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Flourishing in a Tough Climate

Herrick Chapman

With FPCS embarking on its fourth decade of publishing work on the study of France and the francophone world, the journal invited scholars in several disciplines to write short essays on where they thought the field of French Studies should head in the future. This essay introduces the resulting dossier on “French Studies and Its Futures.” It situates the project in the current context in which the field is thriving intellectually but struggling with menacing institutional pressures. It goes on to describe the particular formulation of French Studies that the journal came to represent in its early years in the 1980s, how it evolved since, and what that experience suggests about how scholars can respond creatively to the challenges and opportunities the future may hold for the field.

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Adorno on the Airwaves: Feeling Reason, Educating Emotions

Anna Parkinson

In 1949, Jewish-German critical theorist Theodor W. Adorno, a member of the group of intellectuals now known as the Frankfurt School, returned to West Germany from exile in the USA. This article examines a lesser-known aspect of Adorno's participation in the West German public sphere: namely, his radio broadcasts around the topos of “eine Erziehung zur Mündigkeit” (a pedagogy fostering political maturity/autonomy). Adorno's critique of the medium of radio as an arm of the reified “culture industry” is well documented. What, then, are we to make of his sociopolitical contribution to the German public sphere in the form of over one hundred radio broadcasts in the late 1950s and 1960s? This article broaches the question by analyzing his now-canonical 1960 broadcast on Hessischen Rundfunk titled “Was bedeutet: Aufarbeitung der Vergangenheit?” (“What does Coming-to-Terms-with-the-Past Mean?”). Arguing for the centrality of affect for Adorno's postwar work, I demonstrate how he stages a pedagogy emphasizing the necessary relationship between reason and affect (Kant avec Freud) in achieving self-reflective thought and political autonomy. Finally, Adorno's earlier attack on music educational shows as “pseudo-democratic” (1938-1941 in Paul Lazarsfeld's Princeton Radio Research Project), complicates any straightforward elaboration of a postwar public pedagogy.

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Culture, Entertainment and Listening Habits in The West German Discourse on Radio During the 1950s

Benno Nietzel

This article examines the intellectual discourse in West Germany on the role of entertainment in radio programs during the 1950s. Although accounting for most of the airtime and being an assigned mission of public broadcasters, many radio officials and experts continued to be suspicious of entertainment. Strongly adhering to the classical tradition of highbrow culture, these humanistic intellectuals had difficulties accepting entertainment as an integral component of broadcasting. The only discursive path for them to adopt entertainment as a legitimate concept was to discuss its specific contribution in the context of Bildung and Kultur. The article thus provides insight into how members of the cultural elites came-to-terms with the rise of popular culture during the 1950s.

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Index to Volume 31 (2013)

Index to Volume 31 (2013)

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Merkel's Nachsommermärchen?

Eric Langenbacher

Not once during the campaign—or actually over the whole course of the

seventeenth Bundestag (2009-2013)—was it ever really in doubt that Angela

Merkel would continue as chancellor after the 22 September 2013 parliamentary

election. Despite the vicissitudes of governing for eight years, most

in the midst of the financial and Euro crisis, she has achieved and sustained

some of the highest approval ratings of any postwar German politician. Voters

trust Merkel as a good manager of the economy and an honest steward

and defender of German interests in Europe. Her carefully cultivated image

as a steady, reassuring, and incorruptible leader, coupled with her political

acumen, ideological flexibility and, at times, ruthlessness—captured in the

dueling monikers of Mutti Merkel and Merkelavelli1—are the keys to her

profound success.

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Representations, History, and Wartime France

Brett Bowles

In a 1989 article published by Annales under the title “Le monde comme représentation,”1 Roger Chartier articulated a conceptual framework for bridging the gap that had traditionally separated the history of mentalities from social and political history. While the former field—pioneered by Georges Duby, Robert Mandrou, and Philippe Ariès in the 1960s—had legitimized the study of collective beliefs, anxieties, and desires as historical phenomena, the latter remained largely devoted to more concrete, easily quantifiable factors such as structures, institutions, and material culture. Drawing on the anthropological and psychoanalytical premises that had informed the work of Michel Foucault, Louis Marin, and Michel de Certeau, among others, Chartier emphasized the performative dimension of individual and collective representations in order to argue that they should be understood not only as evidence registering the exercise of social and political power, but as underlying catalysts of change in their own right. Like habitus, Pierre Bourdieu’s complex model of social causality and evolution, Chartier framed representation as a symbiotic “structuring structure” that deserved to sit at the heart of historical inquiry.

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Sociology in Place of Socialism: On West German Cultural Radio

Monika Boll

This article delves into the relationship between cultural radio and the Cold War. After 1945, culural radio took on a central role in the intellectual self-understanding of the early Federal Republic. From the very beginning, there was much less censorship than with political editorial departments. Thus, it was possible for cultrual radio to offer an intellectual forum in which socialism was not simply dismissed due to the official anticommunist political doctrine. This article shows the ways in which the East-West conflict was present in the cultrual departments of radio broadcasters. It argues that socialism appeared less as an ideological restraint or taboo, but rather as a productive challenge, which in the end was part of the modernization of West Germany's intellectual self-understanding. Two prominent examples buttress this argument: the free space that cultrual radio conquered in a kind of leftist integration with the West, and the rapid advancement of sociological discourse.