Children display Chinese Characters

Cultural Studies

In Cultural Studies, 'culture' is understood very broadly, but with a strong emphasis on local everyday life. Cultural Studies does not follow traditional distinctions between 'high' and 'low' culture; a Radiohead video becomes a significant cultural text alongside, say, a classical opera. Cultural Studies looks at many cultural forms which have often been ignored by universities: advertising, media, music, fashion, sport and leisure are shown to be extremely powerful political forces in shaping our societies and our identities.

Cultural Studies means studying culture - but from particular angles

A lot of attention is paid to contemporary theories of culture, including questions of how culture is produced, how we use and interpret culture, how culture can be preserved, destroyed, or changed, how our sense of identity merges with our culture, and what is happening to culture in the new world of commodity circulation, communications and information technologies, and globalisation.

'Culture' is understood in a very broad sense, including all the social processes of everyday life. Cultural Studies questions traditional distinctions between 'high' and 'low' culture, and shows that everyday life may be the object of complex and significant analysis. Many cultural forms which have often been ignored by universities become prominent here: advertising, media, music, fashion, sport and leisure are shown to be extremely powerful political forces in shaping our societies and our identities.

In Australian, American, and European universities where Cultural Studies has developed hugely in the last two decades, one of its central strengths is seen to be its cross-disciplinarity, that is, the way that it draws on the perspectives, methods, and theories of numerous fields of study. The idea is not to reduce culture to something simple and unified, but to appreciate its complexity. The programme being developed at Canterbury draws on more than fifteen participating programmes-most of the Faculty of Arts!

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