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31 Unmasking Class and Tradition

Questioning Recuperative History and Affiliation in Cultural Studies

1. Media History and the Foundations of Media Studies

3. Foundations

  1. Cameron McCarthy,
  2. Jennifer Logue

Published Online: 28 DEC 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781444361506.wbiems032

The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies

The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies

How to Cite

McCarthy, C. and Logue, J. 2012. Unmasking Class and Tradition. The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies. 1:3:31.

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 DEC 2012


Drawing on examples of cinematic and literary production, this chapter calls attention to the limitations of British cultural studies regarding topics on which the theorization of proponents has been long thought to be fundamentally secure. These topics are class and tradition. The chapter further maintains that the field-bound, ethnographic, and center–periphery paradigm that has fueled the subcultural studies approach to the working class of cultural studies has been overtaken by events associated with globalization in which culture is being separated from place and the long-held stable social identities associated with the working class are being disembedded. Now, identities have become more hybrid, and more coordinated across a plurality of styles, tastes, needs, interests, and organizational capacities. Working-class actors increasingly recuperate their identities in the domain of hyperconsumption rather than production. This is the era of the working class without work. Understanding this requires greater attention to the international division of labor and transnational and postcolonial perspectives.


  • Hebdige;
  • Willis;
  • Williams;
  • Thompson;
  • British Cultural Studies;
  • Race;
  • Colonialism;
  • Postcolonialism;
  • Representation;
  • Popular film