Birmingham's ghostly presence

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Farrace, Lisa (2008) Birmingham's ghostly presence. Cultural Studies Review, 14 (2). pp. 215-219. ISSN 1837-8692


Power, as a concept, is both pervasive and elusive. It has troubled philosophers and social scientists for decades, even centuries. It has particularly troubled cultural theorists for around fifty years. Mark Gibson bravely tackles this subject. Even more bravely, he tackles a history of the concept within a field that is itself controversial. For Mark Gibson, there has been an endless oscillation in cultural studies between resisting and asserting generalised conceptions of power. This is not a new idea. What Gibson adds to this history, however, is a focus on power as a concept—a questioning of its role in cultural studies and an investigation into its multiple uses. The book presents the beginnings of a cultural history of the concept of power, a cultural history that focuses, with reference to Foucault, on the ‘thematics’ of power itself. Gibson admits to this being a limited history, quite openly focusing on the British tradition within cultural studies, namely the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS). This focus, Gibson argues, is justified by the need to challenge the idea that power is a foundational concept for cultural studies and that Marxism is similarly foundational. That is, he rejects the idea that culture must be understood in relation to structures of domination.

Item type Article
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Economics and Finance
Historical > FOR Classification > 2002 Cultural Studies
Historical > SEO Classification > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
Keywords ResPubID16526. cultural studies, concept of power, Birmingham centre for contemporary cultural studies, historical scepticism, Mark Gibson
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