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The best thing about cultural studies is that it has no great investment in theoretical purity or conceptual blood lines. If as anything, it defines itself as a project or an interdisciplinary venture in which usually a number of the following concerns will play their part: a mixture of political engagement and an interest in culture, power, ideology and everyday life. Those practising cultural studies will also usually (but not necessarily) insist on the importance of location and historical circumstance. Cultural Studies too is the product of the 'located' history of its author: it is cultural studies as developed in continental Europe, influenced but not defined by British cultural studies, French post-structural philosophy and American communication studies, and coloured by author biases of second wave feminism. The result is an engaging, sometimes personal, even controversial account how cultural studies is best practiced. Although the examples given are relatively arbitrary, the way in which Hermes suggests they be used, is not. She will insist on the importance of a self-reflexive research practice to underlie theorisation of practices of meaning construction in everyday life. The goal of such theorisation is cultural critique. Although this book is aimed at academic discussion, the examples, methods and ideas it offers are meant to be taken further not only in academic but also more generally in discussion in the media and other public and more private fora.
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