How To Do Things With Cultural Theory

Matthew Hills

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Instead of approaching cultural theory as a set of pronouncements to be learnt, this book considers why lecturers, students and cultural producers and consumers outside the University system might all want to theorize what culture is and how it works. Taking its cue from J L Austin's infamous How to Do Things With Words, which argued that language doesn't just reflect the world but is used to achieve things in the world, this book approaches cultural theory as something to be used, performed, adapted, transformed and created in new contexts by its own consumer-producers.

How To Do Things With Cultural Theory considers how key theories have been constructed and written, treating theory as a text to be analysed. What narratives recur across different cultural theories? And what does it mean to construct one's cultural identity as a 'theorist'? Addressing the cultural and subcultural identities that 'theory' generates and sustains, this book asks what desires, fantasies, ideals and politics drive people to become 'cultural theorists'.

As well as analysing the production and circulation of theory, this book also tackles the thorny question of how best to read theory. Despite being what lecturers and students spend much of their time doing, the act of reading theory has typically been taken for granted or rendered invisible within cultural theory itself.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages256
ISBN (Print)978-0340809150, 0340809159
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2005


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