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Cultural Studies: Which Paradigm?

This essay is a critical review of ‘Cultural Studies: two paradigms’ by Stuart Hall, published in this journal in 1980. The two paradigms are ‘experience’ and ‘ideology’, the respective master concepts of the first and second generation of Cultural Studies. I situate Hall’s article in the context of its time (the late 1970s) as a response to internal disagreements within British Marxism and, more broadly, to a crisis in the humanistic disciplines–notably English Literature and History. Hall, I conclude, privileges ideology over experience. I prefer the paradigm of ‘lived experience’ and, in the second part of this essay, offer a revaluation of its meaning and significance for media and cultural studies.