Media and Cultural Studies

  • Bob Lumley
  • Michael O’Shaughnessey


Today it is not surprising that there should be degree and other courses in media, film, television and cultural studies. Yet behind these developments lies an ongoing history of conflicts over what can legitimately be called ‘culture’. The setting up within the educational system of courses on media and cultural studies marks the recognition that it is not just Fine Art or Literature that constitute the ‘cultural’ in society. Left-wing intellectuals and Marxist ideas have played an important role in achieving this change in attitude. The contributions coming from these have not only entailed a positive assessment of the possibilities of the television age, but have also developed a radical politics. The campaign to broaden definitions of culture to include ‘ways of life’ has often been linked to struggles for a more democratic and egalitarian society. From this point of view, the problem has not been to make Culture more accessible to the people (in the manner of Mathew Arnold or Lord Reith), but to redefine ‘culture’ in order to valorise and explain areas of experience and meaning previously discounted within educational, broadcasting and other institutions (Williams, 1971, pp. 9–15; Mulhern, 1980). As will be shown, this led to important debates on the meaning of the term ‘popular culture’.


Political Economy Cultural Study Popular Culture Cultural Form Cultural Theory 
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Copyright information

© Zygmunt G. Barański and John R. Short 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bob Lumley
  • Michael O’Shaughnessey

There are no affiliations available

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