n Communicatio : South African Journal of Communication Theory and Research - Cultural studies as 'psycho-babble'. Post-LitCrit, methodology and dynamic justice

Volume 27, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0250-0167



Methodology, policy and the turn to post-LitCrit, are both strengths and weaknesses in cultural studies. As strengths, they have freed the field from the tyranny of quantitative methods and a deterministic positivism; but they are simultaneously weaknesses, in that cultural studies now exhibits an ambiguous relation to the 'material' - to contexts. Texts are disarticulated from contexts in the post-LitCrit 'tradition'. The consequences of inapplicable appropriations of cultural studies are now seen in regressive applications supposedly couched within the democratising imperative that was once the of the field. This study examines the consequences of the loss of the 'material' from certain inflections of cultural studies. Reports of the South African Human Rights Commission into Racism and the Media constitutes my case study. Using the concept of dynamic justice, I propose a return to context based on evaluative criteria rooted in the human condition. Instead of 'Texts', or even 'class consciousness', I argue that the principal contextual criteria for cultural studies research could be based on the socio-political value ideas of Freedom and Life Chances.

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