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Would You Agree With The Statement That Studying Cultural Studies Can Be Described As A Political Act?

Cultural studies is an academic discipline combining political economy, sociology, society theory, literary theory, media theory, cultural anthropology, and art history to study cultural phenomena in industrial societies. In a bid to understand culture in terms of artistic and political merit, cultural studies researchers often concentrate on how a particular phenomenon relates to matters of ideology, race, social class, and/or gender. (Hall: 1992) In recent decades, this has involved interlinking political theory with culture studies. Encompassing a range of inquiries into visual, textual, popular, and sub-cultures, cultural studies is perhaps best captured by the words of Cohen and Arato, who describe it as "a location where the new politics of difference - racial, sexual, cultural, transnational - can combine and be articulated." (Cohen and Arato: 1992)

Cultural studies in itself focuses on the practices of individuals whether they be a form of dress, worship or job choice. It is only when these practices are undertaken by a number of people that the practice itself becomes part of a "culture" with a number of people pursuing the same form of lifestyle. From this a "cultural identity" is formed, ften distinguished by key factors such as race and social class. For example it could be argued that unwittingly, the low-income, mobile-home inhabiting, white working class culture of "white trash" has become so through cultural practices distinguished by the group as a whole. Therefore the group is termed by a phrase that refers to both race and social class.

William Connolly's compilation of a list designed to stimulate further pluralization gives a sense of this surplus of political possibilities posed by taking part in such cultural movements, including a micropolitics of action, a politics of disturbance, a politics of enactment. (Connolly: 1995) Instead of encouraging an accepted political standpoint, pluralization and the work of Connolly encourages people to develop their beliefs through a number of active pursuits such as demonstrating and campaigning. Grossberg, Nelson, and Treichler support this further by suggesting political analysis is needed within different cultures. Pluralization is thus an engaged process, one that looks for new paths and makes new links in the interests of opening up the political.

Generally speaking, cultural studies is associated primarily with the humanities, and shifting cultural movement, whereas most theory within political science is disciplined by the field's infatuation with formal modeling. It must also be remembered that a cultural identity is formed through generations of religion, media intake, interaction and immigration. Culture as a whole is formed through concrete markers that have signified it within a cultural context through history. Conversely, whereas culture is rooted in the past, political beliefs focus on moving forward, employing the pluralization methods of Connelly et al. In essence, the two are very different, but by studying identity, it is a means of communicating political beliefs on a more interactive level. Instead of being an aggressive political act, cultural studies has in itself become an act of communication, of willingness to understand. Therefore, in conclusion, studying culture as a whole is a form of political act, as it examines the emergence of these political beliefs. It is also worth noting that by studying the descendant of such dominant cultural identity - the sub-culture - the researcher may be able to establish the emergence of developing political beliefs, or indeed how it will be possible to address new and diverse beliefs to the dominant and parent culture. As a whole, studying culture whether dominant or sub-cultural, allows communication of new ideas within the cultural context, ultimately allowing the ideas to become more considered and accepted. With a rapidly dividing culture of religion, race and misunderstood generational gaps, studying culture may not just be a form of political act, it may be the ultimate political act for the future.

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