1. Kellner says cultural studies tries to avoid cutting the field of culture into just ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture, or ‘popular’ against ‘unpopular’. This seems reasonable considering that culture often involves many layers of subcultures. What I don’t understand is the distinction between ‘high and popular’ and ‘low and unpopular’. If I understood the article correctly, it seemed to me that ‘high’ and ‘popular’ weren’t meant for same concept. So does popular culture become ‘high’ culture by default? Or can high culture be completely opposite of popular culture?
2. To me, Kellner’s “Cultural Studies, Multiculturalism and Media Culture” sounds somewhat ideological. For example, he says “cultural studies allow us to examine and critically scrutinize the whole range of culture without prior prejudices toward one or another sort of cultural text, institution, or practice” (Kellner, p.2). I am skeptical about this vague statement. In my opinion, it is impossible to examine culture without prior prejudices. Everyone has some kind of prejudice toward certain culture. As human beings, researchers are no exception to this. Also, results of cultural studies might enhance stereotypes of races, gender and culture by confirming it. So how is disregarding cultural prejudice even possible?
3. Stuart Hall in his “Cultural Studies and Its Theoretical Legacies” talks about feminism as one of the ‘interruption’ that hindered cultural studies at that time. Feminism tries to explain women’s position by examining power struggle and social expectation within cultural context, so I suppose feminism was a big disturbance to deal with for the cultural studies researchers. Hall makes a metaphor of feminism as a ‘thief who broke into cultural studies.’ However, if we think back now, feminism is what made cultural studies even more powerful, relevant and famous. It might have been a thief before, but now feminism is one of the major contributors in the field of cultural studies. In my opinion, feminism ended up serving cultural studies better than worse. What do you all think?
4. I have no doubt. Media are pioneers to form a culture. However, I think the researches in this field seem to overestimate power of media to affect cultural stereotypes and hegemony. Perhaps, it’s our stereotype toward certain race, gender, age that led media to depict people as it is today, not vice versa. Well, this is more of the famous chicken-egg question, but I think it’s possible that we as people affect media’s coverage more on certain groups of people than media affects us.
5. This is a continuous question that sprung from the previous question. At the end of Kellner’s article, he warns us that people today tend to think audience is active. “They clam that all audience produce their own meanings and deny that media culture many have powerful manipulative effects” (Kellner, p.9). His exact phrase is not to “romanticize the active audience.” Of course there are passive audiences, but isn’t audiences more of active figures nowadays? People no longer watch or read what is presented to them. They ‘select’ what they want to watch, read and listen by going online. Media has powerful manipulative effects by no doubt. I just think the power is not as strong as it was because audience today became more active over the past decade.