is quite westernized (influenced by a culture for a specific period of time).

Culture is understandable as a human activity associated with self-expression (a religious cult, imitation) of a person, a manifestation of his subjectivity (the character, competence, skills and knowledge).  What people eat, drink, wear, cook, our everyday activities, such as shopping or cleaning, etc. attracted the attention of cultural investigators.

Tradition ”˜Britishness’ is customs, experiences, attitudes, tastes, standards of conduct, well-established views, accepted norms, etc. that were formed historically and passed from generation to generation.

As for the early cultural studies scholars such as Williams, Hoggart, and Thompson and how they differ from their predecessors, Matthew Arnold and F. R. Leavis, it should be said that Arnold and Leavis saw the ”˜tradition’ as a tool for modern social issues and problems (they stated that culture and democracy are opposite notions).  Like Arnold, Leavis emphasized that democracy and culture are opposed to each other. Moreover, both considered literature to be a major source of moral values. Leavis has prepared a guide to cultural studies for the teachers and students, as well as a list of various exercises and different essay topics. In turn, Raymond Williams, E.P. Thompson, and Richard Hoggart paid their specific attention to the issue of ”˜culture’ in a class-based society.  Williams gave a broad definition of ”˜culture,’ which contains ”˜high’ and ”˜mass’ cultures and admitted that people should take a complex approach to the analysis and research of culture. Hoggart focused on the culture of his youth, showing the working-class attitudes to politics, poverty, religion, etc. In return, Thompson described the cultural and political emergence of the English working-class.

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