preface to the lectures by stuart hall,
1988
The history of Cultural Studies and the terms in which it is presented
here overlap in part with my own biography. I am giving the story as I
understand it. This obviously has both advantages and disadvantages.
On the one hand, I know the story quite well; on the other hand, I’m
addicted to a par ticular version of it. I will not, in what follows, attempt
to offer a survey of cultural theories in general. There is no point in even
trying, as if I could, to cover the whole field. What I want to talk about
is the evolution of theoretical work in the field of Cultural Studies as I
have experienced it. Cultural Studies has evolved in England in a par ticu-
lar way. I will outline that way, speaking as it were out of my own experi-
ence. But by speaking analytically and conceptually about this history,
without offering that experience as the last word in Cultural Studies, I
hope to bring forward concepts from that tradition which might be of
use to other traditions or in relation to concrete interests other than
those which defined the par ticular British evolution. Hence, the title
Cultural Studies 1983: A Theoretical History. These lectures are meant to
provide a history of the theoretical under pinnings of Cultural Studies,
but at the same time they try to recognise and acknowledge the perspec-
tive they take on that history, a perspective defined in part by my own
theoretical position as it has evolved; thus it is of necessity something of
an idealised— theoretical, as it were—history.
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