Cultural studies: a cancer on the academy
From the outset, then, cultural studies relativised academic content through its rejection of high culture and focus on popular culture. Indeed, the word ‘culture’ itself came to be disassociated from the arts and was instead used to refer to everyday experiences. Cultural studies began by applying the tools of literary criticism to mass culture to expose the interplay of culture, power and politics. Hall’s aspiration was to develop an entirely new theoretical approach to analysing popular culture that drew on sociology, linguistics, Lacanian psychotherapy, and an array of methodological approaches drawn from other disciplines. This approach, in relation to both content and method, has since had an impact across much of academia. When all subject knowledge is considered equally worth studying, it is more difficult for lecturers to defend their content over students’ preferences.