Challenges for Cultural Studies Under the Rule of Global War

Neferti Xina M. Tadiar

Abstract

Based on a lecture delivered not long after the US launched its so-called war on terror in Iraq in the aftermath of 9/11, the paper addresses the challenges for cultural studies in the midst of “the emergence of a global network of quasimilitary states in tributary relations to the US super security state” and “the emergence of a global counter public or constituency.” With a note of urgency and particular attention to the Philippine context, the paper expresses the need “to interpret, articulate, and participate in the social struggles taking place in and through cultural practice” which begins with the recognition of “the continual subsumption of people’s labor—physical, mental, experiential, and psychical—into systems of domination and exploitation.” It asserts that “the realms of freedom” are “getting smaller” even as “small spaces of creativity and freedom are won,” thus, the challenge is “to locate and extend these spaces as well as their political potential and to extricate these cultural practices … from those that contribute to the containment, expropriation, and alienation of people’s labor, processes which operate everywhere, even in the most politically radical sectors.” In these spaces, cultural practice becomes “not only the means of a transformation” but “part and parcel of that very transformation we hope and strive for.”

Keywords

9/11, cultural studies, political economy

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13185/1559