The Frankfurt School and British Cultural Studies: The Missed Articulation

For some decades now, British cultural studies has tended to either disregard or caricature in a hostile manner the critique of mass culture developed by the Frankfurt school. [1] The Frankfurt school has been repeatedly stigmatized as elitist and reductionist, or simply ignored in discussion of the methods and enterprise of cultural studies. This is an unfortunate oversight as I will argue that despite some significant differences in method and approach, there are also many shared positions that make dialogue between the traditions productive. Likewise, articulation of the differences and divergences of the two traditions could be fruitful since, as I will argue, both traditions to some extent overcome the weaknesses and limitations of the other. Consequently, articulation of their positions could produce new perspectives that might contribute to developing a more robust cultural studies. Thus, I will argue that rather than being antithetical, the Frankfurt school and British cultural studies approaches complement each other and can be articulated in new configurations
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