Cultural studies and Africa: excavating the subject-matter.
Tomaselli, Keyan Gray.
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This article examines some of the issues arising from the proliferation of cultural studies as a form of national-identity research. Looking at the case of the recent rise of culture studies in South Africa, we examine how certain items of received wisdom about cultural studies have obscured some of the academic dynamics that have actually driven the growth of cultural studies. In contrast with some of these aspects we consider cultural studies as a form of inquiry, driven by the reality of its subject-matter, and review some of the normative concepts that govern the communication of research findings. Based on C.S. Peirce's pragmatic conception of the logic of scientific communication, and on pragmatic trends arising among African writers like D.A. Masolo and Kwasi Wiredu, we consider just what has become the subject-matter of cultural studies. We offer an alternate formulation based in communication practice and provide an example of how this was presented in conference on the African Renaissance. We conclude with suggestions about how cultural studies might recover Its original radical democratic impetus in a world where socialism has lost much of its intellectual integrity.
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