By Melissa Gregg (auth.)
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Additional info for Cultural Studies’ Affective Voices
As long as these outdated ideas about revolution and radicality continue to be mourned, the paradigms which might consider current interventions as serving Leftist goals remain elusive. ‘What emerges’, according to Brown, is a Left that operates without either a substantive critique of the status quo or a ‘substantive alternative to it’. This is a Left ‘that has become more attached to its impossibility than to its potential fruitfulness, a Left that is most at home dwelling not in hopefulness but in its own marginality and failure, (2000: 27).
Hoggart’s empathic voice is most successful when it articulates values shared by both the working and middle class – in particular the privileged place of family – so as to maximise an affective response to the illustrated circumstances. For the characters Hoggart describes, the them/us divide works as a defence mechanism to maintain dignity and self-respect in everyday encounters. As Beverley Skeggs’s work explains in more detail, the need to maintain ‘respectable’ appearances is a fundamental aspect of particularly working-class women’s experience (Skeggs, 1997).
Here I’ll suggest cultural studies’ affective, empathic voices are one way to illuminate these practices. Communicating investment In what follows, I do not mean to suggest that cultural studies ought to use affect at the expense of any other form of writing, that it should ever put considerations of style before substance. In fact, I am purposefully writing against the tendency for affect to appear as mere rhetoric or false accusation in the field’s history – the manufactured urgency of the imperative present often heard in demands that cultural studies put politics before theory.
Cultural Studies’ Affective Voices by Melissa Gregg (auth.)