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Cultural Studies

Cultural Studies
Theory and Practice

Fifth Edition

August 2016 | 760 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
With over 40,000 copies sold, Cultural Studies: Theory and Practice has been the indispensable guide to studying culture for generations of students. Here is everything students need to know, with all the key concepts, theories and thinkers in one comprehensive, authoritative yet accessible resource.

Teaching students the foundations of cultural studies - from ideology, representation and discourse to audiences, subcultures and cultural policy - this revised edition:
  • Fully explores the ubiquity of digital media culture, helping readers analyse issues surrounding social mediasurveillance, cyber-activism and more
  • Introduces students to all the key thinkers they’ll encounter, from Stuart Hall and Michel Foucault to Judith Butler and Donna Haraway
  • Balances the classics with cutting edge theory, including case studies on e-commerce, the self-help industry, the transgender debate, and representations of race
  • Embraces popular culture in all of its diversity, from drag kings and gaming, to anime fandom and remix cultures
  • Is re-written throughout with a new co-author, making it a more enjoyable read than ever. 
Unmatched in coverage and used world-wide, this is the essential companion for all students of cultural studies, culture and society, media and cultural theory, popular culture and cultural sociology.

Chapter 1: An Introduction to Cultural Studies
Concerning this Book

The Parameters of Cultural Studies

Key Concepts in Cultural Studies

The Intellectual Strands of Cultural Studies

The New Cultural Studies Project

Central Problems in Cultural Studies

Questions of Methodology

Chapter 2: Questions of Culture and Ideology
Culture with a Capital C: The Great and the Good in the Literary Tradition

Culture is Ordinary

Richard Hoggart: The Uses of Literacy

Edward Thompson: The Making of the English Working Class

Raymond Williams and Cultural Materialism

High Culture/ Low Culture: Aesthetics and the Collapse of Boundaries

Culture and the Social Formation

The Question of Ideology

Chapter 3: Culture, Meaning, Knowledge: The Linguistic Turn in Cultural Studies
Barthes and Mythology

Derrida: Textuality and Differance

Foucault: Discourse, Practice and Power

Post-Marxism and the Discursive Construction of the 'Social'

Language and Psychoanalysis: Lacan

Language as Use: Wittgenstein and Rorty

Discourse and the Material

Chapter 4: Biology, the Body and Culture
The Problem of Reductionism

The Capabilities of Science

The Cultured Body

Genetic Engineering

The Evolved Body of Biology

Evolutionary Culture

Biology and Culture: The Case of Emotions

Meme Theory

Chapter 5: A New World Disorder?
Economy, Technology and Social Class


The State, Politics and New Social Movements

Chapter 6: Enter Postmodernism
Defining the Terms

Modernism and Culture

Modern and Postmodern Knowledge

The Promise of Postmodernism (or Modernity as an unfinished Project?)

Postmodern Culture

After Postmodernism

Chapter 7: Issues of Subjectivity and Identity
Subjectivity and Identity

The Fracturing of Identity

Agency and the Politics of Identity

Anti-Essentialism, Feminism and the Politics of Identity

Chapter 8: Ethnicity, Race and Nation
Race and Ethnicity

National Identities

Diaspora and Hybrid Identities

Race, Ethnicity and Representation

Chapter 9: Sex, Subjectivity and Representation
Feminism and Cultural Studies

Sex, Gender and Identity

Sexed Subjects

Men and Masculinity

Gender, Representation and Media Culture

Chapter 10: Television, Texts and Audiences
Television Today

Television as Text: News and Ideology

Social Media and News Reporting

Television as Text: Soap Opera as Popular Televsion

Television Storytelling in the Twenty-First Century

The Active Audience

Television Audiences and Cultural Identity

The Globalization of Televsion

Global Electronic Culture

When TV isn't on Television

Chapter 11: Digital Media Culture
A Digital Revolution

Digital Media 101

Digital Divides

Cyberspace and Democracy

The Cultural Politics of Information

The Global Information Economy

Chapter 12: Cultural Space and Urban Place
Space and Place in Contemporary Theory

Cities as Places

Political Economy and the Global City

The Symbolic Economy of Cities

The Postmodern City

Cyberspace and the City

The City as Text

Chapter 13: Youth, Style and Resistance
The Emergence of Youth

Youth Subcultures

Youthful Difference: Class, Gender and Race

Space: A Global Youth Culture?

Global Youth Online

After Subcultures

Creative Consumption

Resistance Revisited

Digital Youth Culture

Chapter 14: Cultural Politics and Cultural Policy
Cultural Studies and Cultural Politics

Cultural Politic: The Influence of Gramsci

The Cultural Politics of Difference

Difference, Ethnicity and the Politics of Representation

Difference, Citizenship and the Public Sphere

Questioning Cultural Studies

The Cultural Policy Debate

Neo-Pragmatism and Cultural Studies


It is a pleasure to welcome a new edition of Cultural Studies, the most comprehensive, dispassionate and insightful treatment of this turbulent field. With Emma A. Jane’s additions, new topics are opened up with a sure-footed adventurousness that is both scholarly and thought-provoking, adding a distinctive update to a reliable resource.

John Hartley
Curtin University and Cardiff University

This book presents a magisterial overview of Cultural Studies, and of studies of culture more broadly. It synthesises a bewildering range of writers and ideas into a comprehensible narrative. It’s respectful to the history of ideas and completely cutting edge. I learned a lot – you will too.

Alan McKee
University of Technology Sydney

The role of culture in spatial, digital and political settings is a vital aspect of contemporary life. Barker and Jane provide an excellent introduction to Cultural Studies’ relationship to these core issues, both through a clear explanation of key concepts and thinkers, alongside well chosen examples and essential questions.

David O'Brien
Goldsmiths, University of London

The 5th edition of Cultural Studies by Chris Barker and Emma A. Jane has been carefully and reflectively updated to keep abreast of the ongoing kaleidoscopic changes in culture and cultural theory. Particularly noteworthy is the heavily updated chapter on digital media and the section on digital youth culture, where new terms and theories are presented. The book is very pedagogical in its use of bullet-points, summaries, and questions which provoke critical reflection. I fully endorse this new edition of the book and warmly recommend it as an extremely valuable teaching and learning resource!

Antoinette Fage-Butler
Aarhus University, Denmark

Excellent updated text - very comprehensive.

Dr Lyvinia Elleschild
Plymouth Business School, Plymouth University
September 7, 2022

Excellent textbook. When you are teaching a course in Comparative Cultures it is hard to find a good match with underlying course outcomes.

Peter Groff
Criminal Justice/Sociology Dept, University of Jamestown
April 6, 2019

The book on 'Cultural Studies' was essential to fill the gaps in our understanding of trans-disciplinary dimensions of culture and its allied manifestations. 'Cultural Studies' - underpins the necessary theoretical scaffoldings for multitude issues and positions in the subject of society and allied forces that shape our culture - and the book 'Cultural Studies' fulfils our desire to embark on the discussion and debate on 'Culture' as one of the attribution of human development.

Dr Quazi Zaman
Scott Sutherland School of Architecture & Built Environment , Robert Gordon University
November 15, 2017

A relevant, modern and accessible text that provides both a practical and a theoretical grounding in a subject that is becoming ever more important for students of social science.

Dr Simon Bishop
Dept of Health,Wellbeing & the family, Canterbury Christ Church University
May 4, 2016

This is a book that is an ideal introduction to the issues surrounding the ever-expanding social and digital media culture. It serves as an excellent resource in that research area.

Dr Walter Riggans
Cliff College, Cliff College
November 13, 2015

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 9: Sex, Subjectivity & Representation

For instructors

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