A Politics of the Emergent: Cultural Studies in South Africa

Publication Type:

Journal Article

Authors:

Sarah Nuttall

Source:

Theory, Culture & Society, Volume 23, p.263–278 (2006)

URL:

http://tcs.sagepub.com/content/23/7-8/263

Keywords:

city, cultural studies, everyday life, publics, race, South Africa, transnationality

Abstract:

This essay attempts to track the changing shape of cultural studies in South Africa, drawing on both local and global reference points. In the first part of the essay, I account for the preoccupations of South African cultural studies from the late 1980s to the late 1990s. In the second part, I reflect on further shifts since 2000. Here I argue for a politics of the emergent, an increasing turn towards the negotiation of the possible, the drawing in of trans-national frames, and the reformulation of theories of race in the aftermath of resistance politics. Studies of popular culture during this period increasingly come to be superseded by a focus on public culture and on circulation. The essay concludes by considering current contests in cultural studies in South Africa and with a reflection on its current place within a reconstituted public intellectual space.