This paper argues that Cultural Studies has tended in the past to arrive inevitably at a methodological impasse by failing to adequately theorise the status of the object of a “cultural” study. The same problem can be identified when culture is theorised (in terms of the so-called Structure-Agency debate) in Anthropology, which would seem to be the obvious point of contact for any interdisciplinary approach to a study of culture. The paper suggests that a dialogue with Psychoanalysis may provide scholars of Cultural Studies with a way to move beyond this impasse. Using basic psychoanalytical theory, it is possible to see that the issue of whether an object is ultimately a product of either deep structures (a cultural process) or an agent (an individual making a thing) remains unresolved while the status of the object remains locked in what I am calling an archaeological paradigm. Using psychoanalytical theory, I propose that the object of Cultural Studies can be seen as an example of a “deep surface” rather than as a deep structure, in order to begin to identify the ways in which deep structures come to be manifest as a result of an individual act of production.
|Keywords:||Agency, Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Heuristics, Psychoanalysis, Structure, Structure-Agency Debate, Thick Description|
Lecturer in English and Cultural Studies, School of Humanities and Communication, Public Memory Research Centre, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, QLD, Australia
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