Out in the Open: Reflections on the History and Practice of Cultural Studies

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Bennett, T
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1996
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This essay addresses the institutional conditions of cultural studies, especially those bearing on cultural studies teaching. It does so by reviewing the history of the Open University Popular Culture course from an insider's perspective. Whereas most published accounts of this course have related it closely to the concerns of the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, this essay suggests that the two projects — while overlapping in certain respects — are more usefully thought of as distinct. Having disentangled the history of the Open University course from that of the Birmingham Centre, the author goes on to advance a more general argument concerning the politics and practice of cultural studies pedagogy. The essay's main contention in this regard is that a conception of cultural studies teaching which connects it to the cultivation of resistive practices in the classroom is incoherent. It is suggested that this now influential current of thought is best assessed as a negative outcome of the encounter between the projects of cultural studies and US liberationist philosophy.

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Cultural Studies

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10

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1

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Built environment and design

Sociology

Communication and media studies

Cultural studies

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