TAS 1.P Theory and Practice in Cultural Studies.

Teacher responsible:

Dr. Garry Robson, prof. UJ

Brief course description:

This programme offers an advanced grounding in the core themes of cultural studies and an opportunity to explore the development of the Cultural Studies paradigm and cutting-edge debates in the field. The course will, therefore, examine the ways in which ‘popular' cultural phenomena have been understood from a variety of theoretical perspectives. The focus of the course is on a critical engagement with the key thinkers and ideas in the field and the evaluation of their usefulness in understanding and interpreting students' own interests and everyday cultural experiences.   


Students will need to present a high degree of individual initiative as well as collaborative effort when conducting research to prepare their class presentations and written assignments. All this will encourage students' demonstration of a well-thought-out discussion strategy based on hierarchy of research priorities. The students will be required to present their opinions and research results on the class forum to the students of different backgrounds and nationalities. As such, this prepares students to present their strategies, priorities, and opinions on international, multicultural level


1. Introduction (overview of developments of intellectual and cultural values in different  traditions, introduction to contemporary cultural theory)

2. Anthropology, literary criticism, philosophy, science and technology studies as perspectives in cultural studies.

3. Philosophy and cross-cultural understanding, philosophical theory of culture and cultural criticism.

4.Anthropology and Popular Culture: is there Culture in mass culture?

5.The monolith of Culture: retooling modernism's Cultural categories.

6. Initial case study – Researching Class, Masculinity and Community.

7.The ‘Culture and Civilisation' and ‘Culturalist' approaches
Marxism, Ideology and the Frankfurt School.

8.Case study – Society and Subcultures in the UK.

9.Structuralism, Semiology, Post-Structuralism.

10.Modernism & Postmodernism


12.‘The Interpretation of Cultures'

13.Consumption & Lifestyles

14.‘Digital' and ‘Reality' Culture

15.Importance of narrative

16.Applicability of cultural theory for engaging
with the complexity of local and global conflicts and cultural differences.

Reading list:

Barthes, R., Mythologies
Campbell, J., The Hero With a Thousand Faces
Cuff, E.C et. al., Perspectives in Sociology
Eliade, M., Myth and Reality
Geertz, C., The Interpretation of Cultures
Jacobs, M D and Hanrahan, N W (eds) The Blackwelll Companion to the Sociology of Culture
Robson, G. No One Likes Us, We Don't Care: The Myth and Reality of Millwall Fandom
Rojek, C., Cultural Studies
Ryan, M. (ed), Cultural Studies: An Anthology
Scruton, S., Modern Culture
Smith, P and Riley, Cultural Theory: An Introduction
Spillman, L. (ed) Cultural Sociology
Strinati, D. An Introduction to Theories of Popular Culture
Thompson, E.P., The Making of the English Working Class