Studies & Degrees in British Culture
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British Cultural Studies is a comprehensive program that introduces students to the discipline of cultural studies as it was established in the British traditions. It takes into consideration different themes that have in one way or another have influenced cultural studies as it has been taught in Britain: language and semiotics, Marxism, the individual and subjectivity. As cultural studies is primarily concerned with the culture and customs of a certain group of people as well as the meaning they give to their actions, this particular cultural studies program would also deal with the everyday life, politics, ideology, gender and race of people and how these elements interrelate so as to exert much influence on their way of thinking and the way they do things.
British Cultural Studies would also tackle the history of cultural studies as it began in Britain during the 1960s when Richard Hoggart founded the Birmingham Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS). Hoggart himself is responsible for the term ‘cultural studies’ and it is through him that the Department of Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham was established. Said department had closed in 2002, but by then, the discipline was already established in many other colleges and universities. Since then, cultural studies have also moved from the primarily Marxist foundations that had played an important role in the analysis of the relationship between the economy, the process and objects of production and society itself. Nowadays, there is a shift of interest from the power behind the production of consumerables to the people themselves who buy these objects and the meaning that they attach to these objects.
On the other hand, it might also be said that a familiarity and understanding with contemporary British culture would be important for the student of British Cultural Studies to begin to appreciate the discipline better. There are of course many debates and issues concerning the contemporary culture of Britain that deal not only with the different aspects of their culture but also with the British identity in itself and how it has changed to accommodate for globalization. The British identity also allows for the different ideas of Britishness that the English, the Scottish, the Irish, the Welsh, the Asians and the Black British have formed among themselves. With this diversity of cultures, it would be safe to say that the scholar of British Cultural Studies would need to keep a logical and creative mind to be able to maintain a good critical focus on these differences in culture and how they interrelate. Another topic a student of this program might need to take into account is the interaction between the mainstream culture of the majority and the different subcultures and lifestyle groups at play in a place that can be said to be one of the melting pots of cultures of the world.
Students of British Cultural Studies now armed with an awareness of the interplay between culture, society, politics and economy can work as analysts for the program and project administrations of different companies. Another option would be to teach in colleges or universities or to write for journals.